PLEDGE NOW
Margaret Fuller: Journalist, Critic, Transcendentalist

This program is rebroadcast from March 14, 2013.

America’s first feminist. The 19th century’s journalist, critic, transcendentalist, adventurer, Margaret Fuller.

The only known daguerreotype of Margaret Fuller, by John Plumbe, 1846. (Wikimedia Commons)

The only known daguerreotype of Margaret Fuller, by John Plumbe, 1846. (Wikimedia Commons)

Margaret Fuller was a woman in full in an age when most American women were still utterly creatures of hearth and home.  In the 1830s and ‘40s, when the country was still young and woodstoves needed tending, Margaret Fuller was diving into the life of the mind and into the world. Running with Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne.  Running ahead of Virginia Woolf, Georgia O’Keefe, Amelia Earhart.  Of Edith Wharton.  Hemingway.  A proto-feminist.  Transcendentalist.  Adventurer.  Revolutionary.  Free-thinker. This hour, On Point:  a new biography lights up the remarkable life of Margaret Fuller.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Megan Marshall, author of “Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Fuller knew everyone, not just Emerson and Thoreau but the young Oliver Wendell Holmes and Nathaniel Hawthorne as well. When she donated a cow to Brook Farm, the utopian commune founded in the 1840s in Massachusetts, Hawthorne liked to call it the ‘transcendental heifer.'”

The New Republic “Ultimately Marshall chose to write Fuller’s story ‘from the inside, using the most direct evidence—her words, and those of her family and friends.’ Just as Fuller’s critical publications were ‘hybrids’ that included ‘personal observation’ and ‘confessional poetry,’ Marshall chose to use fictional techniques to enhance the ‘lights and deepen the shadows’ of Fuller’s life. She wanted to tell the fullest story of the Fuller story, ‘operatic in its emotional pitch, global in its dimensions.’ Shaping her narrative like a novel, Marshall brings the reader as close as possible to Fuller’s inner life and conveys the inspirational power she has achieved for several generations of women.”

The Nation “In America, celebrated public intellectuals who are women have, most often, been admitted to the ranks of high cultural regard only one at a time, and never without qualification. In the last century, for instance, the spotlight fell on Mary McCarthy in the 1940s and Susan Sontag in the 1960s, each of whom was smilingly referred to by the public intellectuals of their times as the ‘Dark Lady of American Letters.’ In the first half of the nineteenth century, although a fair number of her sex among abolitionists and suffragists were brilliant, it was Margaret Fuller, world-class talker and author of the influential treatise Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845), who stood in the allotted space, alone in a sea of gifted men, most of whom chose to denature her—she thinks like a man—as they could not believe they had to take seriously a thinking woman.”

Excerpt: “Margaret Fuller: A New American Life”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 9, 2016
Host Tom Ashbrook and producer Sarah Platt speak to supporters of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) outside the candidate's Manchester, N.H. campaign headquarters on Monday, February 8, 2016. (Katherine Brewer / WBUR)

We’re live in New Hampshire for the first in the nation primary day, with all the latest on how the big vote is shaping up.

Feb 9, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at a Rotary Club luncheon in Manchester, N.H., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

From New Hampshire, a deep dive, from Trump to Sanders, on how the candidates would approach the U.S. economy.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 8, 2016
Legendary film critic  Roger Ebert in an archival image from his early days at the Chicago Sun-Times. (Flickr / WikiCommons)

The critic speaks. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott on how to think about art, pleasure, beauty and truth.

 
Feb 8, 2016
Sign stands outside property for rent Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in south Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

If it feels like rents are sky-high, you’re right. Some now paying more than half their income on rent. Some say crisis. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #6: Bernie v. Hillary — The Electability Debate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Bill and Betty are not real New Hampshire voters. But their arguments about the Democratic race for President most certainly are.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #5: Ted Cruz — The Advocate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Texas Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is an impassioned advocate, Jack Beatty writes — but mostly for himself above all others.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment