90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
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.
  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I don’t know much about her. But my great, great grandmother swore by her brushes. “Gets the dirt out of the hidden places.”

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      I hope you are being facetious.

  • Radical___Moderate

    From a strictly non-partisan and non-political point of view, I truly feel men and women, when it comes to themselves and each other, do not get each others roles. “Feminism” is thus misguided. Not because women were often treated differently than men, because they clearly were. But because power struggles too often define how we relate with each other. Men wanting to control women and later, women in a over-compensatory reaction, wanting in the modern world to control men. Not directly, but through an arbitrary redefining of manhood. In sum, we are all here in whatever role(s) we are tom play. There is nothing less or wrong about a woman who wants only to be a wife and mother. Women today are often made to feel guilty is they choose that just as men, if all they want to do is be a father, husband and work a respectable but simple job. The opposite is fine too for any man or woman. The key, as I see it, is for each of us to be allowed to pursue who we really are without any other trying to impose control or to define us. Thus, to the extent that “feminism” condemns women who choose to be housewives and mothers, and condemns men who wish to assert a powerful traditional manhood with what may be it’s accompanying views of what womanhood should be, is quite wrong-thinking to me. There is too much of a tendency to look for our personal meanings in what Thomas Merton called the “false selves” of this world.

  • ruthwlandrum

    Josiah . although Jacqueline `s stori is surprising,
    last week I bought themselves a Chrysler from having made $5060 thiss month
    and-in excess of, 10/k last-month . it’s realy the easiest-work I have ever done
    . I started this 4 months ago and pretty much straight away was bringin in at
    least $78 per-hour . why not look here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • sofiago

    Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera
    high and cool gadget very usefull at home and work.
    http://goo.gl/Lh3xsG

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 22, 2014
Smoke rises after an Israeli shelling at the Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City, Monday, July 21, 2014. The top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip signaled Monday that the Islamic militant group will not agree to an unconditional cease-fire with Israel, while Israel's defense minister pledged to keep fighting "as long as necessary," raising new doubt about the highest-level mediation mission in two weeks. (AP)

The escalated Gaza offensive. We’ll get the views from both sides and the latest developments.

Jul 22, 2014
Lt. Col. James Howard Williams, aka "Elephant Bill," is the hero of Vicki Constantine Croke's new book, "Elephant Company." (Courtesy Random House)

We’ll travel to the jungles of Burma for the remarkable true story of Billy Williams—aka “the elephant whisperer”—and his World War II heroism.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 21, 2014
In this May 15, 2014, file photo, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, during a committee hearing to examine the state of Veterans Affairs health care. (AP)

Will he run for president? We’ll ask Vermont’s Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

 
Jul 21, 2014
Toys and flowers are placed on the charred fuselage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, July 20, 2014. (AP)

The United States and Russia after the downed plane. We’ll unpack the politics and latest news. Plus: the latest from Gaza.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 11, 2014
Friday, Jul 11, 2014

As we prepare for a week of rebroadcasts, we reflect on Facebook posts, misplaced comments and the magic of @ mentions. Internet, ASSEMBLE!

More »
Comment
 
Two Former Senators, One Fix For US Democracy?
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

Former US Senators Tom Daschle and Olympia Snowe joined us today with a few fixes for American political inaction.

More »
Comment
 
Future Radio Interns Of America: On Point Wants YOU!
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

On Point needs interns for the fall. Could YOU be one of them?

More »
2 Comments