Biographer Megan Marshall takes the occasion of the anniversary of Margaret Fuller’s first meeting with her Italian lover Giovanni Ossoli to give an account of Fuller’s years in revolutionary Rome as war correspondent, hospital director, and romantic. The event celebrates the publication of Marshall’s Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.
Please join us for an author talk, book signing, and festive reception on Friday, April 5, at 7:00 pm at the Concord Free Public Library, 129 Main Street, Concord, Massachusetts. This event is free and open to the public.
See also Judith Thurman’s excellent review in The New Yorker (April 1, 2013):
In May of 1850, after four years abroad, Margaret Fuller set sail from Livorno to New York, bound for her native Massachusetts. She was just about to turn forty, and her stature in America was unique. In the space of a decade, she had invented a new vocation: the female public intellectual. Fuller’s intelligence had dazzled Ralph Waldo Emerson, who invited her to join the Transcendental Club and to edit its literary review, The Dial. She was considered a “sibyl” by the women who subscribed to her “Conversations,” a series of talks on learned subjects (Greek mythology, German Romanticism) whose real theme was female empowerment. In 1844, Horace Greeley, the publisher of the New-York Tribune, had recruited Fuller to write a front-page column on culture and politics (the former, mandarin; the latter, radical). A year later, she published “Woman in the Nineteenth Century,” a foundational work of feminist history. When Fuller left for Europe, in 1846, to write for Greeley from abroad, she became the first American foreign correspondent of her sex and, three years later, the first combat reporter. She embedded herself in the Italian independence movement, led by her friend Giuseppe Mazzini, and she filed her dispatches from the siege of Rome while running a hospital for wounded partisans.
Despite her fame, however, Fuller had always just eked out a living. So, after the fall of the short-lived Roman Republic, she had to borrow the money for a cheap ticket home on the Elizabeth, an American merchantman. The route was perilous—vessels were lost every year—but Fuller’s passage was a gamble for other reasons, too. After a lifetime of tenacious celibacy, this “strange, lilting, lean old maid,” as Thomas Carlyle described her, had taken a lover. . . .