Carl Rollyson's Reviews > Margaret Fuller, Wandering Pilgrim

Margaret Fuller, Wandering Pilgrim by Meg McGavran Murray
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's review
Jul 11, 12

Murray's biography has stiff competition: Charles Capper's monumental Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life, Joan Von Mehren's meticulous Minerva and the Muse, and worthy contributions by Donna Dickenson (Margaret Fuller), Madeleine Stern (The Life of Margaret Fuller), and John Matteson, (The Lives of Margaret Fuller). Capper provides the broadest historical and social context in which to evaluate Fuller as a feminist writer, but Murray deserves praise for her nuanced reading of Fuller's romantic personality. Murray's scholarship is impeccable and generous (she acknowledges the help other biographers and scholars have given her). Her probing of Fuller's psychology deepens understanding of Fuller's major works, including Woman in the Nineteenth Century, a masterpiece Murray treats as an integral event in the development of Fuller's psyche. Fuller is one of those protean figures biographers inevitably interpret in different terms as they engage one another's work and reckon with Fuller's complex relationships with her contemporaries and with posterity. Murray is especially conscious of her place in the history of Fuller criticism and biography, and this makes her biography an astute contribution to the literature on Fuller and on the development of American studies.

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