IN SEARCH OF MARGARET FULLER by Abby Slater

IN SEARCH OF MARGARET FULLER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

True to its title (and despite its Gothic-novel cover), this is somewhat more searching than Ellen Wilson's Margaret Fuller (1977), more attentive to Fuller's ideas and writings and to the intellectual climate of her early 19th-century New England; at the same time, Slater gives a somewhat clearer hint of the famous presence and personality that variously disarmed (Emerson), alienated (Hawthorne), and impressed (almost everyone) her contemporaries. Beginning with a preview of Fuller's shipwreck drowning on her return to America with her Italian husband and their child, Slater wonders to what extent her refusal to leave the ship with other passengers and crew was deliberately self-destructive. (Unlike Wilson, Slater also questions whether the belated marriage to Ossoli actually took place.) For a sense of her style, viewpoint, and state of mind, Margaret's letters and, especially, her dispatches to Greeley's Tribune on the tragic Italian revolution are quoted at length; so too are the impressions of many who knew or came into contact with her. Slater does not presume to interpret such obvious trouble signs as Fuller's lifelong (and surely neurotic) ill health and headaches, or try to understand her attraction to the intellectually lightweight Ossoli; nevertheless this is a fuller and more thoughtful view of the subject than the YA reader has yet been offered.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1978
Publisher: Delacorte