Synopses & Reviews
With this first volume of a two-part biography of the Transcendentalist critic and feminist leader, Margaret Fuller, Capper has launched the premier modern biography of early America's best-known intellectual woman. Based on a thorough examination of all the firsthand sources, many of them never before used, this volume is filled with original portraits of Fuller's numerous friends and colleagues and the influential movements that enveloped them. Writing with a strong narrative sweep, Capper focuses on the central problem of Fuller's life--her identity as a female intellectual--and presents the first biography of Fuller to do full justice to its engrossing subject. This first volume chronicles Fuller's "private years": her gradual, tangled, but fascinating emergence out of the "private" life of family, study, Boston-Cambridge socializing, and anonymous magazine-writing, to the beginnings of her rebirth as antebellum America's female prophet-critic.
Capper's biography is at once an evocative portrayal of an extraordinary woman and a comprehensive study of an avant-garde American intellectual type at the beginning of its first creation.
"Charles Capper's first volume of a projected two-volume life offers much detail to help us appreciate a remarkable mind....Scholars of this period should value Capper's clarity as well as his thoroughness; and feminists should rejoice that Margaret Fuller's history has been enlarged and deepened."--Historical Journal of Massachusetts
"Capper's study emerges as the authoritative account of Fuller's early life for its original and timely scholarship, rich historical texture, and balanced interpretations. Capper writes in an engaging style that gives vitality to the life of thought he chronicles."--Legacy
"This inherently feminist book results in the richest account we have yet of Fuller's formative years....Capper matches Fuller (and she was an astounding reader) in his study of the classical, republican, romantic and Transcentalist thought that influenced hers. Hence he is more able than any previous biographer to do justice to the nuances of her aesthetic commitments and to her religious, political and social thought."--The Nation
"Capper's superb biography is the first full-length modern rumination on Fuller's enduring riddles....Capper removes Fuller from the realm of the exemplary and restores her connections to the world around her--and to readers as well....Capper's mastery of the broad trans-Atlantic cerebral world in which Fuller lived is total, and he manages at once to convey the social pathos of her situation and the covert intellectual excitement....He is a master of intellectual genealogies and of the finely hewn debates and fierce contestation they spawned, and he conveys eloquently the living presence of the life of the mind."--Christine Stansell, The New Republic
"What a stunning book Charles Capper has written!...What Capper has done--simply, elegantly, and stirringly--is to take the tools of the biographer's craft and put them to exquisite use in fashioning a fascinating portrait of the first major woman intellectual in the United States. It is an absorbing story, fraught with the kind of rich detail and easy readability that might characterize a good novel."--Mary Kupiec Cayton, Journal of American History
"If Capper's second volume, on Fuller's public years, equals his first, he will have produced not only a definitive biography but also a broadly conceived addition to American intellectual and social history."--Jane H. Pease, American Historical Review
"Her short, dramatic life seems to invite constant reinterpretation, and many biographers have been drawn to it. Charles Capper is the latest and the best of them: his treatment of her life, and especially her work, marks an important break with his predecessors....Eminently readable....Illuminating."--Women's Review of Books
"At last, a definitive biography of the great American feminist writer Margaret Fuller. Only a scholar of uncommon learning, like Charles Capper, could have dealt with so formidably learned a subject and located her in the intellectual world of her times."--Daniel Walker Howe, Oxford University
"Charles Capper has written an engrossing biography which conveys the adventure of Margaret Fuller's life and the complexity of her thought. It places Fuller solidly among the major writers and intellectuals of her generation. And it is a good read!"--Linda K. Kerber, University of Iowa
"Charles Capper has written the best biography of Fuller yet. He has skillfully re-created early nineteenth-century American literary and cultural life, and placed Fuller within it. The research is superb, the writing gracious. This book will stand the test of time."--Joel Myerson, The University of South Carolina
A modern biography of this paradigmatic avant-garde writer's life, which draws on first-hand sources to paint a compelling portrait of the private life of the editor of "The Dial" and an important figure in early American literature.
About the Author
is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is co-editor of The American Intellectual Tradition
Table of Contents
1 The private years -- 2 The public years.