Synopses & Reviews
Elizabeth, Mary, and Sophia Peabody were in many ways our American Brontes. The story of these remarkable sisters andmdash; and their central role in shaping the thinking of their day and#8212; has never before been fully told. Twenty years in the making, Megan Marshall's monumental biograpy brings the era of creative ferment known as American Romanticism to new life. Elizabeth, the oldest sister, was a mind-on-fire thinker. A powerful influence on the great writers of the era and#8212; Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau among them and#8212; she also published some of their earliest works. It was Elizabeth who prodded these newly minted Transcendentalists away from Emerson's individualism and toward a greater connection to others. Mary was a determined and passionate reformer who finally found her soul mate in the great educator Horace Mann. The frail Sophia was a painter who won the admiration of the preeminent society artists of the day. She married Nathaniel Hawthorne and#8212; but not before Hawthorne threw the delicate dynamics among the sisters into disarray. Marshall focuses on the moment when the Peabody sisters made their indelible mark on history. Her unprecedented research into these lives uncovered thousands of letters never read before as well as other previously unmined original sources. The Peabody Sisters casts new light on a legendary American era. Its publication is destined to become an event in American biography.
This book is highly recommended for students and reading groups interested in American history, American literature, and women's studies. It is a wonderful look into 19th-century life.
Fascinating, insightful, and wholly engrossing, The Peabody Sisters is a landmark biography of three women who made American intellectual history.Though theirs may not be household names, Elizabeth, Mary, and Sophia Peabody had an extraordinary influence on the thought of their day, the movement of intense creative ferment known as American Romanticism. Megan Marshall adeptly brings to life the sisters and the men they loved and inspired, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horace Mann, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. In a work filled with startling revelations, Marshall presents a vivid and nuanced psychological portrait of a sisterhood rife with shifting loyalties yet founded on enduring affection.
Twenty years in the making and greeted by stunning reviews, The Peabody Sisters is a landmark biography of three women who made American intellectual history.
The story of the Peabody sisters and their central role in shaping the thought of their day is a piece of history that has never before been fully told. Megan Marshall's masterly and vivid work brings the sisters—our American Brontës—to life, along with the men they loved and influenced, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horace Mann, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Marshall casts new light on a legendary American era in an epic tale with the scope and fascination of the great nineteenth-century novels.
About the Author
Megan Marshall is the author of The Peabody Sisters, which won the Francis Parkman Prize, the Mark Lynton History Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography and memoir. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, and Slate. A recipient of Guggenheim and NEH fellowships, Marshall teaches narrative nonfiction and the art of archival research in the MFA program at Emerson College.