The Margaret-Ghost

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Novak relates the life of Margaret Fuller, New England feminist and contemporary of Emerson and Thoreau, through Angelica Bookbinder, a professor writing a book on Fuller, a book that is essential for her to get tenure at a small Boston college. Bookbinder wants the book to be more than an intellectual history of Fuller—she wants to explore Fuller’s amative (opposite sex) and adhesive (same sex) attachments as well, as Fuller was one who “loved not wisely but too well.” Her would-be biographer thinks this book out loud, so it consists of many rhetorical questions such as “Intimate? What was intimacy for her?” as well as devices such as outlines and lists. This stylistic affectation overshadows Fuller and her accomplishments, not to mention the fact that, for a college professor, Bookbinder behaves like an idiot in both her personal and professional life. Looking for first-hand understanding of Fuller’s adhesive relationships, she encourages the advances of the lesbian professor in her department, wondering if she can “participate and learn by doing.” She also starts up a relationship with a male Harvard professor whom she meets at the library. When she discovers he’s cheating on her with a woman she dubs “the Baywatch girl,” rather than becoming outraged, she instead seeks to change herself so she more resembles said Baywatch girl! Finding myself unable to respect Bookbinder made it equally difficult to take an interest in Fuller as viewed through her biographer’s eyes. Fuller led a very interesting life and achieved more than she was recognized for in her lifetime, but this book isn’t the place to learn that.

 

 

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(US) $19.95
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ISBN
(US) 0807615242

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Hardback

Pages
190

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