Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In Celebration of "Difficult Women"

Pulitzer-winning biographer John Matteson comes tomorrow to discuss Margaret Fuller, one of the great "difficult women" of the 19th century.

"Arrogant, condescending and vain, Fuller was (as she knew altogether too well) the best-educated American woman of her time. In The Lives of Margaret Fuller, John Matteson tells us that Ralph Waldo Emerson thought she exhibited 'an overweening sense of power, and slight esteem of others'; Nathaniel Hawthorne found her, as Matteson puts it, 'exquisitely irritating'; and Edgar Allan Poe portrayed her acidly. Habituated to deference from others, she was unaccustomed to dealing with people on an equal footing, and she bristled when she did not receive the respect she thought was her due."

Read more in Mary Beth Norton's review of Matteson's new book in the New York Times.