The Margaret-ghost

The Margaret-ghost

A Novel

Book - 2003
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Norton Pub
This fascinating novel by Barbara Novak blends painstaking scholarship and compelling fiction writing as it follows the lives of two women, one the subject of the other's research. Tenure-track professor Angelica Bookbinder is researching a book on the woman Henry James called "the Margaret-Ghost": the brilliant, New England feminist Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), who was a friend and contemporary to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Horace Greeley, among other nineteenth-century notable figures. Fascinated by Fuller's personal life as much as by her brilliance, Angelica focuses her research on the role that love played in Fuller's life, examining both her heterosexual and homosexual liaisons, while trying to understand her lifelong struggle to balance her intellectual strengths with her emotional needs. Driven by the belief that Fuller's life was dominated by a frustrated quest for love, Angelica passionately pursues her research, all the while aware that in doing so, she is straying from the academic straight and narrow. At the same time, Angelica finds her own romantic dilemmas beginning to echo Fuller's. Moving between nineteenth- and twentieth-century Boston, Angelica follows her research with an almost carnal obsession, bouncing between the advances of a female colleague and a burgeoning relationship with a fellow tenure-track professor. Her new lover, a Harvard scholar studying Herman Melville, appreciates Angelica's intellectwhen it does not challenge hisbut seems to prefer the body of someone Angelica contemptuously calls "the Baywatch girl." Juxtaposing nineteenth-century high culture and contemporary pop references with often-hilarious results, Novak probes the nature of male-female relationships, questioning if certain patterns transcend time. Satirical, erudite, and beautifully written, The Margaret-Ghost investigates relationships, academia, love, and research, creating a captivating parallel across generations between the passionate Margaret Fuller and her equally passionate researcher.

Blackwell North Amer
This novel by Barbara Novak blends scrupulous scholarship and compelling fiction writing as it follows the lives of two women, one the subject of the other's research. Tenure-track professor Angelica Bookbinder is researching a book on the woman Henry James called "the Margaret-ghost," the brilliant New England feminist Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), a friend and contemporary to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Horace Greeley. From her desk in Houghton Library in 20th century Boston, Angelica follows Margaret as she travels to 19th century Europe, meeting George Sand and seeking advice from the revolutionary heroes, Mickiewicz and Mazzini. In Italy, Margaret meets the near-illiterate Marquese who becomes her fatal companion.
In the attempt to capture Fuller's "mystery," Angelica examines Margaret's bisexual love liaisons, discovering that Margaret's emotional life was dominated by a frustrated quest for love as she tried to balance her intellectual strengths with her emotional needs. As she pursues her subject, Angelica, aware that she is straying from the academic straight and narrow, finds her own romantic dilemmas beginning to echo Fuller's. Moving between nineteenth- and twentieth-century Boston, Angelica follows her research with an almost carnal obsession, simultaneously resisting the advances of a female colleague and welcoming a lover who is a fellow scholar studying Herman Melville. Although he appreciates Angelica's intellect - when it does not challenge his own - he seems to prefer the body of someone Angelica contemptuously calls "the Baywatch girl." Nineteenth-century high culture and contemporary pop references are juxtaposed with often hilarious results as Novak probes the nature of male-female relationships, questioning if certain patterns transcend time.

Publisher: New York : George Braziller, 2003
Description: 190 p. ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9780807615249
0807615242
Branch Call Number: Nova

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