Nasty Women Writers strives to amplify the work of as many women writers, artists, scientists, and activists as possible. Many of the women we highlight have been erased, marginalized, and/or misrepresented, often due to their being considered “nasty,” code for powerful, assertive, and truth-telling.
As we express on our Nasty Women Writers site:
“For years, these women’s voices have been silenced and erased from the fabric of our collective experience. The devastation has been tremendous, girls and women not seeing themselves represented in roles of power and heroism, further perpetuating disempowerment and exploitation.
“The vital threads of these women’s visions and voices destroyed and silenced, discrediting and discounting their contributions to the pattern, the pattern of a balanced, healthy paradigm. Here we to seek to restore and reveal their integral threads, a step toward weaving a pattern that will set us on the path to wholeness.”
For the most part, I’ve been focused on one particular “nasty woman writer” for the last six years: Margaret Fuller. Many have not heard of her and the question then becomes, if you know who Hawthorne, Poe, Emerson, Thoreau, Melville and Whitman are, those who lived and created alongside her, why don’t you know about Fuller?
The answer, as stated above, is that Fuller has been “silenced and erased from the fabric of our collective experience.”
My goal has been to do what I can to bring Margaret Fuller into our cultural and literary consciousness. While reading and researching, I wrote several posts about her and her work for this site:
I’m pleased to announce that finally I have published a book that I hope will assist in restoring Margaret Fuller to her place among her peers, as well as writers, feminists, leaders, and notable figures. My book is one small attempt in this direction with one woman; our site, Nasty Women Writers is one of the many ongoing creative efforts to illuminate the contributions of all women for the health and balance of our world.
The book I offer is The Light Above: A Memoir with Margaret Fuller.
Here are a few small successes instigated by the book so far:
A good friend and co-worker who I haven’t seen in years read my book and was compelled to learn more, so she purchased Megan Marshall’s biography, Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.
This friend says:
“Just finished your book and loved it. Now I’m reading a bio of Margaret Fuller.”
When I asked her if she’d ever heard of Fuller before reading my book, she says:
“No, and I’m fascinated with her. Thank you for introducing me!”
Another friend across the globe, in New Zealand, says:
“I had so studied Emerson and all those wonderful writers but had not read Margaret Fuller…going to the library this week. I am amazed she wasn’t introduced to me in all the study of the Transcendental group. I went to Emerson’s House and lived in Temple where they came to stay at the Inn when walking Monadnock. But never had her brought to my attention. So thanks.”
Yes, these are ripples from the publication of my book, and ripples are better than no movement at all. Plus we all know ripples can add up to waves!
A veteran faculty member in the English department on the campus where I work approached me to see if I’d cover the class meeting where they’ll be discussing some of Margaret Fuller’s essays and columns that appear in the Norton Anthology: American Literature 1820-1865. (On her syllabus for this class are all of the male writers mentioned above.)
I asked her how long she’d been including Margaret Fuller in her course and she responded that this is the first time! Shocked, seeing as Margaret Fuller’s work is in the anthology she uses for class, I asked her why she had skipped over Fuller before and she said because she really didn’t know anything about her, so she didn’t feel equipped.
My point with these examples is to show that my book is helping to bring Margaret Fuller and her work into more people’s lives and that feels so right. Others are doing the same for Fuller and many other women.
While alive, Margaret Fuller breached what was then the women’s sphere and helped set others free through her writings, Conversations, and by being an example of a woman successful in the public sphere. Fuller deserves the same reach and recognition now that she established in the 1800s, especially considering how relevant she still is.
You knowing about my book by reading this post is great. Yet, the critical point is that the more of us who work to hold up women writers, activists, scientists, artists, and others, the more ripples we create that become waves that cannot be ignored or stopped.
Margaret Fuller is a #Nasty Woman Writer!
© Maria Dintino 2022