Jennifer McKenna’s Journey with Margaret Fuller

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Jennifer McKenna

I am about to go pick up my copy of MARGARET FULLER: A New American Life, from my local bookstore in Brooklyn, but before I do so, I thought I’d write a little something about why I am so thrilled about this particular Politics for the People selection.  I have been a great admirer of Margaret Fuller for some time, for many reasons. Firstly, I met her while directing my senior project in college. It was a fantastical play called Alice in Bed written by Susan Sontag. The piece brought together Alice James (sister of Henry James), Emily Dickinson, Kundry from Parsifal, Myrtha from the ballet Giselle and, of course, Margaret at a Mad Tea Party where Margaret provided the voice of boldness and bravery to an ill and frightened Alice. My creative team was the third ever to work on the piece which made me feel honored and very connected to each of the characters. That was the beginning of a relationship with Margaret that’s lasted almost two decades. I know I haven’t started the book yet, but I love to recognize the beauty of a beginning, and to be at the very beginning of another adventure with Margaret excites and moves me deeply. She was (and still is) a force in so many ways, on so many fronts, and it is a joy to know I will be spending the next few weeks with her.

Here are some of her words that inspire me greatly…

What I mean by the Muse is that unimpeded clearness of the intuitive powers, which a perfectly truthful adherence to every admonition of the higher instincts would bring to a finely organized human being. It may appear as prophecy or as poesy. … should these faculties have free play, I believe they will open new, deeper and purer sources of joyous inspiration than have as yet refreshed the earth.”

— Margaret Fuller

Jennifer's working script of Susan Sontag's Alice in Bed. Her Director's notes included.

Jennifer’s working script of Susan Sontag’s Alice in Bed. Her Director’s notes included.

 Our Politics for the People Book Club conversation with Megan Marshall will be on Sunday, September 20th at 7 pm EST. So grab a copy of MARGARET FULLER: A New American Life, grab a sunny August summer spot and enjoy!

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1 Comment

  1. June

     /  August 12, 2015

    Thank you Jen! What a beautiful and powerful picture you paint- and full of gratitude. It opens a window for me into your theatre life and expresses what you give to the art and to your fellow actors and students. They are very fortunate..

    I’m learning from this poetic, exhilarating and poignant account of Margaret Fuller’s life, how courageous a soul she was. She treaded on unknown territory….. and saw and uncovered, created and discovered ways of seeing beyond what was the accepted mores of the period. And she bravely acted upon these limitations – while she did have many admiring and grateful followers, her actions very sadly took a painful toll on her.

    Fuller challenged the stifling notion of what it meant to be human and to be a women. She was a women’s rights advocate, particarly for women’s rights to an education and to compensated employment. She was a feminist before the word existed. She encouraged prison reform and the emancipation of slaves. Thwarted and disdained by some of her contemporaries, she pushed on. She was both a prisoner of her times and a liberator.

    As I read this book, Fullar is growing very dear to me. I’m loving the account of her life. I’m looking forward to other readers comments and to our Conference call!

    Reply

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