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How Megan Marshall came to write a biography about Margaret Fuller

A native Californian, Megan Marshall inherited her love for New England from her childhood home’s previous owners, who had left behind many possessions, including their 1880s edition of “Little Women,” among other books. IT WAS one introduction to the region’s “vast cultural history” from which her most recent book, “Margaret Fuller: A New American Life,” springs.

Marshall, who will read at the Peabody Institute Library at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, says her hope was that the new book would “read as much like a novel as possible.” With an enormous archive of diaries and letters left by Fuller and her circle, Marshall paints a rich portrait of the most notable, if misunderstood, woman among the New England Transcendentalists. Fuller grew up in Cambridge at a time when Harvard was closed to women; because of her formidable intellect, Marshall says, “she was seen as having a man’s mind in a woman’s body.”

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