Sep. 12, 2012

Biographer Megan Marshall to Deliver Harding Lecture Sept. 27


GENESEO, N.Y. -- Award-winning biographer Megan Marshall will deliver SUNY Geneseo's 2012 Walter Harding Lecture Sept. 27 at 4 p.m. in the College Union Ballroom. Her address, "Biography as Intellectual History: Two Lives of the Mind," will focus on American educator Elizabeth Peabody, and journalist and women's rights advocate Margaret Fuller.

Marshall is assistant professor of writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College, where the Graduate Student Association named her Outstand Faculty Member in 2012.
She is the author of "The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism" (2005), which won the Society of American Historians' 2006 Francis Parkman Prize.

On the society's website, Patricia Cline Cohen, professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara, observes that "Marshall brilliantly succeeds in bringing to life the complex sisters, each maneuvering to make her mark in a world just on the verge of a dawning feminism. Marshall restores their place in the history of Transcendentalism, and, thanks to unusually rich primary sources she has uncovered, she presents a seamless, almost filmic narrative of actions, interior thoughts, even gestures and meaningful silences. This is a rare feat in biographies, most especially biographies of antebellum women."

Marshall's reviews and essays have appeared in "The Atlantic;" "Slate;" "The New Republic;" "The New Yorker;" "The New York Times Book Review;" "The London Review of Books;" and "The Boston Review." Her latest book, "Margaret Fuller: A New American Life," will be published in March, 2013, by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

SUNY Geneseo launched the annual Harding lecture in 2004 in honor of the late Distinguished Professor Emeritus Walter Harding, an internationally known faculty member who was the world's leading scholar on 19th-century author Henry David Thoreau. Harding was the founding secretary and former president of the Thoreau Society, the oldest and largest international organization devoted to the study of any American author.

Harding taught in the Department of English for 26 years. He died in 1996. Harding's wife, Marjorie Brook Harding, created an endowment to make the lecture series possible. She significantly enlarged the endowment in 2010 , assuring that generations of Geneseo students and faculty will benefit from Walter Harding's tradition of scholarship and learning.

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