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Genius is local, governed by the protective spirit of a place, embedded, nurtured by circumstances and moments that are random, uncalculated, errant, only later observed as fateful. In Figuring, Maria Popova gives us the lives of five American women—the astronomer Maria Mitchell, the feminist Margaret Fuller, the sculpter Harriet Hosmer, the poet Emily Dickinson, and the marine biologist Rachel Carson—who come to be possessed by genius, find original directions to pursue. Figuring traces the hesitant, uncertain arcs of their influences, intersections, and self-encounters as they coalesce into something previously unimaged, their aspirations unfold in the completeness of being.
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