Hear and see John Matteson discuss Eden’s Outcasts

Here is a video of John Matteson discussing his Pultizer prize-winning biography, Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father. It appears to have been done at the School of Philosophy at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House.

Update

Watching the video while working – Matteson is charming! He says he was told that writing his first book would be a miserable experience. He said it was totally the opposite. It certainly shows in the book! p.s. He’s funny too. :-)

Spoiler!

Matteson maintains that Louisa failed to include her father (essentially) in Little Women because she was saving the best material for a book she had planned to write about Bronson that unfortunately never was written. Interesting!

One more update

I haven’t finished this book yet. I’m taking my time because it is so beautiful. Matteson is reading now from Louisa’s time as a nurse, just after John Suhre died, and how she came to write her beautiful tribute to Henry David Thoreau, the poem, “Thoreau’s Flute.” I have read 8 biographies of Louisa and Matteson is the only one who reflects my thoughts about how Louisa deals with and writes about death. I stopped work and kept saying “Yes! Yes!” as he read that section. I can hardly wait to get to that part of the book.

I’ve said it before – Matteson brings a distinctly spiritual element to this book. This is why I was able to come around a bit regarding Bronson – because Matteson understood Bronson’s spirituality and wrote so eloquently about it.

And …

Matteson’s story of how he turned from being a lawyer to a professor and author inspired me. He does it for love of his vocation which again, shines through his work. His classes must be wonderful.


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3 thoughts on “Hear and see John Matteson discuss Eden’s Outcasts

  1. Jillian says:

    Thanks for posting this! I am one chapter away from the end but think I need to buy my own copy so I can take notes in the margins. I thoroughly enjoyed the book… it is amazing! This summer I plan on reading some of Louisa’s journals and letters, edited by Daniel Shealy. Very exciting summer ahead of me!

    • susanwbailey says:

      I’m still stuck in the middle of that book – I don’t want to finish it because it’s just so wonderful. It’s like an old friend I can revisit again and again and just pick right up where I left off without missing a beat.

      I’ve heard that reading Louisa’s journals and letters is pretty amazing. I have those books but the type is soooooo teeny tiny that I have to take it in small chunks. Try also Ednah Dow Cheney’s book on Louisa (you can get it for free on Google books and the Gutenberg project) – she cites journal entries that are now destroyed.

    • susanwbailey says:

      How are you coming along with March? Did Eden’s Outcasts change your view of Bronson?

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