pursuing our passion for anything related to Louisa May AlcottI was looking for an excuse to create this blog after my latest reading ‘binge’ on Louisa May Alcott, someone whom I find endlessly fascinating.  That excuse came in the form of a challenge, the “All Things Alcott” challenge, where we are to pursue our love of anything related to Louisa May Alcott (be it books, watching films, DVDs, visiting Orchard House, etc.) and share it with the community. I’ve had a life long love of the Alcott Family and have the good fortune to only live an hour away from Orchard House in Concord, but I’ve never had anyone I could share it with. I can hardly wait to get started on this challenge and meet all my new friends! It also gives me an excuse to continue with my ‘binge. 🙂

12 Replies to “Welcome!”

  1. Welcome to the challenge. It is so wonderful to meet someone who is also passionate about Louisa May Alcott. I’ve loved her my whole reading life as well. I’m going back and reading some of the other things she has written besides her most popular children’s books. I look forward to your reviews and all your posts on this subject.

  2. I only discovered Louisa May Alcott when I started writing this paper about types of 19th century womanhood in America.
    There was a “True Woman” that cherished traditional feminine values and 4 cardinal virtues: piety, purity, submissiveness and domesticity, and believed in separate spheres for men and women. Public sphere, world of business was male, and private sphere of the home was female.
    There was a “New Woman,” a synonym for late 19th century feminist who denounced domesticity and separate spheres and advocated women’s rights.

    I should have illustrated cultural scripts of domesticity and womanhood in Little Women and life of Louisa May Alcott herself, however I couldn’t classify her neither as True Woman, nor New Woman.

    Louisa May Alcott supported women’s suffrage and economic self-reliance, yet she never rejected domestic values. Above all she was a dutiful daughter and sister.

    Little Women is autobiographical novel in many ways. The March family is modeled after the Alcotts. Each sister has unique pesonality. Meg and Beth are docile little women, but Jo and Amy (Louisa and May) could not be decribed as submissive types.

    Reading Little Women and its sequel Little Men and comparing fiction with Alcott’s real life facts, that I found in her letters and journals (Portable Louisa May Alcott by Elizabeth Lennox Keyser), I got so taken in, I guess I found so much that I personally could relate to.

    Susan, thank you for creating this blog. I look forward to sharing ideas about Louisa’s family life and her domesticity with people who had “met” her and came to admire her long before I did.

  3. Mia,
    My knowledge of that period is sketchy but I love the 19th century, particularly in photographs. Your paper regarding the True Woman and the New Woman sounds really interesting. I agree that Louisa was both (and I think May was more the New Woman as she was freer from family obligations). Like you, I too relate a lot to Louisa and find her personal story so compelling. In fact, I was into the author long before I was into the books! Just catching up now. Lots of fun. 🙂

    Welcome! Looking forward to more comments.

  4. If you find True Woman and New Woman interesting, I think you would love to hear about Real Woman. Frances B.Cogan wrote a book about it – All-American Girl: The Ideal of Real Womanhood in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America.

    Look what she says:

    “This popular ideal advocated intelligence, phisical fitness and health, self-sufficiency, economic self-reliance, and careful marriage: it was in other words, a survival ethic.”

    This sounds more like Louisa May Alcott, don’t you think? 😉

    I’m still reading this book, but I can see that it will be most useful for my paper. Apparently, this ideal was popular from 1842 to 1880 (and this is period when she was most productive) before it gave way to New Woman.

    Real Woman was a compromise between True Woman and New Woman and that is what Louisa May Alcott was.

    1. Wow, yeah, that is really interesting. It does sound just like Louisa, and May too. I’d love to read your paper when it’s done.

  5. Yes, it does sound like both of them, though Cogan almost doesn’t mention nither of them in her book.

    What I like the most is how Cogan draws the line between Real Woman and New Woman, when it comes to women taking salaried employment.

    For a New Woman, early feminist, salaried emplyment was necessary as a precondition for her personal fulfillment, “irrespective of the financial needs of her family or her marital status.”

    For a Real Woman, work had moral value. Salaried employment, charitable work, domestic work – it was equally valued. It depended on circumstances which one of these three forms would a woman pursue. Each of these forms of work was “as morally beneficial as another and either directly or indiractly taught the woman self-reliance and weaned her away from various forms of sependency.”

    (Cogan, Frances B., All-American Girl: The Ideal of Real Womanhood in Mid-Nineteenth Century America, University of Georgia Press, 1989, p.200)

    Thank you for finding it interesting. This blogging truly helps me with my writing. This paper is one thing that I need to have done – something I must have completed. I would love to share it with you and to get your feedback, even before it’s done.

    English is not my mother tongue and I’m not very skillful when it comes to writing in an academic style. I would appreciate if someone would tell me if something sounds unnatural, or if I use word “independency” instead of “independence,” and that sort of things.

    1. I’d be honored! I’m no academic by any means but I can at least tell you whether your English is correct. Sounds pretty good to me so far. 🙂

      Interesting how the word “new” is used for the woman who gets a job just to get a job, but “real” is used for a woman who finds something important to do apart from her husband. The definition for a Real Woman sounds a lot more balanced, and definitely the more desirable thing to attain.

  6. Indeed, Real Woman has a formula for a balanced life. She seeks equal rights and equal opportunities, but stays “proper”, respectable in conventional terms, for she still mantains those cardinal virtues of True Woman.

    New Woman rejected notion of separate spheres, of what is appropriate for men and women. Real Woman didn’t reject that notion, but was looking for the ways to broaden it.

    Thank you for being willing to help.

    If you send me an email on mianinera@yahoo.com, I’ll attach and send you this chapter about domesticity that I’ve finished so far. It’s 4-5 pages in Word. Tells about traditional womanhood that was popular in early nineteenth century.

  7. Well, I am enjoying the discovery of this blog sooo much that I decided to start from your very first one! I promise that I will not bog you down with commentary too much. I just do not want to miss anything!

    It is like a “mini-vacation” when I read a little from here every day or so.

    Susan Hoskins

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