A new book that includes Louisa May Alcott

I came across a new book with an interesting angle that includes several authors along with Louisa May Alcott. Iit’s called American Writers at Home by J. D. McClatchy with photographcs by Erica Lennard.

The Newstraitstime website summarized the book this way:

A RATHER novel compilation of literary cribs, an exploration into how the physical space around them influenced and stimulated various American authors from Louisa May Alcott to Walt Whitman.

Reviews on Amazon.com revealed a lot more:

“I found this book to be quietly revolutionary in its very conception. The author and photographic collaborator set out to show how physical space influenced and stimulated various well known American writers. They look at both the writer’s residence and personal writing space within that structure. As an archaeologist I spend much of my time looking at how artifacts once served to reproduce worldview. Much of that interest in my field has followed Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of habitus. This book does the same in that it looks at how home and writing space might stimulate both thought and words. And this is done in an absolutely stunning fashion with thoughtful text, quotation of relevant passages from the writer, and striking illustrations. Any one with an interest in writing, writers, history, photography, architecture, or material culture (as well as the just plain curious folks) will welcome this book as a holiday gift.” Richard Dent

“You unlikely would read it cover to cover. Instead, like the houses it explores, you would pop in for an occasional visit. And such wonderful visits author J.D. McClatchy and photographer Erica Lennard provide. Their words and pictures share similarities-soft and gentle in color yet detailed and realistic in portrayals so vivid you feel like a guest awaiting your host(ess) to step into the room and greet you. Poet McClatchy has woven details of the authors’ biographies into a fabric of words about a central pattern of the homes where they lived and wrote. The 21 homes you will visit range from the austere farm house of Robert Frost to the Victorian elegance of Mark Twain’s mansion to Hemmingway’s Key West estate. As you travel from home to home-including those of Alcott, Dickenson, Emerson, Irving, Longfellow, Melville, and Welty-you travel, too, through time, from when pen and ink were the primary tools of authors into the era of the manual typewriter, but not beyond. McClatchy and Lennard have given us a romantic sense of simpler times and of the lives of the men and women who wrote our Nobel and Pulitzer winning classics, mostly while sitting at simple desks and tables. Surprisingly, many of them wrote in their bedrooms, perhaps further proof that really good writing comes from those who shorten the distance between an arduous task and creative rest. This book would have a proper home on the coffee table to the classroom.” Lowell Forte

You can see all the reviews by clicking on the title of the book above.

This sounds like a fascinating book, one I will definitely scout out at my favorite bookstore. I hope it becomes available in the library soon.

Any of you heard of it or seen it?

5 Replies to “A new book that includes Louisa May Alcott”

  1. Sounds interesting. Not just because of LMA, her Orchard House is well known (at least through pictures) to all her fans, but because of all the other homes. I would love to check it up. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love to visit homes of writers. I enjoy being in a space that was once inhabited by a writer I admire and to get some sense of the life of the person. I recommend houses associated with the following: Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charlotte Bronte. All are available to the public, but schedules vary.

    1. I saw Thomas Edison’s house when I went to Florida as a kid. It was fascinating! The light bulbs were the original ones he had invented. I work in a real estate office (not as an agent) and so, of course, love to see the inside of people’s houses. 🙂 I think the surroundings say so much about the author. I’ve heard more stories from LMA’s biographers about how Louisa’s desk where she wrote “Little Women” strongly spoke to them, “possessed” them. I remember how seeing May Alcott’s drawings on the wall spoke to me in a profound way, and the last time I went, seeing Louisa’s sewing box spoke to me.

      A great concept for a book, surprised it hasn’t been done before.

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