Companion volume to Marmee and Louisa includes newly discovered private writings

As mentioned in a previous post, a new dual biography on Louisa and her mother is coming out in November called Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother by Eve LaPlante. LaPlante’s website indicates that previously undiscovered private papers were found which form the basis of her book. These papers are being made available through a companion volume called My Heart is Boundless Writings of Abigail May Alcott, Louisa’s Mother.

The description on reads as follows:

Edited by award-winning biographer Eve LaPlante, a collection of the letters and diaries of Louisa May Alcott’s mother, Abigail—a forward-thinking feminist whose advice and example profoundly shaped her famous daughter

In this riveting compilation of Abigail May Alcott’s previously undiscovered and unexplored private writings, biographer Eve LaPlante annotates the letters, poems, recipes, and diaries of the real-life inspiration behind “Marmee” of Little Women, one of the most famous mother figures in American literature.

This companion volume to LaPlante’s groundbreaking Marmee & Louisa covers everything from writing (Abigail’s own ambitions as well as her daughter’s) to family life and the expectations of society. Full of wit and charm, Abigail’s private letters offer a moving, intimate portrait of a woman intellectually ahead of her time who found herself trapped in an unrewarding marriage and who would transfer her wisdom and ambition to her talented daughters, Louisa most of all.

In beautiful prose (a biographer once pointed out that “In some ways, Abby was a better writer than her more famous daughter”), this fantastic new collection lays bare the unparalleled love that Abigail held for her family, in the process restoring a powerful female voice too long lost to history.

As indicated by one of our readers, LaPlante will be featured at the Orchard House Summer Conversational Series taking place July 15-19.

I’ll be there, how about you?

The excitement grows … 🙂

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5 Replies to “Companion volume to Marmee and Louisa includes newly discovered private writings”

  1. I hope she talks about where these papers come from…I had thought that when Abba died Louisa had burned most (if not all) of her personal papers. Can’t wait for these books to come out! I am not a big fan of Bronson, but I’ve always found Abba to be a much more interesting persona.

    1. That’s the part I’m most interested in too, where these papers came from. A lot of letters were sent to friends that Louisa could not obtain nor destroy. Thank goodness for that!

  2. I thought the same thing Jbee! Although Milohoah is correct, if these are letters to friends there could be no way Louisa could have gotten her hands on them. Also, I wonder if her sister had some recipes. Or did Anna have a diary or two and passed it down to her children etc. Maybe Louisa didn’t have everything.

    Who really knows, but I’m glad these were not destroyed and I am interested in the story as well 🙂

    I’d love to be at Orchard house then. I dunno if I can make it though. I hate driving such a distance by myself.

    1. I believe they were soul mates. There’s a beautiful exchange between mother and daughter when Louisa was ten – in essence through this poem, she was dedicating her life to her mother’s needs – here’s how it goes:

      Concord, 1843.

      DEAR LOUY, — I enclose a picture for you which I always liked very much, for imagined that you might be just such an industrious daughter and I such a feeble but loving mother, looking to your labor for my daily bread.
      Keep it for my sake and your own, for you and I always liked to be grouped together.

      Louisa wrote this poem under the picture in her journal:

      TO MOTHER.

      I hope that soon, dear mother,
      You and I may be
      In the quiet room my fancy
      Has so often made for thee. –

      The pleasant, sunny chamber,
      The cushioned easy-chair,
      The book laid for your reading,
      The vase of flowers fair;

      The desk beside the window
      Where the sun shines warm and bright:
      And there in ease and quiet
      The promised book you write;

      While I sit close beside you,
      Content at least to see
      That you can rest, dear mother,
      And I can cherish thee.

      Louisa added to her journal in later years: (The dream came true, and for the last ten years of her life Marmee sat in peace, with every wish granted, even to the “grouping together;” for she died in my arms. – L. M. A.)

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