Handsome new collection of lesser known Alcott stories (Susan Cheever, editor) now available

Yet another new book regarding Louisa May Alcott!

I just received my copy of Alcott: Work, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, Stories & Other Writings edited by Susan Cheever. This is the third book that Cheever has been involved in regarding Louisa May Alcott; her others include Louisa May Alcott A Personal Biography (see previous post) and American Bloomsbury (see previous post). She has added notes at the end of the volume regarding the works included.

alcott book edited by susan cheever

Each story is illustrated with the original drawings from the first edition.

The other writings include:

  • Address to the Republican Women of Massachusetts
  • Kate’s Choice
  • How I Went Out to Service
  • Woman’s Part in the Concord Celebration
  • Letter to the Woman’s Journal, June 29, 1876
  • Anna’s Whim
  • My Girls

There is also a chronology, note on texts and miscellaneous notes.

The overall theme of the book is Louisa’s feminist writings.

Appealing book

This is a lovely volume with a glossy cover, nice quality semi-gloss paper and a ribbon to mark your place. The book stays open which is something I always like. I enjoyed having the original illustrations and I am particularly pleased to see Work getting wider exposure.

A moment for a rant

Just as a personal aside: I do wish Work would be examined for its other significant parts. I realize that most people reading it for the firs time will be drawn in by the feminist theme and the autobiographical nature of the story. But there is so much more to this book! It seems that the second half is nearly dismissed. It’s true that the courtship of Christie and David is the weakest part of the story and their marriage is cut way short by his death. But Christie’s search for her spiritual self, for meaning in life, her near suicide, her grief journey and her eventual involvement with a circle of sisters is what makes the book special to me. I guess I’m just too much of a wonk! 🙂

Here’s my various posts on Work.

I was hoping for some kind of introduction to each story from Susan Cheever. Instead there is a scant two and one half pages at the end of the volume about them. There are other notes in reference to particular parts of the stories.

The suggested price of $40 is steep! Fortunately you can get it for about $28 on Amazon.

This book is issued by the Library of America in their efforts to preserve literary history.

A question

Allow me now to show my ignorance: I had not heard of “Anna’s Whim” nor “My Girls.” I saw in the notes that they are both part of the Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag series. Have any of you read these stories?

Alcott: Work, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, Stories & Other Writings does not include anything different for those of us who immerse ourselves in Alcott. It does, however, present something new to those who are just getting started, especially Work.

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6 Replies to “Handsome new collection of lesser known Alcott stories (Susan Cheever, editor) now available”

  1. I don’t think I have read Anna’s whim. What’s tge summary? I do live the Rose series. Such feminist ideology in it about dress and health. Not sure I’ll pick up the volume but I may google those two stories.

  2. I own “Anna’s Whim” as part of Silver Pitchers and Independence, but when I looked at it, it does not look familiar. So either I didn’t read it very carefully, or I haven’t read it. I have read other stories from Silver Pitchers, though, so I’m not sure how I missed it. Silly me.

    “My Girls” is one of my favorites. My absolute favorite LMA pieces are her sketches taken from real life, and this one, like “My Boys”, is interesting to me because it gives little hints about people LMA knew.

    All of the Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag series can be downloaded at archive.org, and some at gutenberg.org as well. Silver Pitchers also. (Shawl-Straps is another of my favorites.)

    I’m not sure that I’ve seen the Republican Women piece, and I am not sure that I have read that particular letter to the Women’s Journal, though I have others. Other than that, like you said, none of this is really new. I didn’t like Cheever’s biography, and I have American Bloomsbury on my shelf but haven’t read it yet. So I guess I won’t go out of my way to get this one…but if it shows up at the library used book sale in a couple of years I may pick it up for a couple of bucks. 😉

  3. Why are these grouped together? Just for the “lesser” designation? It just feels odd. I received “Kate’s Choice” as a Christmas gift in a volume that also contains “What Love Can Do” and “Gwen’s Adventure in the Snow” (River Oak pub.). I think I’d like to add this to my collection, in spite of already owning EIGHT COUSINS (my fave).

    1. Yes, I have a few copies of that one too 🙂 I haven’t looked over this collection all that closely; I know that a general theme of feminism links them together. They might have been personal favorites of Cheever’s. I’ll have to go back and see what the introduction says.

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