I am pleased to present this guest post by Jill Fuller and Jamie Burgess.
Early April, sunrise. The tree branches are still black against creamy pink sunlight, and I am at my kitchen table surrounded by a stack of books, my laptop, and a mug of coffee. It is our fifth week of lockdown, and I have found that the earliest and latest hours when my preschooler is asleep are the only quiet hours of the day. In these slivers of time, I escape the four walls where I have stayed day after day, returning to 1870s Concord, a red farmhouse in the winter of 1843, or a Civil War hospital in Washington, D.C. Through lonely months of missing my friends and family, I find companionship with another dear friend, a writer named Louisa May Alcott. I research and type, and as spring glides into summer, my word count keeps growing.
When I had approached fellow Alcott enthusiast Jamie Burgess about the idea of writing and producing a podcast on Louisa May Alcott’s life and legacy, January’s winds were still blowing, and no one knew what 2020 was going to bring. Neither of us realized how much we would come to depend on this project- the personal fulfillment and joy of creating something new, our blossoming friendship through insightful conversations, and the example of Louisa herself as a guiding light through difficult days. Sequestered in our homes, we met Louisa on the page and reveled in the wisdom and insights we found in her mind and world.
2021 is on the horizon and with it, the announcement of our podcast mini-series, titled Let Genius Burn, which will be launching later in the year. For Louisa fans, this podcast series won’t be just another retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s biography. Instead, each 8-episode series explores Louisa’s life through a different lens–Louisa as celebrity, writer, activist, daughter, and more—illuminating her complexity as a person, woman, and historical figure.
In one episode, Jamie will unpack how Louisa’s celebrity developed, her reactions to it, and the inherent tensions between a desire for fame and a desire to create that still ring true for modern-day writers and artists in the world of social media clicks and likes.
In another episode, Jill will explore how Louisa experienced the limitations and possibilities of her gender, ultimately making deliberate choices to expand the definition of what it meant to live as a woman in the mid-nineteenth century.
Bonus episodes will feature conversations with other Alcott scholars to bring you new insights into Louisa’s world and its relevance for the 21st century.
We can’t wait to share this journey with you and hope you’ll find inspiration in Louisa’s life as much as we do. We invite you to follow the podcast on Facebook or Instagram @letgeniusburn; you can also sign up for exclusive behind-the-scenes information in our monthly email blast at www.letgeniusburn.com. As we put the finishing touches on each episode and look ahead to 2021, I find myself once again repeating Louisa’s words: “Genius is infinite patience.”
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