“Little Women” for today: Gabrielle Donnelly interviews Greta Gerwig, writer and director

Note: I am pleased to present this guest post by Gabrielle Donnelly, author of The Little Women Letters. Donnelly is an entertainment journalist and she had the chance recently to sit down with Greta Gerwig, writer and director of the latest Little Women movie. *********************************** Writer and director Greta Gerwig’s last film was the acclaimed …

Marmee and Louisa Book Discussion: Chapter Two “Drawing Toward Some Ideal Friend”

As a 19th century woman from a well-connected family, nineteen-year-old Abba Alcott was decidedly unconventional. She resisted the idea of marriage, preferring instead to study while nurturing dreams of opening her own school. Abba dreaded the pairing that had been arranged for her with cousin Samuel May Frothingham; his unexpected death freed her from that …

Marmee and Louisa Book Discussion: Chapter One “A good child, but willful”

Born on October 8, 1800, Abigail May came from a long line of wealthy, prominent Boston families. They included the Sewalls (Judge Samuel Sewall, the “repenting judge,” who had presided over the Salem Witch Trials to which he spent the rest of his life atoning for those actions), the Mays (who fought in the American …

“Marmee and Louisa” book discussion: Introduction – why Abba Alcott?

Eve LaPlante’s ancestral link with the Alcotts extends to readers of Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother a unique and intimate connection to this family. In the introduction, she mentions a trunk in her attic, passed down by an aunt. Although it and other treasures have been in …

What attracted Abigail May to Bronson Alcott? Beginning a book club discussion of “Marmee and Louisa” by Eve LaPlante

I am pleased to announce that we will be doing a book discussion in the coming weeks on Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and her Mother by Eve LaPlante. Each Thursday I will do a post on one chapter of the book, giving a brief reflection and offering discussion questions. …

Happy Birthday to two bigger-than-life minds and hearts: A. Bronson Alcott and Louisa May Alcott

Father and daughter, polar opposites in temperament. Both brilliant (he metaphysical, philosophical; she practical, from the heart). Both spiritual (Communion with The Spirit vs. "practical Christianity"). Both prolific writers. Both bigger than life. The Alcotts loved celebrating birthdays. Abba wrote back in 1851, "I seldom omit these occasions for showing my children the joy I …

Lecture by John Matteson for the 150th anniversary of Little Women

From the Concord Free Public Library: Engaging and informative lecture by Professor John Matteson for the Concord Festival of Authors, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the publication of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women! Be sure to check out the full lecture here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xwSshdEfWo

Little Women and the meaning of agape love by Dr. Cathlin Davis

Dr. Cathlin Davis, a perennial favorite at the Summer Conversational Series gave a sermon at her church about Little Women! A rare discussion about the religious element of the Louisa May Alcott classic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKRddg9-TLM

Chapter XI. Experiments

From the LW 150 blog: This is the second of two takes on the chapter, “Experiments.” This is a truly unique insight!

Little Women 150

By Mark Gallagher

Louisa May Alcott was deeply affected by the Fruitlands experiment. While she eventually wrote a satirical history of it, her first published commentary on her father’s failed utopia appears in Chapter 11 of Little Women, “Experiments,” where the March sisters indulge in the “all play, and no work” lifestyle that led to Fruitlands’ failure and the near ruin of Alcott’s family.

The chapter begins on June 1st, the same day Fruitlands was founded in 1843. Meg is relieved of her governess duties for the summer, while Jo is reprieved by a vacationing Aunt March. Deciding that lounging is the preferred course of inaction, all four sisters abandon their domestic duties for a week of personal freedom. Mrs. March consents, “You may try your experiment for a week, and see how you like it. I think by Saturday night you will find that all play, and no…

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Chapter XI. Experiments

From LW 150 blog: Not one, but TWO very different takes on this great chapter in Little Women. Here’s the first one.

Little Women 150

We are experimenting again this week with two very different looks at the same amazing chapter, one of the richest, wisest, and funniest in the book. Enjoy!

Melissa McFarland Pennell

I did not read Little Women until I was an adult, but since that first encounter, I’ve enjoyed rereading the novel many times and often include it as a text in one of my courses. Perhaps that is why when asked which might be my favorite chapter, I picked “Experiments” –a chapter about lessons learned and the value of trial and error.  It is also a chapter about work, presenting some forms of paid employment that women held in the nineteenth century, but also speaking to much of the invisible work that women did and continue to do. For me the key to the chapter is in Marmee’s commentary near its end that “Work . . . gives us a…

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