Why Little Women still matters: A review of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy by Anne Boyd Rioux

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of a classic read by millions around the globe. Written by Louisa May Alcott, a writer under duress fulfilling the assignment of an insistent publisher, Little Women, in the words of Anne Boyd Rioux is the “paradigmatic book about growing up, especially for the female half …

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All-star scholarly panel opens Summer Conversational Series 2018 honoring “Little Women”

It pays to keep up the Little Women Sesquicentennial site! I just saw today exciting information regarding the opening session for this year's Summer Conversational Series at Orchard House. The theme, of course, is "Little Women in the 21st Century - 150 Years of Inspiration." Traditionally the opening session features a panel discussion. This year …

A rare look at Louisa May Alcott’s life as an invalid and a patient

You never know what you will find out from a librarian. Or where research will lead you. That's what makes it so addictive. The Alcotts and Homeopathy My research on Elizabeth Alcott has recently led me into the world of alternative medicine. The Alcotts were followers of Homeopathy, a popular alternative to traditional medicine in …

“Poppy’s Pranks” reveals the childhood of Louisa May Alcott

I am listening for a second time to Harriet Reisen's fine biography, Louisa May Alcott The Woman Behind Little Women. In discussing Louisa's childhood Reisen makes many references to a story Louisa wrote for her first children's series, Morning-Glories and Other Stories. Having little experience with writing children's stories, Louisa opted to learn by doing, …

A trivia backstory: how is it that Catholic holy cards show up in Louisa’s stories?

While researching my biography on Elizabeth Alcott, I did a very careful re-read of Little Women using Daniel Shealy's excellent annotated edition. In the course of my reading I found many interesting little details. One of them involved the poem in Chapter 46 which brought Professor Bhaer to Jo's side. Called "In the Garret," a …

Gossip from overseas: stories from “Little Women Abroad” by those mapcap Alcott sisters

I am pleased to present this guest post by Elizabeth Hilprecht, a regular reader whose insightful comments you have most likely read. We have been having a wonderful email chat back and forth about Daniel Shealy's Little Women Abroad and I asked her if she would share some of the wonderful stories taken from letters …

Three-part series on Bronson Alcott at Fruitlands Museum: genius or crackpot?

Last Wednesday I attended the first of three lectures on Bronson Alcott at the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA, presented by Helen Batchelder, a local scholar. Fruitlands in the dark I have never been to Fruitlands before in the dark and it was disconcerting to see the lights over the mountains, reminding me it was …