Birth of a visionary educator: Bronson Alcott, part 3 (reflections on Eden’s Outcasts)

Part 3 of a series on Bronson Alcott: his rise, fall and redemption, based on reflections from John Matteson's biography Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father If you want to refresh your memory on previous posts in this series, here are the links: Read Part One here Read Part Two here …

Finding his mission: Bronson Alcott, part 2 (reflections on Eden’s Outcasts)

How did a remote and poor farm boy evolve into a visionary educator? This is one of the great questions regarding Bronson Alcott for which I wanted answers.  John Matteson in Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father provides some interesting insight. In the beginning In the first chapter Matteson traces  …

The rise, fall and redemption of Bronson Alcott, part 1 (reflections on Eden’s Outcasts)

Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson has to be one of the most elegant and thoughtful books I have ever read. Matteson is the first Alcott biographer who truly seems to understand the spiritual life and that insight produces a deeper and different view of Bronson Alcott. …

More from Alcott scholar Roberta Trites: Alcott and the emergence of the adolescent reform novel

As mentioned in yesterday's post, Alcott scholar Roberta Trites wrote a book published by the University of Iowa Press in 2007 called Twain, Alcott, and the Birth of the Adolescent Reform Novel. I have one more short interview with Trites, conducted by WGLT host Charlie Schlenker where she talks about the beginnings of what she …

Listen to an interview with Roberta Trites regarding Louisa’s “blood and thunder” tales

Recently the Milner Library at Illinois State University hosted a series of programs as part of the ALA's "Louisa May Alcott The Woman Behind Little Women"; they were one of many libraries around the country that received grant money from the NEH and the ALA. The series is based upon the best-selling biography of the …

I “met” Louisa May Alcott . . .

 . . . through the acting skills of Jan Turnquist, performer extraordinaire and director of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House. From Jan's website she writes, "Due to a 'minor carriage accident,' 20th century audiences have the opportunity to 'meet' Louisa May Alcott through the living history portrayal of Jan Turnquist." She swept into the room …

The core of Louisa May Alcott’s feminism explains her timelessness

After writing yesterday's post on Polly's modern sensibilities, I thought about what Louisa May Alcott's core belief was which motivated her feminism, and why she was so effective in imparting it. Autonomy My conclusion? Louisa's feminism was based on autonomy - the right of every woman to be autonomous,  the freedom for each woman to …

Louisa May Alcott’s brand of feminism: final thoughts on “Moods,” thanks to Sarah Elbert

I finally finished reading Moods a few weeks ago but just couldn't comment on it. After reading both the 1864 and 1882 versions, I concluded that the book left me flat. The characters felt rather two-dimensional. Both versions ended differently and each ending seemed convoluted. It left me feeling the way I did after reading …

Getting to know John Matteson, author of “Eden’s Outcasts”

I'm about to treat you to a wonderful interview with John Matteson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Eden's Outcasts (one of the many books on my list begging to be read). Here's a sampling to whet your appetite: What drives the continued fascination with Louisa May Alcott? Louisa combined the best aspects of both her parents. …

The essence of Fruitlands: a return to the Garden of Eden

Note: the following post is based upon the introduction to Fruitlands: The Alcott Family and Their Search for Utopia by Richard Francis, pages 2-11). Anything that has been italicized is my own conclusion, not Francis'. I will be including thoughts that I have as it relates to my understanding of Christianity and how it relates …

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