“A thousand kisses–I love you with my whole soul”: Relations between women in the 19th century, as reflected in Little Women

This comment from Diana regarding a previous post prompted a discussion on whether or not Louisa May Alcott was gay: “What is your opinion of the evidence that she may have had some suppressed passion, such as crushes, on girls? Remember she said in an interview that she had been in love with so many …

My 3 days with Louisa May Alcott (part four): connections between Louisa May Alcott and Margaret Fuller

Note: This post is longer than usual. I had considered running it in two installments but thought it would lessen the impact of its message by doing that. So sit back with a cup of coffee, relax and read. 🙂 Two ladies, same vision Two New England feminists, both heavily influenced by transcendentalism. Both in …

Eight Cousins: the value of fatherhood

Greetings to the Poet's Corner Virtual Book Club: Eight Cousins Eight Cousins (or The Aunt-Hill) introduces us to a new kind of heroine from Louisa May Alcott. Rose, blond and blue-eyed, comes from wealth. In past stories, it’s been the wealthy girls who have proven to be the antagonists (Sallie Moffat from Little Women, Fanny …

What was the 19th century equivalent of the Ladies Home Journal?

I'm in trouble. There's an antique store right down the street from my house and already I've found two big thick books, one dated 1866 and the other, 1878. The bug of collecting antique books is beginning to take hold! As I read more and more about Louisa May Alcott, her family and her works, …

Controversy wrapped in sentiment: Louisa May Alcott’s genius

(Disclaimer: Admittedly I've only just started pouring over Louisa's works, and I haven't yet ventured into her "blood and thunder" tales, so my comments here are limited to the later stage of her writing which proved to be the most successful). Louisa's genius I've often said that Louisa May Alcott's genius was twofold. She crafted …

A continuing discussion on An Old-Fashioned Girl

Better late than never, I finally finished An Old-Fashioned Girl! And I have lots to say about it through several posts in the next few days. I have already written a few posts about this book which you can find here. I have to admit that the book lost me somewhere in the middle, before …

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 …

Was the “Old-Fashioned Girl” actually modern?

It's interesting how the supposedly old-fashioned Polly is actually more modern than the sophisticated Fanny. That's if you think in 21st century terms. In the Shaw household, the acquisition of wealth and keeping up with fashion are both considered "sophisticated" and desirable, whereas purposefulness and little kindnesses are considered "old-fashioned." Yet, as Louisa May Alcott …

Polly finds the palace not so beautiful after all

In chapter 3 of An Old-Fashioned Girl, it's obvious that the newness of living the privileged city life has grown old for Polly: Polly soon found that she was in a new world, a world where the manners and customs were so different from the simple ways at home, that she felt like a stranger …

Reading Louisa May Alcott’s next-best book, “An Old-Fashioned Girl”

Summer is such a great time - life is finally slowing down and now I can get back to reading for fun. I've been dying to read An Old-Fashioned Girl since I found the 1926 Brown and Little copy that I so foolishly deposed of the first time. I found an audio version on Librivox.org …