Louisa May Alcott as grief counselor (on the fifth anniversary of this blog)

My obsession with Louisa played out in a rather odd way. Never a big reader until a few years ago, I’d find myself reading a biographical account of Louisa’s life (rather than read her own words) every few years. This began after reading Martha Saxton’s biography. After the reading (usually done during the autumn months) …

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Places that are redemptive, and damning: Monday presentation by Stephen Burby at the Summer Conversational Series

Note: Mr. Burby kindly gave me his presentation (handwritten notes and all) in lieu of the fact that I was unable to attend the Monday session of the Summer Conversational Series. I thank him for doing so. This is a longer post than usual as I found his presentation to be quite thought-provoking. * * * …

Jo’s evolution as a creative, and as a woman

What did Jo March  mean when she said she wanted to create something "spendid?" Perhaps gaining recognition for her writing. Maybe even being hailed as a great writer. Writing a book of artistic merit and universality that would stand the test of time. Yet we find in Little Women that Jo's goals would evolve from that solitary …

Elisabeth Alcott through the eyes of her father

By the time Elisabeth Sewall Alcott was born, Bronson had moved on from chronicling the daily activities of his daughters to exploring the soul. In Eden’s Outcasts, John Matteson writes that “Elizabeth was fairer than her elder sisters and … was the model of serenity that Bronson had vainly hoped Anna and Louisa would be. …

Letter from an anguished mother: Abba writes of her sojourn with Lizzie to the North Shore

Work is progressing, albeit slowly, on my book project. I am enjoying all aspects of the process from the thinking and planning while I drive (I’m one of those crazies that talks to myself all the time), to the research, to the paragraphs percolating in my head, to the final writing. I’m falling more in …

Louisa’s poetic tribute to her mother reveals beautiful insights on death

I have long maintained that Louisa's most poignant writing revolves around death as evidenced in Beth March's passing in Little Women and John Suhre's noble death in Hospital Sketches. Recently I found a blog post on the SevenPonds site that states so eloquently the very thoughts I've harbored about Louisa's insights into death - that it …

Louisa has primed my pump and changed my life

I happened to stumble upon a great find: The Glory Cloak by Patricia O'Brien, an historical novel featuring Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton. It covers the Civil War through the eyes of a fictitious Alcott cousin, Susan Gray, who comes to live with the Alcotts after being orphaned. Susan becomes Louisa's constant companion, confidant …