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. * * * …

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Lizzie’s favorite hymn, perhaps the one sung at her funeral

In my continuing research on Elizabeth Alcott, I find that letters by her mother offer the most poignant moments. I am already obsessed with Lizzie and Abba's comments act as gasoline on an already roaring fire. I'm told that obsession with a character will produce a good story; I sure hope so! I believe in …

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. …

Returning to “Work:” In and out of the mist – Louisa’s art reflects life

We return to a discussion of Work: A Story of Experience where chapter 7, "Through the Mist" marks a turning point in Christie's life. It is also a powerful and penetrating look inside the author who herself experienced a similar turning point. After numerous attempts to find meaningful work that she could sustain, and after …

Work: Staring madness in the face

A ticking time bomb lay inside of Louisa May Alcott and she knew it. It went off with her father, her Uncle Junius, and eventually, herself. Her journals alluded to it. Her creativity was fueled by it. And chapter 5 of Work: A Story of Experience gives us a detailed look inside. Companion Having left the …

Louisa May Alcott’s summer retreat

A trip to a warehouse bookstore in the middle of nowhere produced a great find! I had just about given up the hope of finding something interesting until this book caught my eye:  Nonquitt A Summer Album, 1872-1985, edited by Anne M. Lyell. What is so significant about Nonquitt? This is where Louisa May Alcott …

Book Review: Louisa May Alcott A Personal Biography by Susan Cheever

Susan Cheever has offered the latest in a flurry of books about Louisa May Alcott; hers is titled Louisa May Alcott A Personal Biography. In a little over 250 pages, she sketches out the life of the popular author of Little Women. Cheever's book is an easy read, with a writing style that is very …