From the Concord Free Public Library: Engaging and informative lecture by Professor John Matteson for the Concord Festival of Authors, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the publication of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women! Be sure to check out the full lecture here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xwSshdEfWo
Dr. Cathlin Davis, a perennial favorite at the Summer Conversational Series gave a sermon at her church about Little Women! A rare discussion about the religious element of the Louisa May Alcott classic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKRddg9-TLM
From the LW150 blog: Lovely thoughts on growing up, from Chapter XIV, “Secrets.”
By Jacinta Mioni
It was just another sweltering June afternoon in Kansas, the summer between my fifth and sixth grades, when I happened upon a shelf in my local public library dedicated to the works of Louisa May Alcott. The rest of that summer vacation was spent in the air conditioning, immersed in the lives of Alcott’s characters. Thirteen years later, you can imagine how my breathe quite literally caught in my throat when I saw the course listing for English 720 at K-State, a class dedicated solely to the creator of my childhood heroes and heroines, of whom I was particularly fond of the March sisters. Of course, I enrolled in the class immediately and I want to give you a little peek into our classroom and its many lively discussions.
A theme that has resurfaced several times in our consideration of Little Women, and one that fascinates…
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Did the real-life Amy know Laurie? Apparently so, and they were good friends! How do we know? Through a stash of letters at the Houghton Library from May Alcott to Alfred Whitman. Who was Laurie based upon? Alf is one of two boys on whom Laurie from Little Women was based (the other being Louisa's …
from LW 150 blog: Dreaming of “castles in the air” and where they may lead us.
By Angela Hubler
“Wouldn’t it be fun if all castles in the air which we could make could come true and we could live in them?” says Jo, in chapter 13, “Castles in the Air.” Jo thus encourages utopian dreaming, not only by Laurie and her sisters but by generations of readers, revealing why this text has been a touchstone for artistic and ambitious women for 150 years. Laurie and the March girls express their hearts’ desires, and as the novel progresses each sister achieves—at least to some degree– what she has pined and labored for: Meg is mistress of the “lovely house, full of…pleasant people”; Jo writes books “out of a magic inkstand”; Beth remains “at home safe with father and mother” until she flies in at “that splendid gate”; and Amy goes to Rome and develops her talents as an artist.
Of course, generations of critics have argued…
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From the LW 150 blog: This is the second of two takes on the chapter, “Experiments.” This is a truly unique insight!
By Mark Gallagher
Louisa May Alcott was deeply affected by the Fruitlands experiment. While she eventually wrote a satirical history of it, her first published commentary on her father’s failed utopia appears in Chapter 11 of Little Women, “Experiments,” where the March sisters indulge in the “all play, and no work” lifestyle that led to Fruitlands’ failure and the near ruin of Alcott’s family.
The chapter begins on June 1st, the same day Fruitlands was founded in 1843. Meg is relieved of her governess duties for the summer, while Jo is reprieved by a vacationing Aunt March. Deciding that lounging is the preferred course of inaction, all four sisters abandon their domestic duties for a week of personal freedom. Mrs. March consents, “You may try your experiment for a week, and see how you like it. I think by Saturday night you will find that all play, and no…
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From LW 150 blog: Not one, but TWO very different takes on this great chapter in Little Women. Here’s the first one.
We are experimenting again this week with two very different looks at the same amazing chapter, one of the richest, wisest, and funniest in the book. Enjoy!
Melissa McFarland Pennell
I did not read Little Women until I was an adult, but since that first encounter, I’ve enjoyed rereading the novel many times and often include it as a text in one of my courses. Perhaps that is why when asked which might be my favorite chapter, I picked “Experiments” –a chapter about lessons learned and the value of trial and error. It is also a chapter about work, presenting some forms of paid employment that women held in the nineteenth century, but also speaking to much of the invisible work that women did and continue to do. For me the key to the chapter is in Marmee’s commentary near its end that “Work . . . gives us a…
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