Did the real Amy March get together with the real-life Laurie? Letters between May Alcott and Alf Whitman

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 …

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Chapter XIII. Castles in the Air

from LW 150 blog: Dreaming of “castles in the air” and where they may lead us.

Little Women 150

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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Chapter XI. Experiments

From the LW 150 blog: This is the second of two takes on the chapter, “Experiments.” This is a truly unique insight!

Little Women 150

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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Chapter XI. Experiments

From LW 150 blog: Not one, but TWO very different takes on this great chapter in Little Women. Here’s the first one.

Little Women 150

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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Happy 150th Birthday Little Women!

Sunday September 30, 2018 will live in my memory for a long time. This day we celebrated the 150th birthday of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  The sparkling Autumn day was the backdrop for scores of Little Women fans -- young and old, men and women, and all the lovely activities making for quite …

Little Women Legacy: News from New Jersey with Lauren Cutrone, Featured Author

From Pink Umbrella Books: Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes contributor Lauren Cutrone’s essay, “Little Women, Feminism and a New Definition of Beauty” points out yet another reason this book can speak to girls today. And it was written at her Louisa May Alcott desk!

In this blog post series, we’ll feature contributing authors from our new anthology, Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy. Today we’ll catch up with Lauren Cutrone, writer, publishing professional, and Jersey girl.

cutrone

Lauren Cutrone reads Little Women in New Jersey.


What is your favorite scene from Little Women?

There is a very tiny, seemingly insignificant scene that always comes to me first. In Good Wives, there is a scene where Jo is stuck. She’s in Concord but finds that it’s no longer serving her. She wants to leave, but she has no idea where to go. This leads to Marmee helping Jo to make her way to New York City, but this scene of rare stillness for Jo always sticks out to me. This is such a pivotal moment where Jo decides who she is and who she wants to be. Whenever I feel “stuck,” I remember…

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Chapter X. The P. C. and P. O.

from LW150 – The P.C. and the P.O

Little Women 150

By Lorinda B. Cohoon

“The P. C. and P. O.” chapter recounts a deepening of the friendship between the March family and the Laurence family through Laurie’s admission to the secret society of the Pickwick Club. Both Meg and Amy have reservations about admitting a boy to the club–Mr. Winkle reminds the club members that “[t]his is a ladies’ club, and we wish to be private and proper” (90). Despite these objections, Laurie is voted in as “Sam Weller” once Jo, as Mr. Snodgrass, draws attention to all the ways the members of the Pickwick Club have benefited from the Laurences’ wealth and position: “We can do so little for him, and he does so much for us, I think the best we can do is to offer him a place here, and make him welcome, if he comes” (90). The martin house post office Laurie provides becomes the site…

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