A blunt, controversial psychological study of Miss Alcott — Katharine Anthony’s 1937 biography

The 1930s was an interesting time in Alcott scholarship. The year 1932 marked the one hundredth year of Louisa’s birth. 1938 not only marked the 50th anniversary of Louisa and Bronson’s death but also the 70th anniversary of the publication of Little Women. Thus in 1937, two important biographies were released – Odell Shepherd’s Pedlar’s …

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“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 …

Where did Louisa May Alcott’s sexual energy go? And what fueled it?

Julian Hawthorne once speculated about Louisa May Alcott: “Did she ever have a love affair? We never knew; yet how could such a nature so imaginative, romantic, and passionate escape it?” Choosing the life of a spinster Louisa made the conscious decision to remain single, preferring to “paddle my own canoe.” Much has been made …

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. * * * …

Alcott Immersion Warning: the wondrous things that can happen when you study too much!

After four years of constant reading, study, writing and pondering on one family, I think I understand now how actors prepare for their roles, and the subsequent consequences of their immersion into their characters. Taking on the Louisa persona I'm acquainted with a couple of people (Jan Turnquist and Marianne Donnelly) who, as actresses, take …

Work: “Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor” – what could women do?

You’ve come of age and it’s time to strike out on your own. How do you feel? Excited? Fearful? Full of anticipation? Will it be a grand adventure or a dismal failure? In her mid-twenties, Louisa May Alcott was ready to strike out on her own, fueled by her obsessive desire to be a financial …

“Love your duty”

Continuing on with Marmee, the Mother of Little Women*by Sandford Meddick Salyer: Louisa bound to duty I think everyone can agree that Louisa May Alcott was a duty-bound woman. Duty motivated and justified her need to write for money (molding her into the professional that she was known and respected for). Duty bound her to …