A trivia backstory: how is it that Catholic holy cards show up in Louisa’s stories?

While researching my biography on Elizabeth Alcott, I did a very careful re-read of Little Women using Daniel Shealy's excellent annotated edition. In the course of my reading I found many interesting little details. One of them involved the poem in Chapter 46 which brought Professor Bhaer to Jo's side. Called "In the Garret," a …

Gossip from overseas: stories from “Little Women Abroad” by those mapcap Alcott sisters

I am pleased to present this guest post by Elizabeth Hilprecht, a regular reader whose insightful comments you have most likely read. We have been having a wonderful email chat back and forth about Daniel Shealy's Little Women Abroad and I asked her if she would share some of the wonderful stories taken from letters …

Coming attractions for 2017 (and a summing up of 2016)

Abby May Alcott's diaries from 1852 and 1863 -- getting to know the real Amy March. May Alcott Nieriker's delightful foray into writing -- mentoring other women artists Jack and Jill, using Concord, MA as the backdrop. It's time to finish the Little Women trilogy. AND, a big reveal regarding ... ... hopefully by the …

“Diana and Persis” – compelling, revealing, biographical, and thus, tragically incomplete

By the 1870s, Louisa May Alcott and her baby sister May had become close companions. Although quite different in temperament, both shared that burning ambition to become the artists they were meant to be – Louisa as a best-selling author, and May as an acclaimed painter, exhibiting at the Paris Salon. Unearthing a treasure In the …

Origin of the P.C. and the P.O. from Little Women — it started earlier than you think.

Research has a way of taking you places you never thought to go. I recently rereaded a 1937 biography of Louisa May Alcott by Katherine Anthony (of which I will write about in a future post) and started to wonder why so much came out about the Alcott family that year. An era of the …

Louisa May Alcott is My Passion: The Podcast! Episode Two: Wrap-up of the 2016 Summer Conversational Series

"It's amazing how lovely common things become, if one only knows how to look at them." (from "Marjorie's Three Gifts," 1877) Welcome to the second episode of Louisa May Alcott is My Passion: The Podcast! During the next thirty six minutes I will give you an overview of the recent Summer Conversational Series, "'Finding Beauty …

Those unconventional Alcotts left behind quite the mark

The Alcotts were an atypical Victorian family to be sure. Along with rather unconventional philosophic and religious ideas as to how to live, the family did not subscribe to typical Victorian role models. Role reversal To begin with, Bronson’s refusal or inability to work to support his family necessitated that his wife Abba take on …

Louisa May Alcott was not the only Alcott working off sexual energy

From Women and Health in America (first edition) there is this intriguing essay titled "What Ought to Be and What Was: Women’s Sexuality in the Nineteenth Century" by Carl N. Degler. Quoting Dr Charles Taylor, 1882— “It is not a matter of indifference whether a woman live a single or a married life … I …

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 …

Fiction or non-fiction? How should I tell the story of Lizzie?

Note: Although I had promised a series of posts on women's health in the nineteenth century, I need to postpone those posts until I clear up a problem with citing an important source. Stay tuned! In the meantime, I thought I would share this with you. * * * * * * * * * …

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