Greta Gerwig’s Little Women: Will Amy March finally catch a break?

Smithsonian.com thinks so. Writer Erin Blakemore presents her hopes that Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Little Women will finally present a well-rounded and fair portrayal of the most maligned of the March sisters by borrowing from the rich life of May Alcott Nieriker. The New ‘Little Women’ May Finally Do Justice to Its Most Controversial Character …

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“Let the World Know You Are Alive”: May Alcott Nieriker and Louisa May Alcott Confront Nineteenth-Century Ideas about Women’s Genius

I am pleased to share with you a wonderful essay about the professional lives of Louisa  May Alcott and May Alcott Nieriker written by Lauren Hehmeyer, a professor of History and English at Texarkana College. Professor Hehmeyer presented at the May Alcott conference in Paris in June of 2018 (see previous post) and is currently …

Meet the artist to whom May Alcott acted as mentor: Daniel Chester French

Before May Alcott left for Europe to study and become a professional artist, she gave lessons from a studio at Orchard House which her father Bronson made for her. A student of hers created one of the most iconic pieces of sculpture in America: One of his first commissioned works is in Concord: That artist …

A fresh examination of May Alcott Nieriker: Did Genius Burn?

I am pleased to present  a most interesting and insightful essay on May Alcott Nieriker by Azelina  Flint, an Alcott scholar from Great Britain who organized a conference in Paris last year called "Recovering May Alcott Nieriker's Life and Work." It begins with an intriguing letter written by May to her father, Bronson when she …

Chapter XVIIII. Amy’s Will

from the LW 150 blog: “Amy’s Will” – very interesting account of Amy’s Catholic moment.

Little Women 150

By Monika Elbert

I am interested in Catholicism and the rosary’s presence within this very New England novel. In “Amy’s Will,” the Gothic momentarily intrudes in Aunt March’s household, where poor Amy is a captive slave in her role as attendant to the old woman. Aunt March’s maid, Esther, the “French woman” who is forced to change her name from the more Frenchified “Estelle”—“on condition that she was never asked to change her religion”—brings a sense of exoticism with “odd stories of her life in France” (192) and with her Catholic customs. Amy goes through Aunt March’s treasure trove of jewelry and chances upon a rosary, which she mistakes for a fine piece of jewelry. Indeed, it is the piece she most desires: she looks “with great admiration at a string of gold and ebony beads, from which hung a heavy cross of the same” (193). Esther concedes that she “covets” it as well…

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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 …

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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