Summer Conversational Series 2017 at Orchard House wrap-up

As promised, here is a summary of the Summer Conversational Series presented between July 16 and the 20th. The theme this year is “‘Noble Companions and Immortable Labors'” the Alcotts, Thoreaus, and the Quest for Social Justice.”

Lis Adams, Education Director of Orchard House

I was only able to attend two sessions, on Tuesday and Wednesday. At the end of this post is a link to my notes from the presentations. Unfortunately my evil tablet did not properly save my notes from Wednesday so I only have notes from the first presentation of that day. I tried to summarize the other two and provided links for further information.

Jan Turnquist, Executive Director of Orchard House, could not be with us this year as she is in Ireland acting as consultant to the new BBC Little Women series. Education Director Lis Adams did a wonderful job of running the series and introduced the speakers.

On Tuesday the presentations included:

Dr. Cathlin Davis

Cathlin Davis “From Story to Action: Social Justice in Louisa May Alcott’s Fiction”
Dr. Davis is the leading expert on Louisa’s juvenile tales. She led us through a series of stories that outlined Louisa’s approach to social justice, an approach which is just as timely today as illustrated through an organization she highlighted, The Heifer Project.

Gabrielle Donnelly, author of The Little Women Letters

Gabrielle Donnelly “Bread, Roses, and One-Liners:
Jokes and Feminism from Louisa May Alcott to Tina Fey”

Ms. Donnelly’s presentation was thought-provoking as well as humerous as she linked together feminism and humor (just as Louisa did; she cited an example of Jo March in Little Women). What made the presentation particularly interesting was the fact that one of the attendees is a standup comedienne who performed for many years in Las Vegas with headlines such as Wayne Newton. She provided many colorful stories.

Gabrielle based on her presentation on a song called “Bread and Roses” (she asked me to sing the song and I gladly complied). Here is a video of the song from the movie, “Pride:”

Jane Sciacca and Michelle Blees

Michelle Blees and Jane Sciacca “The Alcotts at Hillside: Their Beliefs and Actions”
Michelle and Jane are tour guides for the Minuteman National Park Service at The Wayside (known as Hillside when the Alcotts lived there). They gave a fascinating account of the history of The Wayside with its storied authors, and its link to the National Underground Railroad. These are photos of the displays — just click on the thumbnail to see the larger photo.

On Wednesday the presentations included:

Jason Giannetti

Jason Giannetti “Concord’s Transcendental Conscientious Objector”
Mr. Gianetti discussed the activism of famous Transcendentalists such as Henry David  Thoreau and Bronson Alcott. He called on us to be today’s Transcendental Conscientious Objectors which sparked a lengthy, spirited conversation which Bronson would have approved of wholeheartedly.

NOTE: the following two presentations are the ones where my notes were sadly lost. I did include a summary in the notes available at the end of this post.

Dr. Kristina West

Kristina West “Growing Tomorrow: A Transcendental Education”
Dr.  West hails from London and lives right across the way from the original location of Alcott House in Ham. She described the teaching techniques of Henry David Thoreau and Bronson Alcott which so endeared them to children. She then highlighted Louisa’s contribution.

Jennifer Schünemann “Save the Mother, Save the Child:
The Pandemic Exploitation of Women and Its Effect on the World.”

Jennifer Schünemann of Durga Tree International

Ms. Schünemann heads the New England chapter of Durga Tree International, an organization working tirelessly to help victims of human trafficking. This presentation was quite sobering but Ms. Schünemann was able to provide hope and answers beginning with how we behave as consumers, making sure we are more conscious of who actually makes our products and how they are treated. My notes contain website information so you can find out more and even become involved. This is a program I would highly recommend.

Here are my notes from the series that you can download. Summer Conversational Series 2017 Tuesday

As always, such a joy to attend! I’ve made many wonderful friends through this series and agree wholeheartedly that each year it is like going to summer camp!

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Coming soon to an iTunes near you–Louisa May Alcott is Our Passion Podcast!

  • Interesting in hearing readings from Louisa May Alcott’s works?
  • Fascinated by the family letters?
  • Want to hear about fascinating books regarding the Alcotts, both old and new?
  • Do you want to learn more from leading Alcott scholars, authors and experts?
  • How about a discussion among fans?
  • How about Louisa herself?

header with textThis and more will be featured in a new monthly podcast named after this blog, “Louisa May Alcott is My Passion.” Each episode will be around 30 minutes in length and will be available through on this site as well as iTunes, Tunein and Stitcher.

Our first episode will focus on the upcoming Summer Conversational Series at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House; I will be interviewing Orchard House’s Education Director, Lis Adams.

summer conversational series logo

Visits from Louisa

I can also promise you a visit from “Louisa” herself in the guise of Executive Director Jan Turnquist. Jan performed in my old home town of Westborough, MA recently and she graciously allowed me to record her entire one hour performance (which was wonderful, by the way, really engrossing). This way we can have sage words from our favorite author for several podcasts to come. I wanted to give a big “shout-out” to Westborough Cable TV for their assistance. They were originally going to videotape the performance but could not due to illness yet they still loaned me (a resident of next-door Grafton) the equipment necessary to get a clean recording. That was downright generous of them and I am thankful to Karen Henderson and the crew for their help.

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Chats with experts

I can promise too lots of interesting interviews with experts and scholars as many will attend the Conversational Series and I can grab them for a quick chat.

You can participate too!

The podcast will also be open for you to participate. I will be accepting audio feedback that will be played on the next podcast. I am also hoping that in the future I can feature group discussions with two or three people together (have to figure out the technology for that). Scholars, teachers and fans alike will be most welcome.

I am hoping to have the first episode ready for mid June if all goes well. I’ll keep you in the loop. There will also be information on how to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode.

We’re stoking the Alcott flame! (as John Matteson is fond of saying :-))

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Keep up with news and free giveaways
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Summer Conversational Series taking place this week

The Summer Conversational Series is taking place all this week at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House. The theme is “Heaven in the Mind:” The Spirit of Place in Transcendental Concord. I will be going to the Tuesday and Wednesday sessions.

3schoolpath

I believe registration is still open–here is information on topics and who is presenting (scroll down a bit to see).

Last year I was remiss in not sharing all that I learned at the series because frankly, I was awash in notes! It occurred to me that all I really need to do is summarize and make my notes available to you for download. That is what I will be doing this year so that you will not miss out.

A call out to those of you attending:

If you are taking notes, could you please share them with me so I can, in turn, share them with all of you? I would love to have all the days covered. Write to me at louisamayalcottismypassion@gmail.com.

Notes from 2014

Rose_Peckham_-_Abigail_May_Alcott_Nieriker_(d._1879)I include here all of last year’s notes for your perusal–Notes from Summer Conversational Series 2014. These include notes from other participants who graciously sent their notes to me. One of my favorite presentations which I wish I had written about was Anne-Laure Francois’ excellent talk on May Alcott–now you can see for yourself.

This is my fourth year attending the series; it is the highlight of my summer. Getting together with Alcott friends is the best!

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If it’s summer it must be Alcott! Join the annual reading challenge hosted by “In the Bookcase” and “Louisa May Alcott is My Passion”

512 louisa writing in the appletreeSummertime and Louisa May Alcott–the two go hand-in-hand for me. Life slows down, opening up space for much-needed reading. And the annual Summer Conversational Series begins next month at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House (click here for details and to register).

What better way to kick of a Louisa May Alcott summer than to participate in the
Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge,
hosted by the the blogs
In the Bookcase and me,
Louisa May Alcott is My Passion.

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge ... JUNE 2015

I was most honored to be asked by In the Bookcase to co-host this wonderful challenge which takes place annually in June.

Read it, talk about it among friends

my booksAs well acquainted as most of you are with Louisa’s extensive canon, is there still some book, short story or biography you’ve been dying to read (or re-read)? Here’s a great time to read that book and talk about it too with all of us!

Here’s how to take part in the June reading challenge:

  • Compile your list of Louisa May Alcott books that you would like to read, finish reading, or maybe re-read during June. Even books about L.M.A. are welcome—biographies, fictionalized accounts of her life, etc. Your goal could be 1 book, 5 books, or short stories. To supply more options, you may decide to download audio book or e-books. My Growing Library offers many suggestions; if you click on Her Writing in the main menu, you will find my commentaries on books I’ve read so far.
  • Write a blog or social media post explaing all about the books you want to read for this challenge. Grab the code for the challenge button and include it in your post.
  • Link up below! Every time you share an update or, say, a book review, add it to our ongoing linky. I’ll be stopping by to see your progress! The linky is the main headquarters of this reading challenge, so that the other participants can follow everyone’s progress just by taking a look at the list of all the posts.
  • Next step: Start reading the books on your list! The challenge starts now and goes through August 10th. (You may begin reading at any point within this timeline. You don’t even have to start in May or June at all—the choice of when to do this is completely up to you.)
  • Browse through the other participants’ blog posts, to see what everyone else is reading, and be sure to leave comments when you can. The only thing better than enjoying a good book, is enjoying it with like-minded friends!
  • Finally, when you have reached your goal, or by the time the challenge is ending: Tell us about what you accomplished over the course of the challenge. Include any closing thoughts, or what you think of Louisa May Alcott now that you’ve read more of her works, etc. We’ll be very pleased to hear about what you think at the end of this challenge!

Put this button on your blog
to let everyone know about the challenge:

Calendar of Events

Be sure and check in with In the Bookcase every Friday in June — There will be some interesting tidbits about our favorite author! There will be bonus posts (like book reviews) on other days too, which you won’t want to miss.

  • June 1st ::: Start date. Get to reading!
  • June 2nd ::: My book list for the challenge
  • June 5th ::: Special giveaway!
  • June 11th ::: LMA’s writings
  • June 12th ::: Trivia and resources
  • June 19th ::: Challenge checkup point
  • June 26th ::: Unique gift ideas
  • June 30th ::: End date. Final overview and link-up!

Along with In the Bookcase, I will announce my choices for the challenge on June 2nd along with other special posts.

There is also a discussion group on Goodreads.

So come on, join the challenge!

louisa readingVisit the Challenge Page on In the Bookcase, scroll to the bottom and submit your Louisa May Alcott blog or social media posts on the linky.

Any and ALL of your posts about Miss Alcott are welcome. If you decide to share a favorite quote, a book review, or any other thoughts, link up and take a look at some of the other participants’ posts.

Thank you for joining us!

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Summer Conversational Series 2014 Tuesday Sessions: the visuals of Little Women and a lost fantasy

My thanks to Kristi Martin for taking notes and providing pictures for these sessions. Tuesday, July 15 featured Beverly Lyons Clark, Lauren Rizzuto and Kyoko Amano.

Disclaimer: Since I was not there to hear the presentations, I am inserting my interpretation of the notes. Hopefully they are accurate!

Beverly Lyons Clark “The Vortex or the House? Visualizing Jo’s Genius”

the afterlife of little womenBeverly Clark is a Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. Her previous work on Alcott includes co-editing Little Women and the Feminist Imagination and editing Louisa May Alcott: The Contemporary Reviews. Her latest work, The Afterlife of Little Women, will be forthcoming later this year. This book is available on Amazon for pre-sale. (Biography provided by Orchard House).

Clark’s presentation, “The Vortex or the House? Visualizing Jo’s Genius” was illustrated by a vast array of images which were passed around to the audience, thus hampering our note-taker’s efforts to capture some of the presentation. Understandable. 🙂

560 beverly clarkClark discussed the idea of genius as divinely inspired, fitting into the newer idea of genius as something working in collaboration with the Creator. Transcendentalism promoted the idea of the solitary genius, something we see illustrated with Jo March in the garret writing away with her pet rat at her heel. Clark saw the vortex as the space in which Jo (and Louisa) could write. These and other romantic tropes such as genius as a type of possession were discussed.

Clark offered up the idea of genius working through community. This is certainly evident in the Alcott household where the sharing of journals was commonplace. Raised on that kind of openness, Louisa often shared her writings with her family, most notably her first novel Moods which she dubbed her “first child,” a work she literally poured herself into through a lengthy vortex.

Clark passed around illustrations from Little Women showed many different aspects of Louisa’s genius of the story, along with the viewpoint of the illustrators themselves. May Alcott’s drawings were not always accurate (and not just because of her lack of skill in proportion and anatomy at the time); Clark maintained that she rewrote the story or at least not always in unity with it. Curiously there are no drawings of Jo writing.

Hammatt Billings’ illustrations evoke the disarray of the vortex while Frank Merrill’s convey humor and drama. Louisa felt they lacked in expression.

There were different front pieces to the book, sometimes the sisters with Marmee, other times without. The theme, however, was the same: family connectedness and the glorification of domesticity. It was hard to tell if the house images were generic or were based upon Orchard House.

Finally, Clark examined photographs of Louisa, noting that the side views gestured toward the genius. What do you think?

Lauren Rizzuto “Illustrating Artists, Louisa, May, Jo and Amy”

Lauren Rizzuto currently teaches part-time at Simmons College, where in 2012 she earned the MA degree in Children’s Literature. Her presentation for this year’s Conversational Series grows from her earlier research, in which she explored how Little Women negotiates the expectations of two literary genres: the künstlerroman and the sentimental novel. Currently, Lauren is working on a new piece of scholarship — Alcott in the fan fiction domain — which will appear in an edited collection for Salem Press’ Critical Insights series of 2014. (Biography from Orchard House)

560 Lauren RizzutoRizzuto also looked at the illustrating of Little Women. The 1868 frontpiece shows the familial intimacy of the mothers and daughters tethered together (physically touching). A 1962 edition has Amy apart, and reaching out as if drawing or painting the others. This highlighted Amy (rather than Jo) as the artist and was connected to the art of illustrating.

Jo and Amy were compared as artists, judging success by how much the artist was able to exceed her gender role and help support the family. Jo was deemed the more successful as shown in two successive chapters: Amy casts her foot in plaster; Jo’s vortex produces a story. In the end the story wins a monetary reward, which is then helpful to the family. While the family is integral to artistic expression, success in the end depends upon financial reward.

It has been argued however that Amy was more subversive than Jo and the better artist because she did not need parental approval not the stamp of legitimacy that financial gain brings. She has autonomy and artistic independence.

During the question and answer period Rizzuto defended the value of sentimentality as a valid artistic form, citing Hospital Sketches as the example, demonstrating the power of the story because of sentiment. Since sentiment is usually dismissed in proper literary critique, this was an interesting defense.

Kyoko Amano “Creative and Marketing Genius of Louisa May Alcott: From Jamie’s Wonder Book to Will’s Wonder Book”

Kyoko Amano serves as Chair of the English Department at the University of Indianapolis. Her areas of specialization include Louisa May Alcott and her contemporary, Horatio Alger, Jr. Kyoko lives in Greencastle, IN, with her husband and dog. (Biography provided by Orchard House)

560 kyoto anamoAmano used her presentation to compare the never-published Jamie’s Wonder Book (manuscript at Houghton Library) to Will’s Wonder Book. The former was lost by William Ticknor  in 1864; it was found in 1868 and returned to Louisa at her request. She began copying her manuscripts after Jamie’s Wonder Book was lost.

To better understand the systemic change that Louisa brought to children’s literature, Amano covered the history of Nathanial Hawthorne juvenile works; he was more interested in fantasy and Gothic than in the conventions of didactic children’s literature (though he ghost wrote for Peter Parley). Hawthorne is considered the “father of the American Literary Fairytale.” Eustice Bright narrated stories to children. Louisa uses the authentic voice of children to allow for direct interaction with the reader. It was a remarkable breakthrough demonstrated by the amazing number of books sold, especially to young readers.

Both Jamie’s Wonder Book and Will’s Wonder Book tells different versions of  an ant story. In Jamie it is fanciful with the ant relating its story to the child. In Will the Grandmother tells about the ants in scientific detail. Amano believes that had Jamie’s Wonder Book been published, it might have been the work that transformed children’s literature.

Jamie was written when Louisa was twenty-eight, soon after Flower Fables. It was a more innocent time before Louisa began writing in a more realistic voice. The fancy that she exhibited in Jamie and in Flower Fables would continue in her children’s short stories but perhaps lose some of its shimmer because of a woman chastened by the hardships of adulthood and the duty applied to writing children’s literature. Louisa was often conflicted between the money that children’s literature brought in versus the desire to write her great American adult novel.

Coming up …

Regrettably, I do not have any coverage of the Wednesday sessions but I did attend the sessions on Thursday. That post (or series of posts) will come during this week.

One of the Tuesday presenters, Kristi Martin, graciously sent me a copy of her paper which contains some wonderful new insights on both Elizabeth and May Alcott.  Those series of posts will appear after the Thursday sessions.

So, there is a lot more yet to come! Stay tuned …
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Summer Conversational Series 2014 – “Navigating the Vortex: Creative Genius in the Time of the Alcotts” – the role of Faust

560 steve burby1Continuing with the Monday sessions, Dr. Stephen Burby was a new face on the scene. He currently teaches English in Brentwood, NY and has authored of AP English Language and Composition: An Apex Learning Guide (2004 and 2005 editions) as well as contributing to the production of editions in Barron’s No-Fear Shakespeare series and to their latest edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

Faust, Goethe and Louisa

His topic, “Goethe and the Transcendendalists: How Faust Shaped the American Renaissance” traced the history of the Faust myth from its beginnings and through its evolution by the pens of Christopher Marlow, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and finally, Louisa May Alcott.

The myth, the man, the devil

faust and the devilThrough the characters of Johann Faust and the Devil (aka Mephistopheles), the myth began as a folk tale that was used by the Church (mainly the Calvinists) to warn the faithful against the intellectuals and the idea of the individual which could lead anyone into hell. Aimed at the working man, Burby described how the people wanted a “quick laugh”, a “quick tear” and the didactic lesson. In other words, keep it simple. Faust therefore represented the everyman; his fate could be anyone’s fate.

The story

So what did Faust do? Desiring youth and wealth, he sold his soul to the devil in return for twenty-seven years of youth and the “good life.” In the end the devil would have his way with Faust torn to shreds and his soul carted away to hell.

Not exactly subtle, but it served the particular historical period from which it came.

Deeper meaning

560 steve burby2Burby maintains that Faust speaks to us universally which is why the tale was explored more deeply and expanded, first by Christopher Marlowe and then by Goethe.

Marlowe’s take

Marlowe changed the legend in a subtle way by exploring the inner turmoil of Faust who comes to regret his bargain with the devil. The ending remained the same but the torture of Faust was more profound.

Goethe deepens the myth

Goethe took the story a step further. Burby suggested that Goethe was one of the “rock stars” of the era because of his poetry. By the time he took on Faust, it had lived out its usefulness and was often viewed as parody. By using Faust as the jumping off point, he transformed the legend using Faust and the devil as metaphors for striving versus stasis. Goethe not only has Faust repenting of his sin of bargaining with the devil, he also allows Faust to escape his fate. His point was to promote the idea that striving for knowledge, both for the mind and of the self, was important. Stasis was considered “evil” because of its prevention of indivdiual growth and creativity. This was the emerging German romanticism which eventually made its way over to New England, spawning the Transcendentalist movement.

Faust’s salvation and God’s role

Burby described the eternal feminine in the character of Gretchen whom Faust was madly in love with. It is through Gretchen that Faust finds his salvation. Burby also mentioned the comparison between this version of the legend and the story of Job in the Old Testament. In both cases, God makes a deal with the devil regarding the victim. God puts his stamp of approval on both Job and Faust thus justifying the need for struggle and striving.

Thus the legend of Faust has moved from concrete to the symbolic. What did Louisa do with the story?

A pleasure to indulge

Louisa enjoyed writing her “trash,” her potboilers, giving her a chance to express a side of herself she could not express in public. It was a creative vent for her passion, anger, sense of injustice, and for romance.

Two stories based on the myth

long fatal love chase2She devoted two books to the subject of Faust: A Long, Fatal Love-Chase and A Modern Mephistopheles. In each case she wrote about Faustian bargain more explicitly. The latter was discovered in the 1990s and published to great success; the story had been considered too risqué in Louisa’s time. In the story, Rosamond makes a deal with the devil for a year of adventure and Phillip Tempest comes along. When she realizes she cannot save him, she seeks to escape him. The novel turns from the legend to a gothic chase in which the heroine dies in the end. Phillip however suffers the harsher fate knowing he will never be reunited with his lover again.

The most lurid of them all

a modern mephistophelesA Modern Mephistopheles was published anonymously as part of a series in 1877, allowing Louisa to indulge in the lurid which she so enjoyed. The story deals with lust, deception and greed, touching on the controversial with references to sexuality and drug use, the deal is made between the starving poet Felix Canaris and the devil, Jaspar Hellwyze. The poet becomes celebrated and then lives a desolute life. It turns out he never wrote the poetry in the first place so he takes his name off the volume to free himself. The devil falls in love with the poet’s wife Gladys and feels remorse over the havoc he caused.

How much of Louisa was in the story?

Burby posed an interesting question: could A Modern Mephistopheles be about Louisa and her art? Do each of the four central characters represent parts of her whole?

As masculinity was thought to have created evil, it was also believed that it needed to be tempered by the eternal feminine. Louisa, being “masculine” in her thinking, often longing to be a boy, was right in the middle of this conflict. Her father complicated matters by exhibiting more feminine traits than his daughter. While I haven’t read A Modern Mephistopheles it would be interesting to approach it with this thought in mind.

Needless to say, Dr. Burby challenged all of us with his excellent and spirited presentation.

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Summer Conversational Series 2014 – “Navigating the Vortex: Creative Genius in the Time of the Alcotts” – Is it Talent or Genius?

Jan Turnquist, Executive Director, introducing the speaker.

Jan Turnquist, Executive Director, introducing the speaker.

I am grateful to be able to attend again the annual Summer Conversational Series at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House this year. The theme concerns talent versus genius, and the abundance of genius that existed in Concord, Massachusetts in the 19th century.

I was not able to take in all five days of the series but I will present the speakers that I was fortunate enough to see.

Was Louisa a genius?

Was Louisa May Alcott a genius or merely a crackerjack professional writer? Was she both? These questions and more were explored during Monday’s session.

Cathlin Davis, Ph.D

560 cathlin1

Cathlin Davis, Ph.D on Talent versus Genius

The first speaker was a perennial favorite, Dr. Cathlin Davis, professor of Liberal Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. Dr. Davis probably knows Louisa’s juvenile canon better than anyone with a particular emphasis on her numerous short stories.

Louisa’s breakthrough work in children’s literature

Dr. Davis is passionate about elevating children’s literature to the level of respect it deserves by highlighting its most prominent authors. Dr. Davis maintained in her presentation “Is it Talent or Genius?” that Louisa’s unique genius was the ability to get inside the mind of the child and voice that child’s thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears. Before Louisa, children’s literature presented all-too-perfect children presenting moral teaching through stilted dialog. Dr. Davis compared a sample from Nathanial Hawthorne’s Tanglewood Tales of a twelve year old’s conversation (stiff, formal, full of long words and complex sentences) to Louisa’s An Old-Fashioned Girl featuring childish conversation laced with slang and grammatical errors; in other words, the way children of that era really talked.

Examples from Louisa’s stories

Dr. Davis spelled out the qualities of talent and of genius, displaying them on a poster (see photo). She then took several examples from Louisa’s books and short stories to illustrate. These included Amy and Laurie from Little Women, Rose, Charlie, Phoebe and Mac from Rose in Bloom, Psyche and her little sister from the short story “Pysche’s Art,” Clara from “A Bright Idea” (from Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag, Volume V), and Diana and Persis. As you can see from the photo, she listed who she thought had talent and who possessed genius.

560 talent versus genius

 

Louisa herself is on that list.

Louisa’s genius was her genuine love of children, her commitment to truthfulness and accuracy, and her passion. She respected children, never writing “down” to them. These qualities were instantly recognized by her adoring public with the first publication of volume one of Little Women.

Much to find in Louisa’s stories

Dr. Davis concluded that Louisa wrote extensively on the subjects of talent and genius. She remarked that preparing for this presentation, she realized that Rose in Bloom is not just about romance but about discovering one’s talent, determining whether or not it is genius, and using it to benefit others. While Louisa did often focus on the fine art talents of music, acting, dancing and painting, she also pointed out those talents which often go unnoticed – the talents for helping others which Rose displayed so well in the story.

True confession

rose in bloomI have a confession to make which has probably been obvious to you who read this blog regularly: I enjoy writing about Louisa more than writing about her books and stories. It is an odd disconnect, one that I am seeking to correct. Having listened to Dr. Davis’s presentation (and later having the pleasure of conversing with her over dinner), I have a better sense of what to look for when I read Louisa’s juvenile works. Dr. Davis is convinced that in spite of the infamous quote (which she is loath to use) of writing “moral pap for the young,” Louisa was in fact proud of her juvenile writing and poured herself into her writing.

You all of course have always known that. I felt that way about Little Women despite Louisa’s protestations about having to write it. Perhaps the author doth protest too much?

Needless to say, I have much catching up to do and a pleasant task it will be!

More to come …

In my next post I will present more about the other presenters in Monday’s session.

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