Into the head and heart of Bronson Alcott: a most surprising and satisfying journey

The Journals of Bronson Alcott by Odell Shepard My rating: 5 of 5 stars I just finished reading The Journals of Bronson Alcott, edited by Odell Shepard. I was fascinated, stimulated and deeply moved. Let no one judge Bronson Alcott until they have done a thorough study of his life (which I have not yet …

On vacation with Louisa May Alcott: Day Two of the Summer Conversational Series – Louisa as a practicing Transcendentalist

Day Two of the Summer Conversational Series featured a fine array of speakers. Kristi Lynn Martin and Duty's Faithful Child Starting off the morning was Kristi Lynn Martin, a doctoral candidate at Boston University. Martin’s many years of experience as a tour guide at Concord’s finest historical homes (The Old Manse, “Bush” (aka the Emerson …

On vacation with Louisa May Alcott: Visiting the home of the master, Ralph Waldo Emerson

During my vacation this week I will be attending the Summer Conversational Series sponsored by Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House. The theme is "Chaos, Cosmos, and the Oversoul" The Influence of Transcendental Philosophy on the Life and Writing of Louisa May Alcott. Speakers include Gabrielle Donnelly (author of The Little Women Letters), Eve LaPlante (author …

Letter from an anguished mother: Abba writes of her sojourn with Lizzie to the North Shore

Work is progressing, albeit slowly, on my book project. I am enjoying all aspects of the process from the thinking and planning while I drive (I’m one of those crazies that talks to myself all the time), to the research, to the paragraphs percolating in my head, to the final writing. I’m falling more in …

From Alcott Memoirs: Bronson from the point of view of a grateful student

In his book, Alcott Memoirs, Dr. Frederick Llewellyn Hovey Willis spends much time describing the special relationship he shared with Bronson Alcott, and the profound effect Bronson had on Dr. Willis’ life. As a teenage boy, Willis spent many hours in conversation with Bronson and recorded some of these in his journal. Thus we have …

My 3 days with Louisa May Alcott (part four): connections between Louisa May Alcott and Margaret Fuller

Note: This post is longer than usual. I had considered running it in two installments but thought it would lessen the impact of its message by doing that. So sit back with a cup of coffee, relax and read. 🙂 Two ladies, same vision Two New England feminists, both heavily influenced by transcendentalism. Both in …

This question needs your input . . .

I got a fantastic question from Jillian, a good friend of this blog regarding Bronson and Louisa. I'd love your input: If Bronson Alcott was a follower of Transcendentalism (self-reliance), why does he scold Louisa May for filling her journal with thoughts of self?   I have my theory but I'd like to hear yours …

The rise, fall and redemption of Bronson Alcott, part 1 (reflections on Eden’s Outcasts)

Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson has to be one of the most elegant and thoughtful books I have ever read. Matteson is the first Alcott biographer who truly seems to understand the spiritual life and that insight produces a deeper and different view of Bronson Alcott. …

Book Review: “Becoming Little Women”

An experiment in a utopian community that only lasted seven months should have easily been forgotten in history, even if it included historically important people. Yet the fascination with Fruitlands continues as evidenced by Richard Francis' book, Fruitlands: The Alcott Family and Their Search for Utopia which came out this year. There is no doubt …

A clear introduction to Transcendentalism . . .

. . . and in only about 500 words! This is from the Spiritual Travels blog: The Hippies of Nineteenth-Century America Posted on August 19, 2011 by lori Spending time with Bronson Alcott yesterday made me realize that before moving forward we need to get a bit clearer on what that ten-dollar word “Transcendentalism” means. Spoiler alert: abstract …