What attracted Abigail May to Bronson Alcott? Beginning a book club discussion of “Marmee and Louisa” by Eve LaPlante

I am pleased to announce that we will be doing a book discussion in the coming weeks on Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and her Mother by Eve LaPlante. Each Thursday I will do a post on one chapter of the book, giving a brief reflection and offering discussion questions. …

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 …

Women’s health issues in Alcott’s time: Lizzie’s diagnosis and its repercussions

Research is addictive. It’s a lot like writing, taking you on a journey far beyond where you imagined you would go. Researching Elizabeth Alcott’s life is taking me on that unexpected journey. In the next few posts, I will take you there too, into the world of nineteenth century women’s health issues. Just a note …

Current most popular posts

A rare look at Louisa May Alcott’s life as an invalid and a patient What would you like to know about the woman behind Beth March? “Poppy’s Pranks” reveals the childhood of Louisa May Alcott Comparing the March sisters with their real life counterparts Major acquisition by the Concord Library of Louisa May Alcott working …

Don’t miss the special exhibit of rare artifacts at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

On Thursday I toured Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House. I was anxious to see the artifacts pictured in The Annotated Little Women, edited by John Matteson and took a vacation day to see them as November can get swallowed up in holiday preparations. If you live anywhere near Concord and can get to this exhibit, …

The Louisa May Alcott Society celebrates their tenth anniversary with a visit from “Louisa!”

On a cool and cloudy day a group of dedicated teachers, writers, academics and hard-core fans gathered together at ground zero to celebrate the love of an author who had, in one way or another, transformed their lives. Thus was the gathering of the Louisa May Alcott Society as we celebrated ten years as an …

Cynthia Barton’s Transcendental Wife on the life of Abigail Alcott a must read

Reading Eve LaPlante’s duo biography on Abigail and Louisa in Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother, I kept seeing references to a little-known book about Abigail titled Transcendental Wife by Cynthia Barton, published in 1996. Having just finished the book, I can see why LaPlante and other Alcott …

Book Review: Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother by Eve LaPlante

This is a book that is long overdue. Anyone who has read Little Women and felt the overarching presence of Marmee (and the lack of presence of Mr. March) has to know just how important Louisa's mother was to her. Marmee was based on a living, breathing woman who was far more complex (and interesting) …

Work: Marriage revisited – could there have been another reason why Louisa never married?

For someone who abhorred the idea of marriage for herself, Louisa May Alcott again and again paints a multi-layered, satisfying and mature picture of the institution. Raising an interesting question I wrote about this before, describing the first year of marriage between Meg and John Brooke in Little Women. I see it now in Work: …