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: …

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Work: Staring madness in the face

A ticking time bomb lay inside of Louisa May Alcott and she knew it. It went off with her father, her Uncle Junius, and eventually, herself. Her journals alluded to it. Her creativity was fueled by it. And chapter 5 of Work: A Story of Experience gives us a detailed look inside. Companion Having left the …

Work: “Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor” – what could women do?

You’ve come of age and it’s time to strike out on your own. How do you feel? Excited? Fearful? Full of anticipation? Will it be a grand adventure or a dismal failure? In her mid-twenties, Louisa May Alcott was ready to strike out on her own, fueled by her obsessive desire to be a financial …

Work: Louisa May Alcott writes about bucking the system

What was it like to be a nineteenth century woman who bucked the system? Suppose she didn’t want to marry right away but instead, preferred to seek independence and meaning through work? What if her world didn’t revolve around a man, but herself? How would she fare? Does the answer lie in Jo March? At …