A great gift for the little man or woman in your life: Little Women: 150th-Anniversary Annotated Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

There is always room for another annotated version of Little Women as seen by this beautiful version published by Penguin Classics.  Featuring a modern cover that ought to appeal to younger readers,  Little Women: 150th-Anniversary Annotated Edition is a physically appealing book; I was immediately attracted to it the moment I started  thumbing through the pages. …

Lecture by John Matteson for the 150th anniversary of Little Women

From the Concord Free Public Library: Engaging and informative lecture by Professor John Matteson for the Concord Festival of Authors, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the publication of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women! Be sure to check out the full lecture here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xwSshdEfWo

Chapter XIV. Secrets

From the LW150 blog: Lovely thoughts on growing up, from Chapter XIV, “Secrets.”

Little Women 150

By Jacinta Mioni

It was just another sweltering June afternoon in Kansas, the summer between my fifth and sixth grades, when I happened upon a shelf in my local public library dedicated to the works of Louisa May Alcott. The rest of that summer vacation was spent in the air conditioning, immersed in the lives of Alcott’s characters. Thirteen years later, you can imagine how my breathe quite literally caught in my throat when I saw the course listing for English 720 at K-State, a class dedicated solely to the creator of my childhood heroes and heroines, of whom I was particularly fond of the March sisters. Of course, I enrolled in the class immediately and I want to give you a little peek into our classroom and its many lively discussions.

A theme that has resurfaced several times in our consideration of Little Women, and one that fascinates…

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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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Chapter V. Being Neighborly

A lovely post about Jo’s first meetup with Laurie, and reminder to us all to be good neighbors.

Little Women 150

By Sarah Wadsworth

Looking through the clear plastic dust jacket of my childhood copy of Little Women is like peering through a window: behind the transparent “pane,” Marmee plays the piano while the girls joyously sing. Inside, a bookplate signed in my neatest thirteen-year-old hand takes me from the Marches’ parlor to my own family home. I turn the page and an inscription—”December 1976 / Merry Christmas Sarah”—calls to mind the kindness of the giver to a book-loving girl growing up, like Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, in a home defined by a father’s absence as well as a mother’s presence.

In “Being Neighborly,” kindness is key. The adjective “kind” appears four times, “kindly” three times, and “kinder” once. Kindness is made manifest in acts of thoughtful generosity, each one begetting reciprocal acts in kind. Eager to make friends, Jo arrives at the Laurence house bearing three kittens from Beth…

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Chapter IV. Burdens

From the new Little Women 150 blog reflecting each week on a chapter in Alcott’s classic, here is chapter four: Little Women 150 By Sandra Harbert Petrulionis The central concerns of “Burdens” may be character development and self-education, but within its domestic lessons, this chapter also foregrounds the inequities of Civil War- era America. It …

Chapter III. The Laurence Boy

From the new Little Women 150 blog reflecting each week on a chapter in Alcott’s classic, here is chapter three:

Little Women 150

We are going to experiment this week by offering two different perspectives on the same chapter, both by distinguished Alcott scholars. The ways they complement each other, intersect, and diverge are fascinating. Enjoy!

Take One

By Eve LaPlante

In the gender-bending world of Little Women, the Laurence boy plays an important role. A lovely, compassionate, accommodating young man with a girl’s name, Laurie serves as a mirror to our heroine, Jo, a daring and ambitious young woman with a “gentlemanly demeanor” and a male-sounding name. It’s clear from the start that Laurie and Jo are a pair, two cross-gendered friends who seem more typical of the modern era than a century and a half in the past.

It seems fair to ask – given that Jo and her sisters were inspired by the four Alcott girls and that no Alcott boy existed (much to the dismay of Louisa’s father, Bronson) –…

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Chapter II. A Merry Christmas

From the new Little Women 150 blog reflecting each week on a chapter in Alcott’s classic, here is chapter two:

Little Women 150

By Katherine Paterson

Of course I wanted to be Jo. There’s nothing unusual about that. Is there a single woman’s writer of my generation that didn’t identify with her? Meg was dutiful and a bit prim, Amy was self-centered and a flibberty-gibbit. And Beth, well, of course we cried when she died, but, honestly, just between us, wasn’t she a bit tediously angelic? But Jo! She actually did things.

I remember coming into the house one day after a bout of street football with the neighborhood boys. In the living room my mother was entertaining at tea. As I listened to the cacophony of soprano voices I was struck with a sudden horror. I might have to grow up and be a woman. And all they did was talk.

In addition to her Tomboy ways, Jo was a great reader, which I certainly was, and a writer, which I didn’t think…

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Chapter I. Playing Pilgrims

From the new Little Women 150 blog reflecting each week on a chapter in Alcott’s classic, here is chapter one:

Little Women 150

By Jan Turnquist

I love the opening lines of Little Women. “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” may not be on a list of “Best Opening Lines,” but it is on my personal list of favorites.  From the very start, this chapter offers a feeling of optimism and life even while introducing the four sisters in the midst of a difficult moment.   This first chapter, “Playing Pilgrims,” establishes the personalities of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy as refreshingly real and imperfect.  They tease and squabble as siblings do. But they are also warm companions in a home that is a safe refuge from a cold and dangerous world set against the backdrop of the Civil War.  Right from the beginning the reader can experience that Little Women is a story based on love.

My experience at Orchard House has blended inexorably with my experience of the book itself.  Because

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Come out on Sunday, Sept. 30th at Orchard House for the 150th Anniversary of Little Women! Book signing for “Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy”

It's coming up fast! In less than 2 months we will celebrate the anniversary of a classic; a book that has profoundly influenced women around the world since 1868. That book? Little Women of course! Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House is throwing a bash and you're invited - Sunday, September 30 from 1:30-4. Stay tuned …

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