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 Louisa May Alcott and "Little Women": 
Biography, Critique, Publications, Poems, Songs, and Contemporary Relevance

Though I'd not written a biography before, Louisa May Alcott's life called out to me to be book cover - Alcottwritten. But I wanted something that would go beyond a chronological story of her life - and I didn't want to "imagine" things she did - nor did I want to impose any unsubstantiated "psychological insight "onto the text. I was determined to stay only with known facts. Fortunately, her journals had been published many years before, so I was able to incorporate her own words into the narrative, thus staying true to reality.

The history of her most famous book, Little Women, seemed to beg for a special treatment, aside from Louisa's life. Though the book has withstood time since it's first publication in 1968 and 1969 (in two parts, at first), it's literary history is fraught with ups and downs. One early unknown critic panned the book as being "not religious," - that the family was never shown going to church - and said it should not be read on a Sunday, though declared it "harmless."  This about a book that opens with the poor March family giving away their holiday breakfast to a poorer family!  The success of the book was instantaneous and long-lived. In the early days of the women's movement, some denounced the book as being too domestic. What? If ever there was a born feminist, it was Jo March, Louisa's alter ego. Her feistiness and independence were what made her, from 1868 to current times, the character with whom most readers identified.

With a lot of research, I was able to find both positive and negative reviews to quote, and then added a section about contemporary relevance, with comments by friends, teachers, librarians, writers, and Joan Bennett, film actress who had played the role of Amy March in an early film of Little Women.

I even found lyrics Louisa had written to then extant songs, tracked down the music, and was able to include the first publication of these works of hers with both lyrics and music.

Little Women has never been out of print since it's first publication - and numerous movies have been made of it. The first time I saw andheard a British production, it was so odd to hear the little women talking with British accents. There was even a Japanese cartoon.

Writing my Louisa May Alcott book was a rewarding experience; I'm happy with it. I'm content with it. She was an amazing woman. Following is what I wrote at the end of the biographical section of the book:

"Louisa May Alcott--as a girl, as a young lady, and as a mature woman--had many dreams. By the time of her death, she had attained financial success, achieved independence, and was accorded fame.

"She was a loving and devoted daughter, sister, aunt, and family supporter. She filled many roles as seamstress, housemaid, teacher, army nurse, traveling-companion, amateur actress and monologist, fledgling writer, and finally as professional author.

"As a humanist, she actively participated, in her century, as an abolitionist, suffragist, and feminist.

"Her Spirit could go to its final rest in peace, for her life had ":heart" and "meaning."

"In her books, she touched a wellspring of human understanding that spanned the centuries. One thing she gained was something she never dreamed of--Louisa My Alcott achieved immortality."

EXCERPT:  Louisa May Alcott and "Little Women"

Louisa May Alcott and "Little Women" etc." was first published by McFarland Publishers in 1990. 
In 2000, they let it go out of print, but it was immediately picked up in 2001 by the Authors Guild Back-in-Print Books, published through iUniverse. 
Paperback; available on the internet at all major online book dealers.

A limited number of first editions are available:
hardcover, 6" x 9", 350 pp., acid-free-paper, autographed.
inquire about book

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