Monday, February 2, 2015

Say Hello to Louisa May Alcott {High School Literature Curriculum Series}

{If you’re new here, you may want to start with my post Creating a High School Literature Curriculum ~ Post by Post and follow it up with Why Study the Classics of Literature? Affiliate links included.}

First up in our study is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Everyone say hello to Louisa! J



Louisa May Alcott, born on November 29, 1832, in Germantown, Pennsylvania, was the second of four girls born to Amos and May Alcott. She was born on her father’s birthday. As a girl, she knew Nathaniel Hawthorne, took walks with Henry David Thoreau, and perused Ralph Waldo Emerson’s library. Flower Fables, published in 1854 when Louisa was twenty-two, was actually written for Ellen, Emerson’s daughter.

Because her family was poor, she had many different careers, including servant. She wanted to be an actress and had everything lined up for her stage debut, except her friends discovered her plan and intervened to stop her. Louisa became a school teacher when she was sixteen years old. However, she didn’t like it and quit.



At her publisher’s request, Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women in May, June, and July in 1868, when she was thirty-five. {Can you imagine how fast she must have written, longhand, with pen and ink? I wonder if she had any rough drafts?} She based the Marchs’ house on her home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts.

Ten years later, her sister, May, married, and Louisa wrote Lulu's Library a few years later for May’s daughter, Louisa, aka Lulu.

Louisa wrote more than thirty books during her lifetime, including An Old-Fashioned Girl, Eight Cousins, Under the Lilacs, and Little Men. She never married, and she died on March 6, 1888, from a cold that settled in her brain and developed into spinal meningitis. She died two days after her father, to whom, up until her own sickness, she had been a loving nurse.

If you care to read more about Louisa May Alcott ~
The Literature Network
The New York Times


Enjoy Little Women, and next week I’ll post discussion questions.










Thirty books written longhand? Wow! Have you been to Orchard House? Read any other books by Louisa May Alcott?




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4 comments:

  1. I recently read Proverb Stories by Louisa May Alcott and a lengthy biography. I posted my thoughts on my blog: http://carolvanderwoudern.com/2015/01/louisa-may-alcott-a-feminist/

    She was an amazing writer and overcame many hardships.

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    1. I agree, Carol. She was a terrific writer, and I want to read so many more of her books! My 13yo absolutely adored Old-Fashioned Girl.

      I'll post here the same comment I left on your blog post. In my own study of Louisa May Alcott, I found that Wikipedia had labeled her a feminist. I hesitate to fix that label on her because she was so much in favor of home and family and morals, and I doubt she would agree with what we know of the feminist agenda today. That said, though, she and many of her time made great advances for women, including the right to vote and opportunities for education and employment. Thank you for a thought-provoking comment! :-)

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  2. I went to Orchard House on a college trip to the Northeast. It was beautiful. I loved visiting the homes and stomping grounds of authors. It really brings what you are reading alive!

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    1. Sounds like a terrific experience, Nathana. I haven't been that far East, but it's on my list. Thanks for confirming that it's worth the trip!

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I so much appreciate your time and effort in leaving a comment, and I try to respond to as many as time permits. :-)