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Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women: Transcendentalism

Berry's Got Louisa!

TRANSCENDENTALISM IN THE SOUTH

TRANSCENDENTAL WILD OATS

"Each member is to perform the work for which experience, strength, and taste best fit him," continued Dictator Lion. "Thus drudgery and disorder will be avoided and harmony prevail. We shall rise at dawn, begin the day by bathing, followed by music, and then a chaste repast of fruit and bread. Each one finds congeniFruitlandsal occupation till the meridian meal; when some deep-searching conversation gives rest to the body and development to the mind. Healthful labor again engages us till the last meal, when we assemble in social communion, prolonged till sunset, when we retire to sweet repose, ready for the next day`s activity.

"What part of the work do you incline to yourself!" asked Sister Hope, with a humorous glimmer in her keen eyes.

"I shall wait till it is made clear to me. Being in preference to doing is the great aim, and this comes to us rather by a resigned willingness than a wilful activity, which is a check to all divine growth," responded Brother Timon.

"I thought so. And Mrs. Lamb sighed audibly, for during the year he had spent in her family Brother Timon had so faithfully carried out his idea of "being, not doing," that she had found his "divine growth" both an expensive and unsatisfactory process.

Here her husband struck into the conversation, his face shining with the light and joy of the splendid dreams and high ideals hovering before him.

Transcendental Wild Oats: A Chapter from an Unwritten Romance is Louisa May Alcott's satire about her family's involvement with the Transcendentalist community Fruitlands  in the early 1840s. She portrays the father figure as a dreamer and intellectual, and the mother as the one who has to do all the work to meet worldly needs such as food and shelter.

Read Transcendental Wild Oats online at:

Photograph of Fruitlands courtesy of Fruitlands Museum

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