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LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
Through her writing, Louisa May Alcott passionately expressed her views on many of her era’s
ideas for social reform, including women’s rights, racial integration, and
During her lifetime, she produced an enormous body of work, including sensational thrillers,
satires, fairy tales, Gothic novels, and works of domestic realism. Louisa May
Alcott amassed her fortune with the success of her novels for young
adult readers, helping her to prove that a woman could make a living as a
self-trained and professional writer.
Louisa May Alcott portrait by George Healy Courtesy of Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House/L. M. A. Memorial Association
BOOKS @ MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Bodily and narrative forms : the influence of medicine on American literature, 1845-1915 by
Call Number: PS217.M44 D38 2000
"'Where soul is termed sentiment': sentience and transcendence in the works of Louisa May Alcott, Harriot K. Hunt, and Margaret Fuller." Attempts to both reconstruct and examine the interplay between modern medical and literary ideas of embodiment. In terms of precise chronology and location, the book spans the period of orthodox medicine's professionalisation in the United States, from the founding of the American Medical Association in 1845 through to 1915, the latter historical moment marking the allopaths’ arrival as the dominant force in the American medical marketplace. Using a selective sample of the literary productions of this period, Davis asks how a small number of middle-class American authors grappled with these problems of changing notions of embodiment brought on by the increasing influence and authority of science in American medicine and society.
Disarming the nation: women's writing and the American Civil War by
Call Number: PS217.C58 Y68 1999
"A wound of one's own: Louisa May Alcott's body politic." Elizabeth Young shows that American women writers have been profoundly influenced by the Civil War and that, in turn, their works have contributed powerfully to conceptions of the war and its aftermath. Combining literary analysis, cultural history, and feminist theory, Disarming the Nation argues that the Civil War functioned in women's writings to connect female bodies with the body politic. Women writers used the idea of "civil war" as a metaphor to represent struggles between and within women—including struggles against the cultural prescriptions of "civility." At the same time, these writers also reimagined the nation itself, foregrounding women in their visions of America at war and in peace.
Gothic America : narrative, history, and nation by
Call Number: PS374 .G68 G63 1997
"(Un)veiling the marketplace : Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, and the female gothic." Teresa Goddu demonstrates that the American Gothic novel was, in often surprising ways, actively engaged with social, political, and cultural concerns of its time. Although social dislocations such as slavery or the massacre of Native Americans were repressed by our national consciousness, Goddu points out that these subjects were effectively incorporated by the gothic novel, articulated into an enduring national identity. Focusing on literature between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Gothic America traces the development of the genre as a whole and of several subgenres-the female gothic, the Southern gothic, and the African-American gothic. It is, finally, the African-American gothic that illuminates most clearly the link between frightening literature and a horror-filled social reality. Questioning basic assumptions about America's identity, Gothic America is a fresh examination of both a much-neglected genre of American literature and the complex historical circumstances that produced it.
In the arms of Morpheus by
Call Number: HV5816 .H554 2001
The shocking story of how a simple but bewitching substance, touted as a miracle drug, enslaved unwitting generations of 19th century writers, artists and ordinary citizens. Extracted from opium, the sap of the poppy, this popular drug was welcomed into the homes of rich and poor alike, in the guise of medicinal uses in the form of laudanum and opium elixirs, and as pure, undisguised morphine. Laudanum contained opium, saffron, cinnamon and alcohol. In the spirit of 19th century progress, other opium concoctions were created and a whole industry in quackery erupted. In the Arms of Morpheus examines how the drinking of laudanum for medical reasons developed and how it became an everyday safeguard against pain, poverty, and boredom. Opium eating was catapulted into fame by the confessions of Thomas De Quincy and insinuated itself into the lives and works of writers such as Louisa May Alcott, Lord Byron, Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Keats, the Brontës, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and many others. Thoroughly researched and copiously illustrated with photographs, engravings, advertisements, movie stills, pulp magazine and dime novel covers and paraphernalia.
Louisa May Alcott: her life, letters, and journals by
Compiled and edited in 1889 by Ednah Cheney, this book offers one of the first examinations of the life of Louisa May Alcott. Cheney intersperses the letters and journal entries with some biographical information.
Making girls into women : American women's writing and the rise of lesbian identity by
Call Number: PS228.L47 K46 2003
"'Trying all kinds': Louisa May Alcott's pedagogic erotics." Offers an account of the historical emergence of "the lesbian" by looking at late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century women's writing. Kent proposes that modern lesbian identity in the United States has its roots not just, or even primarily, in sexology and medical literature, but in white, middle-class women’s culture. She demonstrates how, as white women's culture shifted more and more from the home to the school, workplace, and boarding house, the boundaries between the public and private spheres began to dissolve. She shows how, within such spaces, women's culture, in attempting to mold girls into proper female citizens, ended up inciting in them other, less normative, desires and identifications, including ones Kent calls "protolesbian" or queer. Kent not only analyzes how texts represent queer erotics, but also theorizes how texts might produce them in readers. She describes the ways postbellum sentimental literature eroticizes, reacts against, and even, in its own efforts to shape girls’ selves, contributes to the production of queer female identifications and identities. Making Girls into Women ultimately reveals that modern lesbian identity marks an extension of, rather than a break from, nineteenth-century women’s culture.
Redefining the political novel: American women writers, 1797-1901 by
Call Number: PS374 .P6 R44 1995
"'So like women!': Louisa May Alcott's Work and the ideology of relations" by Mary Rigsby. While critical studies of the American political novel date from the 1920s, such considerations of the genre have failed, whether wittingly or unwittingly, to recognize works by women. The exclusion is usually based on a distinction between "social" novels and "political" novels, and the result is an understanding of the "political" as a largely male province. In this thought-provoking collection of essays, the contributors seek not simply to add works by women to the canon of political novels but, rather, to demand a conceptual revolution - one that questions the very precepts on which the canon is based. This redefinition of the political novel takes many factors into account, including gender, race, and class and their relation to our most basic conceptions of literary and aesthetic value.
She wields a pen : American women poets of the nineteenth century by
Call Number: PS589 .S48 1997
From the work of the prolific Lydia Sigourney Huntley, who enjoyed immense popularity in her own time,to that of the ant-slavery protester Sarah Moore Grimke, She Wields a Pen embraces a wealth of material which confirms the importance of writing by women in the development of a distinctive American literary tradition.Tackling social issues as well as private domestic concerns,the poets in this anthology chronicle the growth of a country caught up in a period of rapid change.
Somatic fictions : imagining illness in Victorian culture by
Call Number: PR878 .M42 V73 1995
Somatic Fictions focuses on the centrality of illness - particularly psychosomatic illness - as an imaginative construct in Victorian culture, emphasizing how it shaped the terms through which people perceived relationships between body and mind, self and other, private and public. The author uses nineteenth-century fiction, diaries, medical treatises, and health advice manuals to examine how Victorians tried to understand and control their world through a process of physiological and pathological definition. Tracing the concept of illness in the fiction of a variety of authors - Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Henry James, Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Meredith, Bram Stoker, and H. Rider Haggard - Vrettos explores the historical assumptions, patterns of perceptions, and structures of belief that invested sickness and health with cultural meaning.
The Alcotts : biography of a family by
Call Number: PS1013 .B4
Views Abby Alcott, a radical social thinker and feminist, and Bronson, her husband, as seminal figures who had an impact not only on their daughter, Louisa May, but also on the events and intellectual movements of the nineteenth century.
The child writer from Austen to Woolf by
Call Number: PR120.C55 C48 2005
"Louisa May Alcott's juvenilia" by Daniel Shealy. In this collection leading scholars address the largely overlooked genre of childhood writings by major authors, and explore the genesis of genius. The book includes essays on the first writings of Jane Austen, Byron, Elizabeth Barrett, Charlotte and Branwell Brontë, Louisa May Alcott, George Eliot, John Ruskin, Lewis Carroll and Virginia Woolf. All began writing for pleasure as children, and later developed their professional ambitions. In bursts of creative energy, these young authors, as well as those like Daisy Ashford, who wrote only as a child, produced prose, verse, imitation and parody, wild romance and down-to-earth daily records. Their juvenile writings are fascinating both in themselves, and for the promise of greater works to come. Includes a thorough annotated bibliography of juvenilia.
The political work of Northern women writers and the Civil War, 1850-1872 by
"Rowing against Wind and Tide: How Women Wrote. Wind and Tide: The Obstacles and Inspiration of Political Work. Nine Rowers. New England Daughters: Introducing Hamilton, Alcott, and Phelps." A far-reaching exploration of the social and political impact of women's writings before, during, and after the Civil War. Analyzing the work and lives of nine celebrated women writers, including Stowe, Sara Willis Parton, Rebecca Harding Davis, and Louisa May Alcott, in the context of their attitudes toward the social and political issues of the day, and utilizing a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, she suggests how these writers used their pens to participate in nationally significant debates, shape policy, and expand the domestic sphere that circumscribed their activities.
Unruly tongue : identity and voice in American women's writing, 1850-1930 by
Call Number: PS374.F45 C87 1999
Martha Cutter says the ten African American and Anglo American women she studied wrote as inside agitators. Cutter says, "From 1780 to 1860 American writers were preoccupied with the feminine virtues of purity, piety, submissiveness, and domesticity--a constellation of attributes known as the domestic saint, or True Woman." But that soon changed. As more women were educated and more women began to work outside the home, women writers found a need to express themselves with a growing sense of independence. Throughout her book, Cutter discovers how ten writers, even those who wrote in what appears to be a purely feminine and domestic voice, found ways to rethink language and create new identities and new voices that were both feminine and unruly.
What Katy read : feminist re-readings of "classic" stories for girls by
Call Number: PN481 .F67 1995
Intrigued that generations of women have read and relished the same juvenile books, scholars Foster and Simons reexamine eight classics of girls' fiction from the perspective of 20th-century feminist critics. Among the British and American titles they scrutinize, those most familiar to present-day U.S. readers include Little Women, The Secret Garden, What Katy Did, and Anne of Green Gables. The texts are analyzed with the aim of defining the genre (fiction written by women for children), explaining the sociohistorical context of the works, and discovering why and how the novels "spoke to their age and continue to speak to today's." This soundly researched study offers insightful and provocative views of literate women and the books they have written and read. Highly recommended for all literature collections. (Library Journal)
Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women
Website accompaniment to the book and film. Includes film clips, an archival picture gallery of Alcott and her circle, video interviews with scholars (including Madeleine B. Stern, Daniel Shealy, and poet Geraldine Brooks), and a timeline that helps contextualize Alcott in the 19th century.
Domestic Goddess Louisa May Alcott by
Wells' bibliographic essay at Domestic Goddess, a moderated E-journal "devoted to women writers, beginning in the 19th century, who wrote domestic fiction." The critical essay is based on Wells' master's thesis, Louisa May Alcott and the Roles of a Lifetime, also linked from the article. Includes a Research Guide by Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay, with a comprehensive list of Alcott's works and links to freely-available on the internet.
Literary Worlds: Illumination of the Mind: Louisa May Alcott
Literary Worlds: Illumination of the Mind is an exhibit at Brigham Young University Library's Perry Special Collections that focuses on poets and novelists in various stages of their careers and their creative processes. The collection includes a large Louisa May Alcott collection, including her published works, writings about her, and a small manuscript collection containing letters, rough drafts, and final copies. Images of representative items from the manuscript collection are included in the online exhibit, along with links to related resources.
Louisa May Alcott: Little Woman, Big Pen
Publishers' Bindings Online, 1815-1930: The Art of Books (PBO) is a joint project of the University of Alabama and the University of Wisconsin-Madison libraries aimed at expanding awareness of the book as artifact and of the role decorative bindings play in providing a window into historical, cultural, and industrial period of 1815-1930. The essay on Alcott is concise presentation of her publishing history, illustrated with images of bindings from the period. Includes a comprehensive bibliography of books published under Alcott's name, both during her lifetime and posthumously, with links to freely available online full text, links to related Web resources, and a short bibliography of secondary works.
After moving twenty-two times in nearly thirty years, the Alcotts finally found their most permanent home at Orchard House, where they lived from 1858 to 1877. The house is most noted for being where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set her beloved classic, Little Women, in 1868 at a "shelf desk" her father built especially for her. The website includes a virtual tour, a "Seasonal Selection of Quotes from the Alcott Family," and brief, illustrated biographical essays about members of the Alcott family.