Tuesday, November 29, 2016
I am toying with new ideas for the blog and figured what better day to try out this feature than on this, the 184th birthday of Louisa May Alcott. Alcott wrote numerous books, the most well-known being Little Women, followed by Little Men and Jo's Boys. These were among my most favorite childhood books. I did read some of her other works, but nothing came close to Little Women for me. I imagined myself as Jo, going off to the big city (though I already lived in a suburb of one, so the 'big city' really wasn't terribly far away) and selling my stories, working for a newspaper, etc. I have several editions of this book, ranging from abridged children's versions to the complete work (did you know Little Women as we know it today was originally published in two parts?). I also have a variety of movie tie-ins, and the movie itself. Christian Bale as Laurie was perfect, though I have never forgiven Samantha Mathis (as Amy) for marrying him.
The real Jo, Louisa May Alcott, was born on this day in 1832. At that time her family had been living in Germantown, PA. Alcott had three sisters, Anna, Elizabeth, and May. They spent much of their childhood in Boston and Concord. Their parents, Bronson Alcott (a philosopher and teacher) and Abigail May, were friends with the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Like Jo March, Louisa was both a tomboy and a writer. As in Little Women, Jo and her sisters would act out plays for their friends and family. As she grew up though, money was an issue for the family and Louisa took whatever jobs she could find to help provide support
At age 22, Alcott's first book was published, entitled Flower Fables. Prior to that her short stories and poetry had been published in magazines. By age 35, she was hard at work on Little Women, based on the childhood of Alcott and her sisters.
Alcott passed away on March 6th, 1888 at age 55. In her lifetime she had published more than 30 books. She is buried at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord. You can also visit Orchard House, where much of the furnishings on display were owned by the Alcotts and the house has been preserved much like when they lived there. This is where Alcott wrote Little Women.
Which books, if any, by Louisa May Alcott have you read? Do you have a favorite? Let me know!
(Photo and author information from http://www.louisamayalcott.org/index.html)