As you know on Fridays I like to bring you guest authors. Recently I decided that I was not going to limit myself to bringing as guests only people I knew, or even…people who are still alive…One of the advantages of becoming a writer is that our books (one hopes!) will survive us. You’ll remember I brought you Herman Melville as guest. Today I want to bring you a woman, Louisa May Alcott. She’s also an American writer from a similar era to Melville, with the added difficulty of being a woman in what was a man’s world.
Louisa May was born the 29th November 1832, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Amos Bronson Alcott (transcendentalist and educator) and Abigail (“Abba”) May. The family were in the centre of the transcendentalist movement and went to live in Concord where they were good friends with Emerson and Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne (good friend of Melville) was also a friend of the family.
Her family experimented with communal living (Fruitlands) but this failed and they returned to Concord.
Louisa May, like Jo in ‘Little Women‘ her best known book, wrote from an early age, had 3 sisters, (one who died of complications of scarlet fever), served as a nurse in Washington DC during the Civil War (she contracted typhoid fever and suffered complications ever since), and became a best-selling author, after writing a story for ‘girls’ at the suggestion of her publisher, Thomas Niles. ‘Little Women’ was an instant success and public and publisher asked for more.
She was also an abolitionist and feminist (she was the first woman registered to vote in Concord) , and worked hard to help support the family. She never married but when her sister May died she brought up her niece, Lulu.
She died two days after her father and is buried in Concord (Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, fabulous, don’t you think?)
Here some links to more detailed information about Louisa May. You can also visit Orchard House, the family home Emerson bought for them.
One of her quotes:
Women have been called queens for a long time, but the kingdom given them isn’t worth ruling.
I love ‘Little Women’ and the character of Jo has been one of my inspirations when thinking about writing. I’ve read the rest of the books in the series and I also loved ‘An Old-fashioned Girl‘ when I was younger although I haven’t read it for years. I very much suspect I’d still love it.
And one of the advantages of having as guest an author long gone (and much loved) is that some of her books (many) are available free. I leave you links to some of them, but as I say, there are many more. Some of her books didn’t see publication at the time as they were considered too ‘daring’ but I would have a look if I were you. And do enjoy!
Links to books:
An Old-Fashioned Girl:
Eight Cousins Or, the Aunt-Hill
Thank you for reading, don’t forget to CLICK!, it’s free, and remember, many other classic writers and free books are available. Don’t miss it. And if you like the post, please share!
- Louisa May Alcott on Washing the Wounded (womenwordswisdom.com)
- ‘She is too fond of books…’ (firstnightdesign.wordpress.com)
- The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O’Connor McNees (audio) (pagesofjulia.com)
- “Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother” (puzzlescape.wordpress.com)
- Guest author. Herman Melville (olganm.wordpress.com)
- Time Travel in a Can (lifewithoutdownton.wordpress.com)