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July 2010 Good Housekeeping selection. On My Bookshelf by Lynda La Plante... Little Women by Louisa May Alcott inspired me when I was very young. Years later I watched the film starring Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, and was taken aback at how the characters were transported to the screen.
The discovery in recent years of Louisa May Alcott's pseudonymous sensation stories has made readers and scholars increasingly aware of her accomplishments beyond her most famous novel, Little Women, one of the great international best-sellers of all time. What has been recovered throws new light on the children's books and asks us to question our assumptions about the suposedly staid and sentimental Alcott. Alternative Alcott includes works never before reprinted, including How I Went Out to Service, My Contraband, and Psyche's Art. It also contains Behind a Mask, her most important sensation story; the full and correct text of her last unfinished novel, Diana and Persis; Transcendental Wild Oats ; Hospital Sketches; and Alcott's other important texts on nineteenth-century social history. This anthology brings together for the first time a variety of Louisa May Alcott's journalistic, satiric, feminist, and sensation texts. Elaine Showalter has provided an excellent introduction and notes to the collection.
A trove of words and pictures, which offers new insights into a celebrated American family.In 1870, Louisa May Alcott and her younger sister Abby May Alcott began a fourteen-month tour of Europe. Louisa had already made her mark as a writer; May was on the verge of a respected art career. Little Women Abroad gathers a generous selection of May's drawings along with all of the known letters written by the two Alcott sisters during their trip. More than thirty drawings are included, nearly all of them previously unpublished. Of the seventy-one letters collected here, more than three-quarters appear in their entirety for the first time. Daniel Shealy's supporting materials add detail and context to the people, places, and events referenced in the letters and illustrations.By the time of the Alcott sisters' sojourn, Louisa's Little Women was already an international success, and her most recent work, An Old-Fashioned Girl , was selling briskly. Louisa was now a grand literary lioness on tour. She would compose Little Men while in Europe, and her European letters would form the basis of her travel book Shawl Straps . If Louisa's letters reveal a writer's eye, then May's demonstrate an eye for color, detail, and composition. Although May had prior art training in Boston, she came into her own only during her studies with European masters. When at a loss for words, she took her drawing pen in hand.These letters of two important American artists, one literary, the other visual, tell a vibrant story at the crossroads of European and American history and culture.