The Portable Louisa May Alcott

Although the publication of Little Women in 1868 earned Louisa May Alcott tremendous popularity, for a long time she was thought of as a writer of children's stories and considered—at best—a minor figure in the American literary canon. Now, at the end of the twentieth century, Alcott's vast body of work is being celebrated alongside the greatest American writers, and this collection shows why. The Portable Louisa May Alcott samples the entire spectrum of Alcott's work: her novels, novellas, children's stories, sensationalist fiction, gothic tales, essays, letters, and journals. Presenting her more daring works, such as Moods and Behind a Mask (both reprinted in their entirety), alongside the familiar heroines of Little Women, this singular collection offers readers a rich and wide-ranging portrait of this talented, prolific, and influential writer.
Introduction
Chronology
I. Short Fiction
My Contraband
A Whisper in the Dark
Thrice Tempted
La Jeune; or, Actress and Woman
Psyche's Art
My Mysterious Mademoiselle
Cupid and Chow-chow
Queen Aster
II. Novels and Novellas
Moods
Behind a Mask; or, A Woman's Power
From Little Women, part 2:
Literary Lessons
Friend
From Work: A Story of Experience:
At Forty
From A Modern Mephistopheles
Chapters XII, XIII, and XV
From Jo's Boys
Plays at Plumfield
Among the Maids
III. Memoirs, Journals, and Letters
Transcendental Wild Oats
Journals:
Fruitlands (1843)
Concord (1845-47)
Boston (1850-57)
Concord (1858-62)
Georgetown (1862-63)
Moods (1864-65)
Little Women (1868-69)
Emerson's Death (1882)
Letters:
To Abigail May Alcott, December 25, 1854
To Amos Bronson Alcott, November 29, 1856
To Anna Alcott Pratt, date uncertain
To Annie Maria Lawrence, February 3, 1865
To Moncure Daniel Conway, February 18, 1865
To Mr. Ayer, March 19, 1865
To the Lukens Sisters, September 4 [1873]
To Lucy Stone, October 1, 1873
To Maria S. Porter [1874]
To Lucy Stone, June 29 [1876]
To John Preston True, October 24 [1878]
To Thomas Niles, February 12, 1881
To Thomas Niles, February 19, 1881
To William Warland Clapp, Jr., March 6, 1883
To Maggie Lukens, January 14 [1884]
To Maggie Lukens, February 5 [1884]
To Maggie Lukens, February 14 [1884]
To the Woman's Journal, May 8, 1884
To Lucy Stone, August 31 [1885]
To Thomas Niles, [June?] 1886

Notes to the Letters
Selected Bibliography

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1832, the second of four daughters of Abigail May Alcott and Bronson Alcott, the prominent Transcendentalist thinker and social reformer. Raised in Concord, Massachusetts, and educated by her father, Alcott early on came under the influence of the great men of his circle: Emerson, Hawthorne, the preacher Theodore Parker, and Thoreau. From her youth, Louisa worked at various tasks to help support her family: sewing, teaching, domestic service, and writing. In 1862, she volunteered to serve as an army nurse in a Union hospital during the Civil War— an experience that provided her material for her first successful book, Hospital Sketches (1863). Between 1863 and 1869, she published several anonymous and pseudonymous Gothic romances and lurid thrillers. But fame came with the publication of her Little Women (1868– 69), a novel based on the childhood adventures of the four Alcott sisters, which received immense popular acclaim and brought her financial security as well as the conviction to continue her career as a writer. In the wake of Little Women’s popularity, she brought out An Old- Fashioned Girl (1870), Little Men(1871), Eight Cousins (1875), Rose in Bloom (1876), Jo’s Boys (1886), and other books for children, as well as two adult novels, Moods (1864) and Work (1873). An active participant in the women’s suffrage and temperance movements during the last decade of her life, Alcott died in Boston in 1888, on the day her father was buried. View titles by Louisa May Alcott

About

Although the publication of Little Women in 1868 earned Louisa May Alcott tremendous popularity, for a long time she was thought of as a writer of children's stories and considered—at best—a minor figure in the American literary canon. Now, at the end of the twentieth century, Alcott's vast body of work is being celebrated alongside the greatest American writers, and this collection shows why. The Portable Louisa May Alcott samples the entire spectrum of Alcott's work: her novels, novellas, children's stories, sensationalist fiction, gothic tales, essays, letters, and journals. Presenting her more daring works, such as Moods and Behind a Mask (both reprinted in their entirety), alongside the familiar heroines of Little Women, this singular collection offers readers a rich and wide-ranging portrait of this talented, prolific, and influential writer.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Chronology
I. Short Fiction
My Contraband
A Whisper in the Dark
Thrice Tempted
La Jeune; or, Actress and Woman
Psyche's Art
My Mysterious Mademoiselle
Cupid and Chow-chow
Queen Aster
II. Novels and Novellas
Moods
Behind a Mask; or, A Woman's Power
From Little Women, part 2:
Literary Lessons
Friend
From Work: A Story of Experience:
At Forty
From A Modern Mephistopheles
Chapters XII, XIII, and XV
From Jo's Boys
Plays at Plumfield
Among the Maids
III. Memoirs, Journals, and Letters
Transcendental Wild Oats
Journals:
Fruitlands (1843)
Concord (1845-47)
Boston (1850-57)
Concord (1858-62)
Georgetown (1862-63)
Moods (1864-65)
Little Women (1868-69)
Emerson's Death (1882)
Letters:
To Abigail May Alcott, December 25, 1854
To Amos Bronson Alcott, November 29, 1856
To Anna Alcott Pratt, date uncertain
To Annie Maria Lawrence, February 3, 1865
To Moncure Daniel Conway, February 18, 1865
To Mr. Ayer, March 19, 1865
To the Lukens Sisters, September 4 [1873]
To Lucy Stone, October 1, 1873
To Maria S. Porter [1874]
To Lucy Stone, June 29 [1876]
To John Preston True, October 24 [1878]
To Thomas Niles, February 12, 1881
To Thomas Niles, February 19, 1881
To William Warland Clapp, Jr., March 6, 1883
To Maggie Lukens, January 14 [1884]
To Maggie Lukens, February 5 [1884]
To Maggie Lukens, February 14 [1884]
To the Woman's Journal, May 8, 1884
To Lucy Stone, August 31 [1885]
To Thomas Niles, [June?] 1886

Notes to the Letters
Selected Bibliography

Author

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1832, the second of four daughters of Abigail May Alcott and Bronson Alcott, the prominent Transcendentalist thinker and social reformer. Raised in Concord, Massachusetts, and educated by her father, Alcott early on came under the influence of the great men of his circle: Emerson, Hawthorne, the preacher Theodore Parker, and Thoreau. From her youth, Louisa worked at various tasks to help support her family: sewing, teaching, domestic service, and writing. In 1862, she volunteered to serve as an army nurse in a Union hospital during the Civil War— an experience that provided her material for her first successful book, Hospital Sketches (1863). Between 1863 and 1869, she published several anonymous and pseudonymous Gothic romances and lurid thrillers. But fame came with the publication of her Little Women (1868– 69), a novel based on the childhood adventures of the four Alcott sisters, which received immense popular acclaim and brought her financial security as well as the conviction to continue her career as a writer. In the wake of Little Women’s popularity, she brought out An Old- Fashioned Girl (1870), Little Men(1871), Eight Cousins (1875), Rose in Bloom (1876), Jo’s Boys (1886), and other books for children, as well as two adult novels, Moods (1864) and Work (1873). An active participant in the women’s suffrage and temperance movements during the last decade of her life, Alcott died in Boston in 1888, on the day her father was buried. View titles by Louisa May Alcott

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