Book: Louisa May Alcott «Under the Lilacs»

Under the Lilacs

Under the Lilacs, a children's novel by Louisa May Alcott, was first published in 1878. It is a whimsical tale, different from the oft-serious tone found in the more popular Little Women series. The story features two sister, Bab and Betty Moss, who when playing one day discover a circus runaway, Ben Brown, and his dog Sancho. The girls set Ben up with a job herding cattle, where he gets to ride a horse, his favorite pastime. The girls and Ben have summer adventures, in the process discovering more about life and themselves. LOUISA MAY ALCOTT (1832-1888), one of the most well-known American novelists of the 19th century, was born on November 29, 1832 to transcendentalist educator Amos Bronson Alcott and his wife, Abigail May Alcott. She was the second of four sisters (like Jo, her literary corollary), and grew up in a family that encouraged and sympathized with her abolitionist and feminist leanings. As a child she received instruction from noted literary figures such as Henry...

Издательство: "Книга по Требованию" (2010)

ISBN: 9781616402976

Louisa May Alcott

Infobox Writer
name =Louisa May Alcott

imagesize =200px
caption = Louisa May Alcott
pseudonym = A. M. Barnard
birthdate = birth date|1832|11|29|mf=y
birthplace = Germantown, Philadelphia, PA
deathdate = death date and age|1888|3|6|1832|11|29|mf=y
deathplace = Boston, Massachusetts
occupation = Novelist
nationality = United States
period = Civil War
genre =
subject = Young Adult stories
movement =
notableworks = "Little Women"
influences = Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, Charles Dickens
influenced =
website =

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832March 6, 1888) was an American novelist. She is best known for the novel "Little Women", published in 1868. This novel is loosely based on her childhood experiences with her three sisters.

Childhood and early works

Alcott was a daughter of noted Transcendentalist Amos Bronson Alcott and Abigail May Alcott. Louisa's father started the Temple School; her uncle, Samuel Joseph May, was a noted abolitionist. Though of New England parentage and residence, she was born in Germantown, which is currently part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She had three sisters: one elder (Anna Alcott Pratt) and two younger (Elizabeth Sewall Alcott and Abigail May Alcott Nieriker). The family moved to Boston in 1834 or 1835, [, "New York Times", March 7, 1888. The obituary indicates that the family moved to Boston when Alcott was 2 years old, therefore in 1834-5. This is supported by the United States Census, 1850 which records that her younger sister, Elizabeth, was born in Massachusetts and was aged 15 (therefore born around 1835) at the time of the census.] where her father established an experimental school and joined the Transcendental Club with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

During her childhood and early adulthood, she shared her family's poverty and Transcendentalist ideals. In 1840, after several setbacks with the school, her family moved to a cottage on two acres along the Sudbury River in Concord, Massachusetts. The Alcott family moved to the Utopian Fruitlands community for a brief interval in 1843-1844 and then, after its collapse, to rented rooms and finally to a house in Concord purchased with her mother's inheritance and help from Emerson. Alcott's early education had included lessons from the naturalist Henry David Thoreau but had chiefly been in the hands of her father. She also received some instruction from writers and educators such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Fuller, who were all family friends. She later described these early years in a newspaper sketch entitled "Transcendental Wild Oats," afterwards reprinted in the volume "Silver Pitchers" (1876), which relates the experiences of her family during their experiment in "plain living and high thinking" at Fruitlands.

As she grew older, she became both an abolitionist and a feminist. In 1847, the family housed a fugitive slave for one week. In 1848 Alcott read and admired the "Declaration of Sentiments" published by the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights.

Due to the family's poverty, she began work at an early age as an occasional teacher, seamstress, governess, domestic helper, and writer — her first book was "Flower Fables" (1855), tales originally written for Ellen Emerson, daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1860, Alcott began writing for the "Atlantic Monthly". She was nurse in the Union Hospital at Georgetown, D.C., for six weeks in 1862-1863. Her letters home, revised and published in the "Commonwealth" and collected as "Hospital Sketches" (1863, republished with additions in 1869), garnered her first critical recognition for her observations and humor. Her novel "Moods" (1864), based on her own experience, was also promising.

Lesser-known parts of her work are the passionate, fiery novels and stories she wrote, usually under the pseudonym A. M. Barnard. These works, such as "A Long Fatal Love Chase" and "Pauline's Passion and Punishment", were known in the Victorian Era as "potboilers" or "blood-and-thunder tales." Her character Jo in "Little Women" publishes several such stories but ultimately rejects them after being told that "good young girls should [not] see such things." Their protagonists are willful and relentless in their pursuit of their own aims, which often include revenge on those who have humiliated or thwarted them. These works achieved immediate commercial success and remain highly readable today.

Alcott also produced moralistic and wholesome stories for children, and, with the exceptions of the semi-autobiographical tale "Work" (1873), and the anonymous novelette "A Modern Mephistopheles" (1875), which attracted suspicion that it was written by Julian Hawthorne, she did not return to creating works for adults.

Literary success and later life

Louisa May Alcott's overwhelming success dated from the appearance of the first part of "Little Women: or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy", (1868) a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood years with her sisters in Concord, Massachusetts. Part two, or "Part Second", also known as "Good Wives," (1869) followed the March sisters into adulthood and their respective marriages. "Little Men" (1871) detailed Jo's life at the Plumfield School that she founded with her husband Professor Bhaer at the conclusion of Part Two of "Little Women." "Jo's Boys" (1886) completed the "March Family Saga."

Most of her later volumes, "An Old-Fashioned Girl" (1870), "Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag" (6 vols., 1871–1879), "Eight Cousins" and its sequel "Rose in Bloom" (1876), and others, followed in the line of "Little Women", remaining popular with her large and loyal public.

Although the Jo character in "Little Women" was based on Louisa May Alcott, she, unlike Jo, never married. Alcott explained her "spinsterhood" in an interview with Louise Chandler Moulton, "... because I have fallen in love with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man." [Little Women Introduction, Penguin Classics, 1989. ISBN 0-14-039069-3] '

In 1879 her younger sister, May, died. Alcott took in May's daughter, Louisa May Nieriker ("Lulu"), who was two years old. The baby was named after her aunt, and was given the same nickname.

In her later life, Alcott became an advocate of women's suffrage and was the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts in a school board election.

to address women’s issues in a modern and candid manner. Their works were, as one newspaper columnist of the period commented, "among the decided 'signs of the times'" (“Review 2 – No Title” from "The Radical", May 1868, see References below).

Despite worsening health, Alcott wrote through the rest of her life, finally succumbing to the after-effects of mercury poisoning contracted during her American Civil War service: she had received calomel treatments for the effects of typhoid. She died in Boston on March 6, 1888 at age 55, two days after visiting her father on his deathbed. Her last words were "Is it not meningitis?" [ [] - Famous Last Words]

The story of her life and career was initially told in Ednah D. Cheney's "Louisa May Alcott: Her Life, Letters and Journals" (Boston, 1889) and then in Madeleine B. Stern's seminal biography "Louisa May Alcott" (University of Oklahoma Press, 1950).

Selected works

* "The Inheritance" (1849, unpublished until 1997)
* "Flower Fables" (1854)
* "Hospital Sketches" (1863)
* "The Rose Family: A Fairy Tale" (1864)
* "Moods" (1865, revised 1882)
* "Morning-Glories and Other Stories" (1867)
* "The Mysterious Key and What It Opened" (1867)
* "Little Women" or "Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy" (1868)
* "Three Proverb Stories" (includes "Kitty's Class Day," "Aunt Kipp," and "Psyche's Art") (1868)
* "Part Second" of "Little Women", also known as "Good Wives" (1869)
* "An Old Fashioned Girl" (1870)
* "Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag" (1872-1882)
* "Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys" (1871)
* "" (1872)
* "Eight Cousins" or "The Aunt-Hill" (1875)
* "Beginning Again, Being a Continuation of Work" (1875)
* "Silver Pitchers, and Independence: A Centennial Love Story," (1876)
* "Rose in Bloom": A Sequel to Eight Cousins (1876)
* "Under the Lilacs" (1878)
* "Jack and Jill: A Village Story" (1880)
* "Jo's Boys and How They Turned Out: A Sequel to "Little Men" (1886)
* "Lulu's Library" (1886-1889)
* "A Garland for Girls" (1888)
* "Comic Tragedies" (1893) As A.M.Barnard
* "Behind a Mask, or a Woman's Power" (1866)
* "The Abbot's Ghost, or Maurice Treherne's Temptation" (1867)
* "A Long Fatal Love Chase" (1866 - first published 1995)

First published anonymously
* "A Modern Mephistopheles" (1877)

Published as

* "Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys" (Elaine Showalter, ed.) (Library of America, 2005) ISBN 978-1-93108273-0.

See also

* Orchard House, where Alcott lived when writing "Little Women"
* Walpole, New Hampshire, where the abundant lilacs in the town inspired Alcott to write the book "Under the Lilacs"



* Shealy, Daniel, Editor. "Alcott in Her Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of Her Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends and Associates." University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, Iowa, 2005. ISBN 0-87745-938-X.
*“Review 2 – No Title” from The Radical (1865 - 1872). May 1868. American Periodical Series 1740 - 1900. [] (link is password only) (29 January 2007).

Further reading

* cite book
last = Saxton
first = Martha
title = Louisa May: A Modern Biography of Louisa May Alcott
year = 1977
publisher = Houghton Mifflin
id = ISBN 0-395-25720-4

* cite book
last = MacDonald
first = Ruth K.
title = Louisa May Alcott
year = 1983
publisher = Twayne
id = ISBN 0-8057-7397-5

* cite book
last = Myerson
first = Joel
coauthors = Daniel Shealy, Madeleine B. Stern
title = The Selected Letters of Louisa May Alcott
year = 1987
publisher = Little, Brown
id = ISBN 0-316-59361-3

* cite book
last = Myerson
first = Joel
coauthors = Daniel Shealy, Madeleine B. Stern
title = The Journals of Louisa May Alcott
year = 1989
publisher = Little, Brown
id = ISBN 0-316-59362-1

External links

* [ Full text of "Transcendental Wild Oats"]
* [ Annotation of Hospital Sketches] at NYU Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database, with link to the e-text.
* [ Works by Louisa May Alcott] at Internet Archive
* [ Works by Louisa May Alcott] at Online Books Page
* [ Works by Louisa May Alcott] at [ Project Gutenberg Australia]

* [ Bibliography] (including primary works and information on secondary literature - critical essays, theses and dissertations) Other
* [ The Louisa May Alcott Society] A scholarly organization devoted to her life and works.
* [ Louisa May Alcott, the real woman who wrote Little Women] . A web site about Louisa May Alcott which will be the foundation for a documentary film, published media and educational programs.
* [ Obituary, NY Times, March 7, 1888, "Louisa M. Alcott Dead"]
* [ Minneapolis Tribune, March 7, 1888, "OBITUARY: Miss Louisa M. Alcott"]
* [ Biographical information]

NAME=Alcott, Louisa May
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Barnard, A. M. (literary pseudonym)
DATE OF BIRTH=birth date|1832|11|29|mf=y
PLACE OF BIRTH=Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DATE OF DEATH=death date|1888|3|6|mf=y
PLACE OF DEATH=Boston, Massachusetts

Источник: Louisa May Alcott

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