Portable Louisa May Alcott (Viking
May Alcott, Elizabeth Lennox Keyser (Editor)
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
About the Authors
Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and raised in
Concord and Boston, Massachusetts. The precocious second of four
daughters born to Utopian philosopher Bronson Alcott, she started
supporting the family through her writing as a teenager.
Elizabeth Lennox Keyser is a professor of English at Hollins University
and editor of the journal Children's Literature. Her book Whispers
in the Dark: The Fiction of Louisa May Alcott
won the 1993 Children's Literature Association Book Award.
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A prolific author of books for American girls, Louisa May Alcott is best remembered for
Little Women, one of the 270 published works by the Pennsylvania-born woman. This
endearing novel captured forever the period's ideals and values of middle class domestic
life. The book has appeared continuously in print since its first serial publication in
In 1879, Alcott was the first woman to register in Concord when Massachusetts gave
women school, tax and bond suffrage. Eventually she persuaded her publisher to publish
Harriett Hanson Robinson's Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement in 1881. In
her final novel, Jo's Boys (1886), Alcott made arguments for women's rights and
other reforms. She said, "I can remember when anti-slavery was in just the same state
that suffrage is now, and take more pride in the very small help we Alcotts could give
than in all the books I ever wrote..."