Little Women at 150
A new exploration of the lasting affection and appreciation of the beloved children’s novel
Contributions by Beverly Lyon Clark, Christine Doyle, Gregory Eiselein, John Matteson, Joel Myerson, Sandra Harbert Petrulionis, Anne K. Phillips, Daniel Shealy, and Roberta Seelinger Trites
As the golden age of children’s literature dawned in America in the mid-1860s, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, a work that many scholars view as one of the first realistic novels for young people, soon became a classic. Never out of print, Alcott’s tale of four sisters growing up in nineteenth-century New England has been published in more than fifty countries around the world. Over the century and a half since its publication, the novel has grown into a cherished book for girls and boys alike. Readers as diverse as Carson McCullers, Gloria Steinem, Theodore Roosevelt, Patti Smith, and J. K. Rowling have declared it a favorite.
Little Women at 150, a collection of eight original essays by scholars whose research and writings over the past twenty years have helped elevate Alcott’s reputation in the academic community, examines anew the enduring popularity of the novel and explores the myriad complexities of Alcott’s most famous work. Examining key issues about philanthropy, class, feminism, Marxism, Transcendentalism, canon formation, domestic labor, marriage, and Australian literature, Little Women at 150 presents new perspectives on one of the United States’ most enduring novels. A historical and critical introduction discusses the creation and publication of the novel, briefly traces the scholarly critical response, and demonstrates how these new essays show us that Little Women and its illustrations still have riches to reveal to its readers in the twenty-first century.
"Little Women at 150 proves that Alcott’s classic deserves to be considered not only one of America’s most beloved novels, but also one of its richest and most important. These essays open up new avenues of scholarship that have much to teach us about Little Women, Alcott’s oeuvre, US literature, and the US itself. "- Anne Boyd Rioux, author of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of “Little Women” and Why It Still Matters
"The contributors do a great job of considering the classic novel in original, surprising lights. Academics and literature students will savor these smart readings."- Publishers Weekly
"To mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (1868), Shealy has brought together eight extremely relevant essays. Written specifically for this collection by leading scholars of Alcott and of 19th-century American literature in general, the essays provide important, fresh perspectives on the novel, Alcott herself, and 19th-century literature and society. . . . Excellent resources are included throughout for further study. Highly recommended."- D. V. Dominguez, CHOICE
"With eight essays from a range of children’s literature scholars that examine historical influences on Alcott, the impact of illustrations in the various editions of the text, and the global reach and continued impact of the story of the March sisters, this is a valuable addition to the shelves of children’s literature enthusiasts."- Jen McConnel, School Library Journal
"Little Women at 150 is a delightful exploration of the enduring legacy of Louisa May Alcott’s best-known work. . . . [It] is a rich, mature volume that rounds out at least thirty years of Alcott criticism and children’s literature scholarship."- Laureen Tedesco, Children's Literature