Louisa May Alcott : the woman behind Little women
The work Louisa May Alcott : the woman behind Little women represents a distinct intellectual or artistic creation found in City Libraries, City of Gold Coast. This resource is a combination of several types including: Work, Language Material, Books.This resource has been enriched with EBSCO NoveList data.
Louisa May Alcott : the woman behind Little women
The work Louisa May Alcott : the woman behind Little women represents a distinct intellectual or artistic creation found in City Libraries, City of Gold Coast. This resource is a combination of several types including: Work, Language Material, Books.
This resource has been enriched with EBSCO NoveList data.
- Louisa May Alcott : the woman behind Little women
- Title remainder
- the woman behind Little women
- Statement of responsibility
- Harriet Reisen
- A vivid, energetic account of the life of Louisa May Alcott that explores Alcott's life in the context of her works, all of which are to some extent autobiographical
- Booklist Editors' Choice: Adult Books for Young Adults, 2009.
- Signature Reviewed by Brenda WineappleHailed as the first complete biography of Louisa May Alcott despite the fine previous work of Madeline Stern and Martha Saxton, Harriet Reisen's Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women does valiantly portray the beloved author as a stalwart woman whose life, as Reisen succinctly puts it, “was no children's book.” The daughter of impecunious transcendentalist Bronson Alcott and long-suffering Abigail May, as a girl Louisa Alcott watched her father preach esoteric uplift while practicing the penury that impoverished the family. Bronson's redeeming trait, Reisen speculates, may have been temporary insanity. The sadder case was Alcott's mother—the model for Marmee in Little Women —an intelligent woman harnessed to a man in search of the ineffable and, on occasion, young female acolytes. Louisa appointed herself the “Golden Goose” of these needy nurturers. Churning out what Reisen calls the “chick-lit of its day” to provide her mother and sisters the material comforts she never had, Alcott also used her imagination, according to Reisen, to “escape the confines of ordinary life,” although for Bronson Alcott's daughter, ordinary life was not all that ordinary; Reisen calculates that the family moved at least 30 times by Alcott's 20s. “The ordeals of childhood were transmuted into rich literary endowments,” Reisen explains. Alcott also wrote to earn parental approval; no longer was she a tomboy with a temper, though a careful reader can detect the anger beneath the surface of her most placid stories. Yet there's something else unexplored here: by converting a childhood of raw apples, cold-water baths and ceaseless sibling rivalry into the stories and novels that supported her family, she also kept that family forever dependent on her. In this companion to an upcoming PBS documentary on Alcott, Reisen too often interprets Alcott's life through her work, as if Alcott did not transmute experience into art after all. Reisen thus sprinkles her book with “must have beens” (“she must have felt banished,” “the book must have struck a chord”) and then plays the mental illness card once more: “Was Louisa Alcott, like so many artists, manic-depressive (bipolar)?” Yet Reisen's rich empathy for Alcott never falters and her chronicle of Alcott's exhausting attempt, as one friend remarked, “to fill vacant niches” in all things, whether in her family or in the world of popular literature, is heart-rending. As Reisen notes, Alcott simply wore herself out. Devotees of Little Women may be shocked that its self-medicating, troubled creator was not a jolly J.K. Rowling, though likely many of them know this. What they may not realize is that the redoubtable Alcott, who chose to “be a free spinster and to paddle my own canoe,” was decidedly strong but, alas, never free. (Nov.) Brenda Wineapple is the author, most recently, of White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Knopf), which will be published by Anchor in paper. --Staff (Reviewed July 20, 2009) (Publishers Weekly, vol 256, issue 29, p132)
- Public television writer and producer Reisen's biography is the result of a deeply held, lifelong affection for Louisa May Alcott; it's a substantial by-product of the research undertaken to write and produce a documentary film biography of the same title to air December 2009 as part of the PBS "American Masters" series. Reisen's writing is lively and appealing. She analyzes Alcott's best-known works—Little Women, Little Men, and Jo's Boys —as well as Pauline's Passion and Punishment, Behind a Mask , and Perilous Play , the pulp fiction Alcott wrote anonymously or as A.M. Barnard. Drawing extensively from Alcott's journals and letters as well as those of her family members, Reisen portrays Alcott's life with precision and sympathy yet does not hide her flaws. This compelling biography allows readers to know Alcott and appreciate her as "her own best character." VERDICT Highly recommended for Alcott fans as well as readers interested in American women writers and women's studies. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/09.]—Kathryn R. Bartelt, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN --Kathryn R. Bartelt (Reviewed September 1, 2009) (Library Journal, vol 134, issue 14, p117)
- A deliciously palatable biography of the iconic writer whose life was "as full of plot and character as any [she] invented."Inspired by research from her documentary of Alcott (1832–1888) for the PBS series American Masters, Reisen delivers an in-depth portrait of the spirited, sentimental, imaginative, realistic woman whose childhood vow was to "be rich, famous, and happy." Reisen draws extensively from Alcott's prodigious output of literary works, travel sketches, articles, journals and letters, as well as the recollections of her contemporaries. Born to bohemian intellectuals, the young Alcott grew into a moody, passionate girl much like her famous character, Jo March. Her parents kept the company of transcendental luminaries like Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller and Hawthorne, but experienced material poverty. The utopian nightmare of her father's experiment in communal living, her youngest sister's death and her older sister's engagement became defining events in Alcott's life, leaving her determined to shoulder family financial and household burdens. Under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard, Alcott churned out pulp-fiction thrillers, generating income and sating her thirst for adventure. She followed the phenomenal success of Little Women in 1868 with six other popular children's novels, but was tormented by a culture of celebrity and ill health until her death. Reisen deftly weaves the story of Alcott's life into the rich social, cultural and historical fabric of mid-19th-century New England. The author's insightful examination reveals Alcott as a compulsive writer who peppered her stories with external details and internal currents of her life; an ardent abolitionist who served as a Civil War army nurse; a self-espoused spinster who cherished her independence but harbored a schoolgirl romantic attachment to Thoreau and a midlife crush on a young Polish pianist; a thoroughly modern feminist who wrote about the power struggle between the sexes and championed women's suffrage; and a middle-aged woman who relied on opiates to cope with her failing health.An absorbing portrait of the protean author whose "life was no children's book." (Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2009)
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- contains biographical information
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