Friday, November 29, 2013

Champions of Creativity

Public Domain Photo

   Louisa May Alcott

Like so many young girls, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, was one of the very first substantive novels I ever read. Since the literary icon's life was so inspiring and extraordinary - and since today is the anniversary of her birth - I have chosen Louisa May Alcott for the subject of this week's blog posting of Champions of Creativity.

Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832, in Germantown, Pennsylvania and was the second of her parents' four daughters. Amos Bronson Alcott was a teacher and transcendentalist, while Louisa's mother, Abigail May, was a social worker. The Alcott family moved to Boston in 1938 where Amos Alcott established an experimental school. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne were not only some of Louisa's educators, they were also friends of the Alcott family. The family suffered through constant poverty and multiple changes in residence which pushed Louisa to go to work at an early age. She worked as a seamstress, governess, teacher, and writer. Writing became a method for the young girl to cope with the emotional stress in her life, and at the age of seventeen she wrote her first book, Flower Fables.

As an adult, Ms. Alcott was an abolitionist, a feminist, and during the Civil War, she served as a nurse. Although Louisa May Alcott wrote numerous books and poems, it is Little Women that is most definitely her lasting legacy. The novel's protagonist, Jo - who is loosely based on the author, has touched and inspired generations of young girls and women. At a time that was known as The Gilded Age, Little Women gave young girls a reason to read, and even dream, of a different kind of life in a way that they never had before. Louisa May Alcott also became active in the women's suffrage movement, writing for "The Woman's Journal," where she encouraged women to register to vote.

The legendary American author lived this extraordinary life while battling bouts of depression and was never married. Louisa May Alcott died on March 8, 1888, in Boston, and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts. She rests in peace on a hillside known as "Authors Ridge," near Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne.

To view the Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women, click here: http://www.louisamayalcott.org/alcottorchard.html

8 comments:

  1. This is a nice reminder that I've still to read Little Women as past of my Classics Challenge.

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  2. Fascinating writer background; I like hearing about "classic" authors' lives. I really can't recall if I've read Little Women though! Maybe just seen various movie renditions. :)

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    1. Little Women was a pivotal book for me as a young person. I not only enjoyed it immensely, I was inspired to think about social issues that I might not have otherwise. Hope you're having a nice holiday weekend, Carol!

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  3. I read Little Women a long time ago, and have seen various movies of it. It was always a charmer of a story. The kind of story you don't want to end. I was so surprised to read some of the information here. For one thing, imagine having those luminaries for your teachers! but I also didn't realize she had worked in those professions or had been so politically active for women's causes. What a trailblazer.

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    1. I was surprised by some of the tidbits I learned about the iconic author, too, Elizabeth. Her life is quite an inspiration...especially for writers. ^_^

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  4. Love this post! How wonderful that you spotlighted her. She was an inspiration, not only to authors, but to readers. She was very enlightened for her time and really helped to make the world a better place for women. I've always believed Jo to be the ideal universal character. I've heard more people identify themselves with Jo (despite a huge range of personalities) than any other character.

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    1. It's always a lovely surprise to learn that a friend appreciates something you do. I knew I liked you, Sara - we must be kindred spirits. ^_^

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