Thursday, October 14, 2010

Louisa May Alcott

Next semester I may be embarking on a rather exciting project about Louisa May Alcott. Best known for largely autobiographical novel Little Women she also wrote many stories and novels that she like to refer to as "blood and thunder" stories- gothic romantic thrillers under the name A.M. Barnard.
The more I learn about her and her work the more I adore her and become even more excited for the project. Reading accounts of her life and her personal letters makes me feel a very strong connection to her. I'll be very pleased to continue my research.
Her father was an abolitionist and friend of Emerson (Louisa and his daughter were apparently close), Thoreau and many other intellectuals of the time. She was a nurse during some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War where she was inspired to write Hospital Sketches. Then she contracted Typhoid fever and was dosed with a mercury based medicine that caused vivid and disturbing dreams- perhaps providing inspiration for some of her sensational novels?
Over this winter break I'll be rereading Little Women, I haven't read it since I was twelve. My goal is also to go to Concord MA and visit Orchard House where she lived most of her life and wrote the novel. I have friends that live near Boston, so I'm hoping they might let me couch-surf with them for a few days. I've always wanted to see Boston as well and while I'm there, I'd love to take a day to visit Walden. It would be quite the literary trip and I want to do it in December before I fully embark on this project, but money and the prospect of driving around Massachusetts in the middle of winter may delay me until the spring.
I've also been toying with the idea of writing my own gothic romance in a similar style to hers to get me in the proper mindset.
Maybe I'll post excerpts if it goes well.
Now back to reading Sons and Lovers.


  1. Yeah, if you want to drive out to Walden Pond spring's definitely better. Let me know if/when you're in Boston, btw -- I might be able to get out there at the same time, I'd love to meet.

  2. That might be really cool, I might be back in NY during March of next year as well- journalism conference again.
    Not to sound impetuous, but I'd really hate to wait until spring! Afraid I may have to though.

  3. How exciting! I'm reading Little Women for the first time as a serious endeavor and am loving it. I've been fascinated by Louisa May Alcott all my life and finally decided to blog about it. We have some wonderful conversations and would love to have you join us when you start reading. You can find the blog at

    I have pictures from Orchard House on my site. I live near Concord and have been there many times as well as Walden Pond. Great places to visit, especially in the fall.