Cover image for Little women
Title:
Little women
Author:
Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, [1989]

©1989
Physical Description:
xxx, 504 pages ; 20 cm.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1300 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.9 33.0 513.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780140390698

9780141192413
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The charming story of four 'little women' - Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth - and their wise and patient mother Marmee, was an instant success when first published in 1868. Enduring hardships and enjoying adventures in Civil War New England, the March sisters have been adored for generations. Readers have rooted for Laurie in his pursuit of Jo's hand, cried over little Beth's death, and dreamed of travelling through Europe with old Aunt March and Amy. Future writers have found inspiration in Jo's devotion to her writing. In this simple, enthralling tale, both parts of which are included here, Louisa May Alcott has created four of American literature's most beloved women. In her enlightening, thoughtful introduction, Elaine Showalter discusses Louisa May Alcott's influences, and her aspirations for Little Women , as well as the impact the novel has had on such women writers as Joyce Carol Oates and Cynthia Ozick. This edition also includes notes on the text by Siobhan Kilfeather and Vinca Showalter.If you enjoyed Little Women you might like Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters , also available in Penguin Classics.


Author Notes

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1832. Two years later, she moved with her family to Boston and in 1840 to Concord, which was to remain her family home for the rest of her life. Her father, Bronson Alcott, was a transcendentalist and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Alcott early realized that her father could not be counted on as sole support of his family, and so she sacrificed much of her own pleasure to earn money by sewing, teaching, and churning out potboilers. Her reputation was established with Hospital Sketches (1863), which was an account of her work as a volunteer nurse in Washington, D.C.

Alcott's first works were written for children, including her best-known Little Women (1868--69) and Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys (1871). Moods (1864), a "passionate conflict," was written for adults. Alcott's writing eventually became the family's main source of income.

Throughout her life, Alcott continued to produce highly popular and idealistic literature for children. An Old-Fashioned Girl (1870), Eight Cousins (1875), Rose in Bloom (1876), Under the Lilacs (1878), and Jack and Jill (1881) enjoyed wide popularity. At the same time, her adult fiction, such as the autobiographical novel Work: A Story of Experience (1873) and A Modern Mephistopheles (1877), a story based on the Faust legend, shows her deeper concern with such social issues as education, prison reform, and women's suffrage. She realistically depicts the problems of adolescents and working women, the difficulties of relationships between men and women, and the values of the single woman's life.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

One of the most beloved American classics is beautifully and eloquently brought to life in this recording filled with passion and spirit. Four sisters in 19th-century New England grow from little girls to respectable young women. Each sister carries unique hopes for her future, but Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy learn that life often has other plans in store. Their coming-of-age stories are filled with hilarity, humility, friendship, heartbreak, and duty. Characters come alive with unique voices and mannerisms, flawlessly narrated by Susie Berneis. VERDICT This new recording of this time-honored novel is essential listening for fans of American literature.-Erin Cataldi, Johnson Cty. P.L., Franklin, IN © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Kate Reading breathes new life into Louisa May Alcott's classic coming-of-age tale about the March sisters growing up in New England during the Civil War. The emotional and physical changes that all of the characters experience are skillfully presented in a narration that draws listeners into the world Alcott created. On just a few occasions the voicing is not entirely distinct and the story momentum slows, but for the most part, the narration is very well done. This version is sure to inspire a new generation of listeners.-Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Playing Pilgrims "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,"grumbled Jo, lying on the rug. "It's so dreadful to be poor!"sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress. "I don't think it's fair for some girls to have lots of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all," added little Amy, with an injured sniff. "We've got father and mother, and each other, anyhow,"said Beth, contentedly, from her corner. The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, but darkened again as Jo said sadly? "We haven't got father, and shall not have him for a long time." She didn't say "perhaps never,"but each silently added it, thinking of father far away, where the fighting was. Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, "You know the reason mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas, was because it's going to be a hard winter for every one; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We can't do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly. But I am afraid I don't;"and Megshook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted. "But I don't think the little we should spend would do any good. We've each got a dollar, and the army wouldn't be much helped by our giving that. I agree not to expect anything from mother or you, but I do want to buy Undine and Sintram for myself; I've wanted it so long,'said Jo, who was a bookworm. "I planned to spend mine in new music,"said Beth, with a little sigh, which no one heard but the hearth-brush and kettle-holder. "I shall get a nice box of Faber's drawing pencils; I really need them," said Amy, decidedly. "Mother didn't say anything about our money, and she won't wish us to give up everything. Let's each buy what we want, and have a little fun; I'm sure we grub hard enough to earn it,"cried Jo, examining the heels of her boots in a gentlemanly manner. "I know I do, teaching those dreadful children nearly all day, when I'm longing to enjoy myself at home," began Meg, in the complaining tone again. "You don't have half such a hard time as I do," said Jo. "How would you like to be shut up for hours with a nervous, fussy old lady, who keeps you trotting, is never satisfied, and worries you till you''e ready to fly out of the window or box her ears?" "It's naughty to fret, but I do think washing dishes and keeping things tidy is the worst work in the world. It makes me cross; and my hands get so stiff, I can't practise good a bit." And Beth looked at her rough hands with a sigh that any one could hear that time. "I don't believe any of you suffer as I do," cried Amy; "for you don't have to go to school with impertinent girls, who plague you if you don't know your lessons, and laugh at your dresses, and label your father if he isn't rich, and insult you when your nose isn't nice." "If you mean libel I'd say so, and not talk about labels, as if pa was a pickle-bottle," advised Jo, laughing. Excerpted from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Elaine ShowalterSiobhan Kilfeather and Vinca Showalter
Introductionp. vii
Suggestions for Further Readingp. xxix
A Note on the Textp. xxxi
Little Women
Prefacep. xxxv
Part I

p. 1

Part II

p. 236

Notesp. 493