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Ebook The Complete Little Women Collection by Louisa May Alcott read! Book Title: The Complete Little Women Collection
The author of the book: Louisa May Alcott
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Language: English
Edition: Waxkeep Publishing
Date of issue: April 10th 2013
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 38.49 MB
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I read Little Women several times as a child and then went on to read the rest of Alcott’s children’s novels, so I will count this volume as completely read, though I’ve only reread Little Women as an adult. My impetus for doing so was at the invitation of Anne Boyd Rioux to join a small group to discuss the novel.

When I started Little Women last month, I was struck by a couple of things I wouldn't have known as a child, even a child reading this for the first time in the early 1970s. First, the young Jo reads to me now as a precursor of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird and maybe even Frankie from The Member of the Wedding. Second, though Alcott purposely borrows from Pilgrim’s Progress, there is an obvious influence from Dickens, not just with the sisters forming a Pickwick Club but also in relation to theme and style. As not too far down the road, I would become a Dickens fan, I wonder if reading Alcott paved that way for me. I'm currently rereading Nicholas Nickleby with another group and, having it in mind, I’m thinking Jo’s progressive ideas for her school for boys may have been Alcott’s response to Yorkshire-type schools. (Though, of course, her main influence for this new type of school had to have been her father Bronson.)

I have no clue as to what my reaction would be to this book if I hadn’t absorbed it as a child, so my childhood five-stars remain. Even Alcott wearied of writing “moral pap for the young” (her words), but there was a family to bring out of poverty, something at which her father was hopeless, as he apparently was meant for more transcendental things. (Yet even the Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, a family friend, was more of a support for the Alcott family.) I don’t remember what I thought of the moralizing sections when I was a child—I’m guessing not much, if anything at all, as they would’ve fit with my Catholic-school upbringing—but what’s interesting to me now is what Alcott was able to slip in within the sentiment, including a bold reference to a "quadroon" boy and her attempt to debunk stereotypes about spinsters (she may have felt ‘forced’ to marry off her alter-ego Jo, but Alcott herself remained single).

This edition is not the one I read as a child. This Little Women is comprised of the original separate editions of the two parts, which were combined about ten years later (in 1880) into one volume: at that time the publishers made revisions Alcott probably didn’t want and wasn't involved in, congratulating themselves on those changes being what boosted sales. From what I remember of my childhood readings, these alterations must’ve been heavier in the Second Part of Little Women than in the First, but that's just a guess.

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April 25: I suppose there might've been several good reasons I didn't reread Little Men as a child, and not just that I didn't own the book, as my adult reread of this did not go nearly as well as my recent reread of Little Women. Though there are welcome instances of humor, racial equality and gender reversals (a new boy at the school is referred to in a completely positive way as the "daughter" of the Bhaers), there are probably too many characters for any one to make an impression and that includes Nan, a reincarnation of Jo. But my main issue was with the interminable moralizing, more heavy-handed in this volume than in Little Women, though I forgive Alcott as I know she wrote this to fulfill a demand in order to support her fatherless nephews.

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May 30: My reread of Jo's Boys was a much better experience than my reread of Little Men (see paragraph above), the only botheration for me in this final volume of the March family being with so much 'telling-rather-than-showing'. The confrontation of social issues, such as the rights of women and Native Americans, was very welcome, as were the rather dark adventures of two of the "boys".


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Ebook The Complete Little Women Collection read Online! As A.M. Barnard:
Behind a Mask, or a Woman's Power (1866)
The Abbot's Ghost, or Maurice Treherne's Temptation (1867)
A Long Fatal Love Chase (1866 – first published 1995)
First published anonymously:
A Modern Mephistopheles (1877)

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832. She and her three sisters, Anna, Elizabeth and May were educated by their father, philosopher/ teacher, Bronson Alcott and raised on the practical Christianity of their mother, Abigail May.

Louisa spent her childhood in Boston and in Concord, Massachusetts, where her days were enlightened by visits to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s library, excursions into nature with Henry David Thoreau and theatricals in the barn at Hillside (now Hawthorne’s "Wayside").

Like her character, Jo March in Little Women, young Louisa was a tomboy: "No boy could be my friend till I had beaten him in a race," she claimed, " and no girl if she refused to climb trees, leap fences...."

For Louisa, writing was an early passion. She had a rich imagination and often her stories became melodramas that she and her sisters would act out for friends. Louisa preferred to play the "lurid" parts in these plays, "the villains, ghosts, bandits, and disdainful queens."

At age 15, troubled by the poverty that plagued her family, she vowed: "I will do something by and by. Don’t care what, teach, sew, act, write, anything to help the family; and I’ll be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I won’t!"

Confronting a society that offered little opportunity to women seeking employment, Louisa determined "...I will make a battering-ram of my head and make my way through this rough and tumble world." Whether as a teacher, seamstress, governess, or household servant, for many years Louisa did any work she could find.

Louisa’s career as an author began with poetry and short stories that appeared in popular magazines. In 1854, when she was 22, her first book Flower Fables was published. A milestone along her literary path was Hospital Sketches (1863) based on the letters she had written home from her post as a nurse in Washington, DC as a nurse during the Civil War.

When Louisa was 35 years old, her publisher Thomas Niles in Boston asked her to write "a book for girls." Little Women was written at Orchard House from May to July 1868. The novel is based on Louisa and her sisters’ coming of age and is set in Civil War New England. Jo March was the first American juvenile heroine to act from her own individuality; a living, breathing person rather than the idealized stereotype then prevalent in children’s fiction.

In all, Louisa published over 30 books and collections of stories. She died on March 6, 1888, only two days after her father, and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.


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