Soon after its publication on September 30, 1868, Little Women became an enormous bestseller and one of America's favorite novels. It quickly traveled the world and since has become an international classic. When Anne Boyd Rioux read it in her twenties, it had a singularly powerful effect on her.Read more...
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Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company$16.95
Soon after its publication on September 30, 1868, Little Women became an enormous bestseller and one of America's favorite novels. It quickly traveled the world and since has become an international classic. When Anne Boyd Rioux read it in her twenties, it had a singularly powerful effect on her. Through teaching it, she has seen its effect on many others.
In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, she recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write the book, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. She also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore the country apart, has resonated through later wars, the Great Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women.
Alcott's novel has moved generations of women, among them many writers. Simone de Beauvoir, J. K. Rowling, bell hooks, Cynthia Ozick, Jane Smiley, Margo Jefferson, and Ursula K. Le Guin were all inspired by Little Women, particularly its portrait of the iconoclastic young writer, Jo. Many women writers have felt as Anna Quindlen has declared, "Little Women changed my life."
Today, Rioux sees the novel's beating heart in its portrayal of family resilience and its honest look at the struggles of girls growing into women. In gauging its current status, she shows why it remains a book with such power that people carry its characters and spirit throughout their lives.
- ISBN-13: 9780393254730
- ISBN-10: 0393254739
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
- Publish Date: August 2018
- Page Count: 288
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
The enduring, eternal appeal of the March sisters
Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, first published in 1868, was an almost instantaneous success. Today it’s often considered a book for young girls, but in the years following its publication, men, women and children alike embraced the tale of the four March sisters. The girls’ roles in their family and paths to adulthood in many ways resembled the experiences of Alcott and her own three sisters. It’s a relatable story that continues to captivate modern audiences and writers like Jane Smiley, Anna Quindlen and Simone de Beauvoir. As Little Women marks its 150th anniversary, author and scholar Anne Boyd Rioux, a professor at the University of New Orleans and scholar of 19th-century literature, looks back at its inception and influence in Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters.
A passionate and serious writer, Alcott dreamed of literary success, but she didn’t imagine she would attain it with a children’s book. She wasn’t above writing for the sake of money, though, and so Alcott accepted her publisher’s request that she write a book for girls. This project would eventually become Little Women.
In the generations since its release, the book has been adapted for stage and film and has influenced children’s literature and produced literary heroines who follow in Jo March’s footsteps (Katniss Everdeen, anyone?). Little Women’s feminist undertones also continue to encourage readers to reimagine expectations for women and girls.
Rioux’s extensive research invites lifelong Little Women fans and new readers alike to dive deeply into the worlds of Alcott and the Marches. Along the way, they’ll uncover the novel’s inspiration and influence and grow to appreciate its ongoing significance, even 150 years later.