Marmee & Louisa

Marmee & Louisa

The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother

Book - 2012
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Based on newly uncovered family papers, this groundbreaking and intensely moving portrait of Louisa May Alcott's relationship with her mother will completely transform our understanding of one of America's most beloved authors.

Louisa May Alcott was one of the most successful and bestselling authors of her day, earning more than any of her male contemporaries. Her classic Little Women has been a mainstay of American literature since its release nearly 150 years ago, as Jo March and her calm, beloved "Marmee" have shaped and inspired generations of young women. Biographers have consistently attributed Louisa's uncommon success to her father, Bronson Alcott, assuming that this outspoken idealist was the source of his daughter's progressive thinking and remarkable independence.

But in this riveting dual biography, award-winning biographer Eve LaPlante explodes these myths, drawing from a trove of surprising new documents to show that it was Louisa's actual "Marmee," Abigail May Alcott, who formed the intellectual and emotional center of her world. Abigail, whose difficult life both inspired and served as a warning to her devoted daughters, pushed Louisa to excel at writing and to chase her unconventional dreams in a male-dominated world.

In Marmee & Louisa, LaPlante, Abigail's great-niece and Louisa's cousin, re-creates their shared story from diaries, letters, and personal papers, some recently discovered in a family attic and many others that were thought to have been destroyed. Here at last Abigail is revealed in her full complexity--long dismissed as a quiet, self-effacing background figure, she comes to life as a fascinating writer and thinker in her own right. A politically active feminist firebrand, she was a highly opinionated, passionate, ambitious woman who fought for universal civil rights, publicly advocating for abolition, women's suffrage, and other defin-ing moral struggles of her era.

In this groundbreaking work, LaPlante paints an exquisitely moving and utterly convincing portrait of a woman decades ahead of her time, and the fiercely independent daughter whose life was deeply entwined with her mother's dreams of freedom. This gorgeously written story of two extraordinary women is guaranteed to transform our view of one of America's most beloved authors.
Publisher: New York : Free Press, c2012.
ISBN: 9781451620665
Characteristics: ix, 368 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill., map, ports. ;,25 cm.


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Jun 18, 2013

If you want to learn about the beginnings of the women's sufferage movement, this is the book.
Also, the struggle for emancipation
Well documented and well written

Jun 05, 2013

How did 18th-century people find the time to write so many letters and to keep journals ? Did they all have servants ?
Abigail May Alcott and her daughter, author Louisa May Alcott, lived during the time of the Civil War, negro emancipation, increasing urbanization of America, and birth pangs of feminism. Louisa May Alcott never married or had children, but she gave us terrific female characters and female experiences based on Abigail Alcott's lifelong journals and letters and on her own journals and experiences growing up with an improvident father and an intelligent, hard-working mother.
Eve LaPlante provides a wide-ranging account of the women in Louisa and Abigail Alcott's immediate families as well as their ancestors and their descendants. Well-documented from journal and letter sources.

ChristchurchLib Jan 15, 2013

"Biographer Eve LaPlante, distantly related to novelist Louisa May Alcott, found previously unknown Alcott family papers in her mother's attic. Drawing on that trove of information, LaPlante paints a detailed portrait of 19th-century feminist and writer Abigail Alcott and her daughter, Louisa May. LaPlante's account in Marmee & Louisa provides a fresh perspective on Louisa May's life and work and on Abigail's significant accomplishments - as well as the challenges that she and her family faced as a result of her husband Bronson's neglect." January 2013 Biography and Memoir Newsletter

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