Biography of Louise May Alcott (1832-1888)

Louise May Alcott.

American storyteller, born in Germantown (suburb of Philadelphia) on November 29, 1832 and died in Concord (Boston) on March 6, 1888. Author of a singular narrative production which, following the simpler models of the traditional novel, delves with simplicity and subtlety in the everyday life of the women of her time to finish proposing a few moderately innovative female role models, is universally known for its series entitled little women (1868-1869), which recounts the adventures of the family and the sentimental education of four sisters growing up together in a new England town in the middle of the 19th century.

In this U.S. State spent the childhood of small Louise May, whose father, the philosopher and educator Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888), had founded a utopian community (named by him idyllic of Fruitlands) which attempted to put into practice its advanced educational methods, inspired by his deep spirituality and defended at the time by the thinker transcendentalistas postulates in Massachusettsessayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1888). The utopian idealism of Mr Alcott plunged his family into poverty - autobiographical feature easily traceable in the subsequent narrative work of his daughter-, which began to escape all the clan as a result of the success achieved by Louis May after the publication of Little women (little women, 1868-1869). But this was not the first time that the determined writer voluntarily assumed the Mission of contributing to the family support, since it had already warned from his early youth that its parent, too dispersed in its theoretical speculation, not obtained sufficient income to maintain his wife and their four daughters.

He grew up, surrounded by great intellectuals who honored with his friendship to Amos Bronson Alcott - like the aforementioned Emerson, or also transcendentalistas Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) and Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) - therefore, and, at the same time, forced to withdraw from their philosophical speculations to go in search of some money that could help alleviate the hardships that passed through his family. Thus, he/she worked first as tutor and later as Assistant, until the outbreak of the American civil war (1860-1865) led her to abandon these short-term jobs to enlist among voluntary nurses. Already had, by then, incubated the project earn a life dedicated to the cultivation of literary creation, project became reality in full War conflagration, when a typhoid fever contracted in unsanitary hospitals of the time forced it to abort his volunteering to convalesce for a long time at home.

In fact, Louise May Alcott took this forced retirement to collect letters that had been sent to their relatives during the war in a volume entitled Hospital Sketches (scenes of hospital, 1863), which provided him with a certain literary reputation and enabled him to continue to publish some stories in The Atlantic Monthly, which obtained the first salaries that contributed to the maintenance of his family already as a writer. Encouraged by these early successes, in the mid-1960s published a gothic novel entitled The marble woman (the Lady of marble, 1865), work, targeting a youth audience, from its very conception has been recovered recently by feminist critique as one of the first raids of the American narrative in contemporary women's issues.

It was not, however, this book a great remedy for the financial problems of the Alcott family, greatly aggravated by the misery inherent in the armed conflict affecting much of the U.S. population. It was then when, driven by an urgent economic need, Louis May Alcott decided to become novelistic material to the history of his own family, based on memories and experiences of his childhood and adolescence you were setting up on the role the adventures of four sisters March (Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy), main characters of Little women (little women, 1868-1869). In this authentic best-seller of the universal youth narrative, Philadelphia writer described the avatars daily of a family of New England consisting of four sisters who, throughout the story, are leaving behind childhood into an adult world full of difficulties, which include job-search-related problems and domesticthe adaptation to the society of their environment and the first claims of marriage. With serene and firm pulse who intentionally uses, not infrequently, the sentimentality and kitsch (concessions - it seems necessary - young readers of the time), Louise May Alcott drew on this work a magnificent fresco realistic mid-19th-century American middle classes, no Dodge in no time these pedagogical concerns inherited from his father nor renounce certain timid progressive proposals to renew the traditional sentimental education until then to the women. He/She managed, therefore not only that thousands of young American readers of his time is fully identify with the longings and frustrations of the March sisters, but for nearly a century and half, millions of readers of any age conmovieran with the joys and sorrows of those four girls that, ultimately, embody one of the most widespread universal myths in all cultures: painful traffic of the happy childhood to the rough edges of adulthood. Was precisely the universal validity of the subjects, topics and motifs treated by Louise May Alcott in little women which sparked, already in the 20th century, several film versions that enjoyed wide acceptance among the spectators from around the world, as the shot and produced in 1949 by the American filmmaker Mervyn LeRoy (with some performers of the stature of Her Geisman(, Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh, Peter Lawford and Lucile Watson), or the more recent (1994) by Australian Director Gilliam Armstrong (which involved, among others, Gabriel Byrne and Susan Sarandon).

Thanks to the success of sales who immediately got little women, the Alcott family could cope with all its debts and begin to live with clearance; However, the writer failed to ever recover from the sequels that had left her serious illness contracted during the civil war, so, despite the literary recognition and the economic bonanza, spent the last years of his life in constant suffering, suffering from permanent a tiredness and weakness. Age of maturity were overshadowed, in addition, by the death of her mother and her younger sister, May, who left a small orphan whose breeding and education was Louise May Alcott. Despite all these sufferings, the author of Philadelphia took encouragement to extend the publishing success of little women in other many juvenile stories of identical domestic setting and similar autobiographical inspiration, as An Old-Fashioned Girl (1870), Aunt Jo completo Scrap Bag (consisting of six volumes which appeared between 1872-82), the SMA (1871), Eight Cousins (1875), Rose in Bloom (1876) and Jo's boys (Jo's boys1886). Also tried to revalidate among male readers broadcast obtained by little women, with a narration of uneven approach - Little men (men, 1871) - which, although also it has enjoyed enormous popularity since its publication to the present day, failed to go back to the levels of success achieved by his masterpiece.

The fame that reported you the splendid film versions of his novels led to the contemporary criticism track among his lesser-known works, which in turn gave rise to the reissue of these texts under Louise May Alcott and a remarkable acceptance of them not only among young readers, but also among the adult audience from around the world. They saw the light, the late recovery of his work, some stories as interesting as Work-driven: A Story of Experience (1873), in which Philadelphia writer cast hand of its vicissitudes of youth within the working world to refer to the story of a poor girl who busily fighting for their survival by accepting different potential and low-skilled jobs. Also be reedited some of the Gothic novels that Louise May Alcott published under pseudonym between 1863 and 1869, when writing busily to keep yours with the publication of these texts in the media; These minor texts were compiled and republished in the mid-1970s, in two volumes entitled Behind a Mask (1975) and Plots and Counterplots (1976). Finally, in 1987 it was A Modern Mephistopheles, a Gothic story, originally published in 1877 under the pseudonym, it recounts the adventures of a failed poet who uses a Faustian Pact in a desperate attempt to win the celebrity denied his work; and, in 1995, came from the press another gothic novel of the author of little women, entitled A Long Fatal Love Chase, written in 1866 and was never edited until then.