Louisa May Alcott, 1832-1888



Louisa May Alcott was born in Pennsylvania in 1832. At an early age, Louisa and her family -filled with financial problems- moved to Concord, New Hampshire, where prominent American author and close friend of the Alcott's, Ralph Waldo Emerson, helped the family to set up residence. Later on Louisa's publisher, Thomas Niles, told her that he wanted "a girls story" from her. Having spent her life with three of the most interesting girls, Louisa wrote for two and a half months and produced Little Women based on her own experiences growing up as a young women with three other sisters. The novel, published in 1868, was an instant success and sold more than 2,000 copies immediately. Alcott's story had launched her into stardom and helped to alleviate the family's financial problems. Needing a break, Louisa and her youngest sister headed off to Europe in 1870. The next few years, however, saw Alcott's career grow and grow as book after book was published and enjoyed by a huge audience of young readers. In 1871 Little Men was published. During this time, Alcott was active in the women's suffrage movement, and she became the first woman in Concord to register to vote. She died in Boston, leaving a legacy in wonderful books to be admired and cherished for generations to come.

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Fiction, juvenile literature
The story starts from the years of the American Civil War and is set in a quiet Massachusetts town. Meg, Jo, Bert, and Amy March are raised in genteel poverty by their loving mother Marmee. Their father serves as a Civil War preacher. The girls entertain themselves by producing plays and a weekly newspaper. Soon they befriend Theodore Lawrence, who is the grandson of a rich old man. Some years pass. Meg marries Laurie's tutor John Brooke, Beth's health deteriorates and eventually dies from scarlet fever. Laurie falls in love with Jo, but he is turned down and flees with his grandfather to Europe. Amy and Laurie became engaged abroad. Jo's choices are crucial for the development of the events. Jo vows never to marry. She wants to be a journalist, but she is frustrated with her role and tight Christian values. She goes to New York and continues to write. Finally Jo marries Professor Bhaer, an older scholar from Germany, although he has discouraged her writing. Together they set up a school for boys.

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