Read The Best of Louisa May Alcott: A Charming Illustrated Collection of Little Women, Little Men, and 24 Short Stories by Louisa May Alcott Free Online
Book Title: The Best of Louisa May Alcott: A Charming Illustrated Collection of Little Women, Little Men, and 24 Short Stories|
The author of the book: Louisa May Alcott
Date of issue: November 7th 2006
ISBN 13: 9780517100349
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 732 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.2
Read full description of the books:
“A splendid edition–the first contemporary collection of Louisa May Alcott’s novels and stories; one that includes the art of the great nineteenth-century illustrator Frank T. Merrill.”
—Madelon Bedell, author of The Alcotts: Biography of a Family
Louisa May Alcott was a writer who liked to be in intimate touch with the reader. There is a confidential immediacy to her style, often punctuated with sly stabs of satire and irony. One of the principal charms of her writing is her great warmth for her characters, and theirs for one another. Nowhere is this better displayed than in the classics Little Women and Little Men, which are here in their entirety.
The short stories in THE BEST OF LOUISA MAY ALCOTT come from the period of Alcott’s most powerful and mature writing, which began in the 1860s, when she dealt forcibly with real issues and real people. These stories touch on strong human qualities–joy, compassion, humor, courage, dignity, heart-tugging poignancy, guilt, or fancifulness–and portray the moments when those qualities come into focus.
Alcott’s work has a wonderful range. There are delicious romance, like the frankly autobiographical “My Boys,” a rollicking account of some of the author’s experiences, full of her salty, sardonic humor and generosity of spirit. There is also “Cupid and Chow-Chow,” still very relevant today, dealing with courage and guilt, and sexism in the nursery.
There is comedy and suspense in “Clams,” a marvelous ghost story. There are wonderful animal stories, including “Rosa’s Tale,” the heroine ofwhich is a horse, as well as a description of a day at the zoo in “My May-Day Among Curious Birds and Beasts.” There are also holiday stories here, like “An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving,” and two Christmas stories: “How It All Happened,” and “Tessa’s Surprise.”
And perhaps most moving of all is “A Night”, from Hospital Sketches, the story of a nurse’s vigil at the bedside of an extraordinarily brave and dignified soldier wounded in the Civil War.
This charming collection, enhanced by beautiful original illustrations, makes clear the timeless appeal of Louisa May Alcott’s work.
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Read information about the authorAs 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.