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Little Women

Little Women

An Annotated Edition

Louisa May Alcott

Edited by Daniel Shealy

ISBN 9780674059719

Publication date: 05/13/2013

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Little Women has delighted and instructed readers for generations. For many, it is a favorite book first encountered in childhood or adolescence. Championed by Gertrude Stein, Simone de Beauvoir, Theodore Roosevelt, and J. K. Rowling, it is however much more than the “girls’ book” intended by Louisa May Alcott’s first publisher. In this richly annotated, illustrated edition, Daniel Shealy illuminates the novel’s deep engagement with issues such as social equality, reform movements, the Civil War, friendship, love, loss, and of course the passage into adulthood.

The editor provides running commentary on biographical contexts (Did Alcott, like Jo, have a “mood pillow”?), social and historical contexts (When may a lady properly decline a gentleman’s invitation to dance?), literary allusions (Who is Mrs. Malaprop?), and words likely to cause difficulty to modern readers (What is a velvet snood? A pickled lime?). With Shealy as a guide, we appreciate anew the confusions and difficulties that beset the March sisters as they overcome their burdens and journey toward maturity and adulthood: beautiful, domestic-minded Meg, doomed and forever childlike Beth, selfish Amy, and irrepressible Jo. This edition examines the novel’s central question: How does one grow up well?

Little Women: An Annotated Edition offers something for everyone. It will delight both new and returning readers, young and old, male and female alike, who will want to own and treasure this beautiful edition full of color illustrations and photographs.

Praise

  • [Shealy has] set out to contextualize and illustrate the social, political, historical and literary realities that underpin this wonderful and radical novel… What makes the book so glorious [is] the illustrations. From the earliest frontispieces to the green playbill for the Concord Players, the balance of text to image is well judged… For those of us who have an abiding affection [for Little Women], it’s an utter treat.

    —Kate Mosse, The Times

Author

  • Daniel Shealy has edited or co-edited eleven books about Louisa May Alcott, including The Journals of Louisa May Alcott. He is Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Book Details

  • 640 pages
  • 9 x 9-1/2 inches
  • Belknap Press

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