Friday, September 09, 2005

The real Louisa May Alcott

Lylah M. Alphonse reviews Alcott in Her Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of Her Life, Drawn From Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates (ed. Daniel Shealy) for The Boston Globe.

According to a family friend, Alcott, "preferred penning sensational ''blood-and-thunder" tales dealing with lust, evil, and deception, such as ''A Modern Mephistopheles," to wholesome children's stories including ''An Old-Fashioned Girl," noting in her journal that she had grown ''tired of providing moral pap for the young." Wow! Doesn't the professor object to Jo's writing of such "blood and thunder" tales? (I've always disliked him because of his disdain for her early work--see this earlier post.)

Julian Hawthorne (son of Nathaniel) describes Alcott much like the reader pictures Jo: ''She was a big, lovable, tender-hearted, generous girl, with black hair, thick and long, and flashing, humorous black eyes."

Lylah M. Alphonse recommends Alcott's own "Recollections of My Childhood" (1888) for particular insight into Alcott's (amazing) character.