Additional content featured in this edition includes a detailed author biography, a detailed bibliography of Alcott's work -- both the well-known works and the little-known "potboiler" stories originally published anonymously or under pen names -- and footnote annotations, added sparingly, to aid the modern reader with particularly unusual or antiquated words or phrases.
Since its publication Little Women has been a perennial favorite. Based on her experiences growing up with her sisters, Louisa May Alcott's tale was originally published as two separate short novels, "Little Women, or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy" in 1868 and "Good Wives" in 1869. This new large print edition, prepared by human editors and not a machine-scanned process, follows the traditional practice of including those two works as "Part One" and "Part Two" in a single volume titled "Little Women". Part One is an account of the childhood of the fictional March sisters, while Part Two follows them into their respective marriages. While based to some extent on her own experiences and family, the book is not strictly autobiographical. The heroine, Jo, for example is based on Alcott herself, but Alcott never married and the school eventually run by Jo and her husband is most likely based on her father's ultimately unsuccessful school.
Born in 1832 in Germantown Pennsylvania, Alcott's parents were members of the Transcendentalist movement. The family was generally on the brink of poverty, as her father founded a school that failed and them moved his family to a utopian commune which also failed. Other Transcendentalists, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne were visitors in the Alcott home. Louisa's first book, "Flower Fables", was a collection of stories originally written for Emerson's daughter Ellen, and Emerson provided finacial assistance for the purchase, in 1845, of what became the family's home and the setting for many of her stories.
In 1860 Alcott began writing for the Atlantic Monthly, and her brief experience as a nurse in a Civil War hospital formed the basis for "Hospital Sketches", published in 1863 and bringing her critical recognition. After a series of sensationalist books and stories written under the name A. M. Barnard in the mid-1860's, Alcott turned her attention to writing for children and rarely wrote adult-oriented fiction thereafter.
An aboltionist and a feminist, Louisa May Alcott was the first woman to register to vote in Concord Massachusetts. In her later years Alcott suffered recurring health problems, possibly as a result of lupus or an autoimmune disease. She died after suffering a stroke on March 6, 1888.
"Little Men," the sequel to "Little Women," is also available in a handsome large print companion volume.
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About the Author
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) was an American novelist and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys. Raised by her transcendentalist parents, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Little Women is loosely based on Alcott's childhood experiences with her three sisters.