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Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother

Eve LaPlante.
Publisher Simon & Schuster  
Format paperback
ISBN 9781451620672
Pages/Publication Date 368/2013
Daedalus Item Code 49058
This item is not available.
(One of NPR's Top Ten Books of 2012 and an Indie Next Great Read) Since Louisa May Alcott's Little Women first appeared nearly 150 years ago, Jo March and her calm, stalwart "Marmee" have inspired generations of young women. Biographers have long assumed that it was Louisa's father, outspoken idealist Bronson Alcott, who was the source of her progressive thinking and remarkable independence. But in this myth-exploding dual biography of the author and her mother, Abigail May Alcott emerges from the background as a writer and thinker in her own right—a politically active feminist firebrand and an opinionated, passionate, ambitious woman. Eve LaPlante—the author of American Jezebel and Salem Witch Judge as well as the editor of a rediscovered trove of her great-aunt Abigail's writings—proves that it was Abigail who formed the intellectual and emotional center of Louisa's world. Her difficult life both inspired and served as a warning to her daughters, and she pushed Louisa to excel at writing and to chase her unconventional dreams in a male-dominated world.

"The single most memorable character from a 2012 book ... [is] Louisa May Alcott's mother, Abigail, who is one of the subjects of Eve LaPlante's Marmee & Louisa—someone I knew nothing about and whose activist life and tart, intelligent writing just blew me away."—Salon.com

"LaPlante, a descendant of the Alcotts, pursued this untold story after discovering forgotten journals and letters in an attic trunk. In her skilled hands these documents yield Abigail unabridged: a thinker, writer, activist, wife and mother who held fast to her convictions in the face of terrible suffering.... This is a biography of Louisa, too, and LaPlante makes a compelling case that it was Abigail, not Bronson, who encouraged Louisa not only to channel her considerable energy through writing, but also to pursue publication and to weather the censorship that female writers faced.... In bringing to life the woman who made Louisa May Alcott's work possible, LaPlante shows us that there's even more to admire in the real Abigail than in the fictional Marmee."—Washington Post

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