The Louisa May Alcott Encyclopedia

by Gregory Eiselein, Anne K. Phillips, ed.

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Cover image for The Louisa May Alcott Encyclopedia

February 2001


Pages 440
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics The Arts/General
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Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) is arguably the most widely read 19th-century author in America. Even through the 1990s, her books continued to appear on bestseller lists and her works were made into films. She has long been a staple of children's literature courses and now also receives significant attention in American studies and women's studies classes. While her tremendous popularity has yielded numerous biographies and a growing number of critical works, very few reference books have been devoted to Alcott studies and none are particularly current or complete. This book collects in a comprehensive and reliable single volume the most important facts about Alcott's life and works.

This reference surveys the basic biographical details about Alcott's family and personal life. It supplies essential information on her historical and cultural contexts, including her place in the 19th century publishing milieu, various reform movements, and major historical events, such as the Civil War. It also treats her writings, both the adult and children's works, in an accurate, informative, and accessible manner. The volume includes more than 600 alphabetically arranged entries. Each entry discusses the topic's relevance to Alcott's life and current scholarship about her. Many of the entries close with brief bibliographies, and the book concludes with a list of works for further reading.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Madeleine B. SternIntroductionThe Louisa May Alcott EncyclopediaSelected Bibliography: Louisa May Alcott's WritingsSelected Bibliography: Critical Writings on Louisa May AlcottIndex



Recommended for university and public libraries with strong American literature or women's studies collections.—Choice

Any reference that one would want to know about Louisa May Alcott and her writing can be found within this book. The reference descriptions of characters, books, and articles written by Alcott, as well as people who were influential in her life are listed alphabetically and in bold-faced print, thus making topics easier to find. A high school English class that is reading works by Alcott will find this book helpful in describing people or places that she makes reference to in her writing. It is also a fun book to look through; the reader will learn facts about Alcott and her family that is not common knowledge.—Iowa Reading Journal

[T]his is a comprehensive work that will be helpful to Alcott scholars in many ways on a number of levels.—The Lion and the Unicorn

Libraries that might want to purchase it would have patrons interested in New England and Boston history, 19th century high and popular culture, women's history and feminism, American Transcendentalism, utopian communes, and children's literature....For both Alcott's ^ILittle Women^R and Charlotte Bronte's ^IJane Eyre^R-one of Alcott's own favorite books-fiction and fact are inextricably intertwined, and untangling the relationship between them gives great pleasure. This book enhances that pleasure.—Catholic Library World

College-level students of Alcott's works will find the ^ILouisa May Alcott Encyclopedia^R to be a fine reference examining the biographical details of Alcott's life and family. [T]he ^ILouisa May Alcott Encyclopedia^R provides an excellent reference.—The Bookwatch

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