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Who Is Louisa May Alcott?

Louisa May Alcott is best known for the classic children’s novel, Little Women. She lived from 1832 to 1888, in Concord, Massachusetts. She is considered one of America’s best female writers of the nineteenth century.

Her father Amos Bronson Alcott was friends with famous writers Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. All four men were Transcendentalists who shared their ideals, especially on adherence to individuality and spiritualism with Louisa May Alcott.

She and her family believed in women’s rights and the abolishment of slavery. They harbored an escaped slave for a week in 1847. Louisa May Alcott grew up to be a fierce women’s rights advocate and also fought to abolish slavery. During the Civil War, she worked as a nurse in the Union Hospital for six-weeks. She compiled the letters she sent her family into a book.

She began writing at an early age and published Flower Fables, her first novel in 1854. Little Women is her most popular book. It chronicles the lives of four sisters and their mother living in New England during the Civil War. She based her novel largely on herself – as the protagonist Jo – and her personal experiences growing up – her family. Jo has come to be an inspirational character for many young women as she is intelligent and strong. Little Women is taught in many schools. Many mothers also often choose to read the book to their daughters. There are several screen versions of Little Women, the most popular being the 1994 version starring Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder.

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