Books

Little Women

Louisa Alcott (and others)

A timeless classic story, Louisa Alcott's Little Women is brought to life on this abridged, downloadable audiobook by Kate Harper.

Meg is the eldest and on the brink of love. Then there's tomboy Jo who longs to be a writer. Sweet-natured Beth always puts others first, and finally there's Amy, the youngest and most precocious. Together they are the March sisters. Even though money is short, times are tough and their father is away at war, their infectious sense of fun sweeps everyone up in their adventures - including Laurie, the boy next door. And through sisterly squabbles, their happy times and sad ones too, the sisters discover that growing up is sometimes very hard to do.

Little Women

Louisa Alcott (and others)

This Penguin Classics edition of Louisa May Alcott's inspiring tale of sisterhood, Little Women, is edited with an introduction by Elaine Showalter.

The charming story of four 'little women' - Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth - and their wise and patient mother Marmee, was an instant success when first published in 1868. Enduring hardships and enjoying adventures in Civil War New England, the March sisters have been adored for generations. Readers have rooted for Laurie in his pursuit of Jo's hand, cried over little Beth's death, and dreamed of travelling through Europe with old Aunt March and Amy. Future writers have found inspiration in Jo's devotion to her writing. In this simple, enthralling tale, both parts of which are included here, Louisa May Alcott has created four of American literature's most beloved women.

In her enlightening, thoughtful introduction, Elaine Showalter discusses Louisa May Alcott's influences, and her aspirations for Little Women, as well as the impact the novel has had on such women writers as Joyce Carol Oates and Cynthia Ozick. This edition also includes notes on the text by Siobhan Kilfeather and Vinca Showalter.

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) grew up surrounded by American writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Drawing on her experience as a volunteer nurse in the Union Army during the American Civil War, she published Hospital Sketches in 1863, followed by gothic romances and lurid thrillers such as A Modern Mephistopheles and A Long Fatal Love Chase. In 1868, she published Little Women, which proved so popular that it was followed by two sequels.

If you enjoyed Little Women you might like Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters, also available in Penguin Classics.

Biography

Louisa May Alcott wrote her first novel, The Inheritance, at age seventeen, but it went unpublished for nearly 150 years until 1997, after two researchers (Joel Myerson and Daniel Shealy) stumbled across the handwritten manuscript in the Houghton Library at Harvard University. Of course, Ms. Alcott is best known for a different novel, Little Women, which she wrote in two parts. The first volume, alternately titled Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, was published in 1868, and the second volume, Good Wives, was published in 1869. Like Jo in Little Women, Louisa also wrote many "blood and thunder" tales, which were published in popular periodicals of the day. She did not openly claim authorship for many of these Gothic thriller stories, however: for some, she used the pseudonym, "A. M. Barnard"; for others, she chose to remain completely anonymous.