Born in November, Louisa May Alcott led an exciting life. Besides grabbing the attention of millions of readers, she fought against slavery and worked as a Civil War Nurse.
If you ask any diva about her inspiration, she will take names of a number of powerful women in history. Back in the 1800’s, there was only one woman who was the inspiration of many young lasses. She was none other than the feminist and writer Louisa May Alcott. She took only 10 weeks to write ‘Little Women’. Know some more facts and experiences of Louisa May Alcott here.
As a youngster, Louisa worked as a servant and did several teaching jobs for survival. She became a published writer when she was just 19 years old. Her first poem was published in a woman’s magazine. She used a pen name 'Flora Fairfield than her original name' because she felt she was not a professional writer.
Louisa May Alcott suffered from pneumonia and typhoid. She received a treatment (of mercury compound calomel). Because of this treatment, she hugely suffered from the symptoms of mercury poisoning until her last breath. Furthermore, she also had a weak immune system. She died when she was just 55 years old.
It was in 1867 when the editor Thomas Niles asked Alcott if she wanted to write novel dedicated to girls. She became both excited and nervous as she wouldn’t have much to elaborate on girls because she was a tomboy. Next year her father convinced Thomas Niles to permit her to write about fairytales as she used to write that but editor wanted the novel based only on girls. So to make her father happy, Louisa May Alcott wrote about adolescence and teenagers with the help of her 3 sisters.
She never got married or had biological children but she took care of her niece. Louisa’s youngest sister died after giving a birth to a baby girl. The baby girl ‘Lulu’ spent her entire childhood with Louisa. Lulu was just 8 when Louisa died. She then lived with her father. (12.1)
The novel ‘Little Women’ followed the lives of sisters – Meg, Beth, Amy, and Jo. All the characters in the novel were based on her 3 real-life sisters. Meg was Louisa’s sister Anna, Beth character was based on ‘Lizzie’ who died at 23. Amy was based on May, a Europe based artist who died at 39. And Jo, of course, was Louisa herself.
After impressing millions of people with ‘Little Women’, fans who read the book wanted to travel to Concord to see where the writer grew up. Once, there were hundreds of her fans waited outside the door of Orchard house (family house) to see her. As she didn’t like the social attention, she pretended to be the servant, when she came to the front door to trick her fans.
Still today, many of her fans don’t know that her famous novel ‘Little Women’ has been watched into 7 different movies. The most famous version is the 1933 version that starred Katharine Hepburn and 1944 version that featured Winona Ryder. (12.2)
SOURCE = "20C History Project"
You can even watch the animated Japanese version of Little Women online. You can watch the first two episodes in this video.
Louisa and her family also served as station masters. Besides this, Alcott also served as a nurse in the Union hospital located in Georgetown, D.C. for nearly six weeks, during which she caught by typhoid and quit the serving.
You can’t deny that her book ‘Little Women’ has been an inspiration for the teenage girls. Louisa’s writing was one of the first yet the popular novels to change the perception of young girls and to take a stand for their own strengths and ambitions.
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