The annotated Little Women

Louisa May Alcott, 1832-1888

Book - 2016

The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer illuminates the world of Little Women and its author. Since its publication in 1868-69, Little Women, perhaps America's most beloved children's classic, has been handed down from mother to daughter for generations. It has been translated into more than fifty languages and inspired six films, four television shows, a Broadway musical, an opera, and a web series. This lavish four-color edition features over 220 curated illustrations, including stills from the films, art by Norman Rockwell, and iconic children's-book illustrations. Renowned Alcott scholar John Matteson brings his expertise to the book, to the March family it creates, and to the Alcott family who inspired it all. Through nume...rous photographs taken in the Alcott family home expressly for this edition--elder daughter Anna's wedding dress, the Alcott sisters' theater costumes, sister May's art, and Abba Alcott's recipe book--readers discover the extraordinary links between the real and the fictional family. Matteson's annotations evoke the once-used objects and culture of a distant but still-relevant time, situating Alcott's work within the world of art, music and literature that defined and inspired her. The book's rich commentaries bring us back in touch with the books Alcott read, the people she knew, the foods she ate. The introductory essays examine the book's pivotal place in children's literature and tell the captivating story of Alcott herself.--Adapted from book jacket.

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New York : W. W. Norton & Company [2016]
Main Author
Louisa May Alcott, 1832-1888 (author)
Other Authors
John Matteson (editor)
First Edition
Physical Description
lxxvii, 652 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 27 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
  • Introduction: Little pilgrims
  • "We really lived most of it": a biographical note
  • Little women: Preface
  • Part first; Part second
  • Time Line
  • References
  • Further reading.
Review by Library Journal Review

Readers attuned to this sort of book may wonder, weren't we just here? Two years ago saw an annotated edition of Little Women (Belknap: Harvard Univ.) edited by Daniel Shealy, which was attractively packaged and deeply researched but not necessarily a volume one might pick up for fun. Here, editor Matteson (Eden's Outcasts) is at least partly out for a good time. He humanizes Alcott's characters by noting that the March sisters "are who they are because of what they read." Matteson aims to re-create the experience of a March, or an Alcott, and his populist approach should be welcomed by a wide readership. Some of the annotations cover similar information, but the works diverge greatly in depth of content. Despite source overlap for illustrative matter, this new book doesn't recycle the material of the aforementioned one. Matteson thanks Shealy in his acknowledgements and cites two of Shealy's works as further reading, making his text less of a competitor than an audience broadener. VERDICT Readers who found Shealy's title a bit too detailed might do well with this one. Those who appreciated the earlier edition will find Matteson's less enlightening.-Audrey Snowden, Orrington P.L., ME © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.