29th November marked 184 years since the birth of Louisa May Alcott, the renowned novelist, and author of Little Women. I’m sure most of you will have seen Google’s tribute. It was awesome.
Alcott experienced an unconventional childhood; her upbringing was determined by her family’s (in particular her father) transcendentalist faith. They believed in the inherent goodness of all mankind, however to fully embrace this notion an individual had to be entirely independent and reliant on nature alone. Though there were a number of reasons why the transcendentalist faith quickly dissipated, the most obvious of factors was that such utopian beliefs could not be maintained in a country as volatile and troubled as America then was.
When America’s Civil War hit, Louisa volunteered as a nurse and dedicated any free time to her love of writing. It is during this period that she wrote one of her earliest works, Hospital Sketches. This piece caught the eye of a publisher, who in turn asked her to write a book about girls specifically and thus, Little Women was born.
The book was a success from its initial publication and even at present, remains one of society’s most beloved pieces of literature.