Louisa May Alcott. An enigma.

Louisa May Alcott
November 29, 1832-March 6, 1888

“Louisa Alcott’s life was no children’s book: she worked as a servant, a seamstress, and a Civil War nurse before becoming a millionaire celebrity writing “moral pap for the young,” as she called it. Under pen names, (A M Barnard and Flora Fairfield) and anonymously, she also wrote stories with enough drugs, sex and crime to prove the author was no “little” woman. When she died, Alcott took her secret identity as a pulp fiction writer with her, and kept it for nearly a half-century.”

“Raised in the center of 19th century New England’s great transcendentalist and abolitionist movements, Louisa May Alcott learned about literature from Emerson, went on nature walks with Thoreau and saw the Civil War up close as an army nurse. Her story is also the story of three eras of American history: the Romantic Transcendental period, the Civil War, and the Gilded Age.”

This is the home where Louisa lived when she
wrote “Little Women.” It is a lovely old East
Coast house but it sure looks cold to me.

“The Louisa May Alcott people think they know was a New England spinster who wrote popular children’s books. The real Louisa Alcott wrote hundreds of works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama. She was bold, romantic, and witty, and she was a woman who had secrets. One of them was her double literary life. Alcott’s secret authorship of racy thrillers remained undiscovered years after her death.”

Does this surprise you?
No doubt, as it certainly took me back a step.
In spite of this revelation LMA still remains one of
my all-time favorite writers.

About two years ago I listed this complete nine volume ‘Plumfield Edition’ collection on eBay. They are all hardback with the original dust jackets. The series was published in 1915 by Grosset & Dunlap in Great Britain. It took me nearly 10 years to collect them all, especially in this beautiful condition. They are much nicer than my lousy picture shows.

A Garland For Girls
An Old-Fashioned Girl
Eight Cousins
Jack and Jill
Jo’s Boys
Little Men
Little Women
Rose In Bloom
Under The Lilacs

After being listed for so long without a bite, imagine my surprise when someone wanted to purchase them today for their “Best Offer” price of $75.00 for the collection. The set is worth twice that. I had an immediate panic attack at the prospect of my beautiful set being sold! Call me crazy because afterall I did list it with a sale in mind. I quickly went into eBay and cancelled the listing deciding I loved the set too much and didn’t want to sell it afterall. When I went to get the picture of the books for this blog write-up, I found that the same person had come back, under a different eBay name, and purchased them for the full-price. What?

How can that be? I had cancelled the listing in the morning! Something obviously went sideways. Anyway, I refunded her purchase amount in full and wrote her saying that I had decided to keep them in my own personal library afterall and that I was sorry to disappoint her. (I might get negative feedback for it, but I still have my beautiful books!)

In her own words, Lousia May Alcott wrote:
“If it were not for the blessed fact that everything has its comic
as well as tragic side, I should have lost my wits long ago.”

I couldn’t agree more!


One response to this post.

  1. Lauralee, this information was quite a shock to me – a person who grew up absolutely loving LMA. But, this doesn’t lessen my admiration for her. She seems more real, now, actually.

    But, aside from learning about her other literary life, I think you were very wise to keep the set. Good decision.


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