Little Women; or, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy

Little Women; or, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy- Cover Little Women; or, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy- Frontispiece

Alcott did not originally intend to write her most famous text; she merely agreed when her publisher requested a new novel for young girls. Upon her first submission of a few chapters, both Alcott and her publisher agreed that the text was not particularly exciting, but, when the latter’s niece read this early draft, she loved it, defying Alcott’s expectations and foreshadowing how dearly many American girls would regard the text for years to come. The novel follows the four March sisters as they grow with each other’s and their mother’s help from girls to women with expectations of futures that are not confined solely to marriage. Meg, the most traditionally domestic, lectures her three younger sisters about the importance of becoming “little women”. Jo learns to control her temper without losing her strong personality, and Beth teaches her family patience when she falls drastically ill. Alcott, a feminist and abolitionist, depicts a female-dominated family who are able to be strong, intelligent, and moral on their own.

Lehigh University Catalog Record:

A version of this text has been digitized and is available through the Internet Archive.

Volume 1

Volume 2

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)
Little Women; or, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy
Boston: Roberts Brothers 1868