Critical Insights: Little Women

Critical Insights Series

The series focuses on an individual author's entire body of work, a single work of literature, or a literary theme.

At a Glance
  • 1 Volume; 300 Pages
  • 10-14 essays offering Current Critical Analysis by Top Literary Scholars
  • Introductory Essay by the Editor
  • Chronology of Author's Life
  • Complete List of Author's Works
  • Publication Dates of Works
  • Detailed Bio of the Editor
  • General Bibliography
  • General Subject Index
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Editor: Greg Eiselein, Anne Phillips
March 2015 · 1 volume · 300 pages · 6"x9"

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Print Purchase
ISBN: 978-1-61925-427-5
# of Pages: 300
# of Volumes: 1
Print List Price: $105
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e-ISBN: 978-1-61925-428-2
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In-depth critical discussions of Louisa May Alcott's novel - Plus complimentary, unlimited online access to the full content of this great literary reference.

Edited by Gregory Eiselein, professor of English and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar at Kansas State University, and Anne K. Phillips, associate professor of English at Kansas State University, Critical Insights: Little Women explores one of the most beloved classics in United States literary history. This novel’s ability to induce such attachments to its characters and their circumstances may be at the heart of what has made Alcott’s book such an important piece of American literary history and such a surprising cultural icon.

Understanding Little Women’s unique place in literary and cultural history should begin with Alcott’s unique upbringing and cultural context, aspects of which she vividly synthesized to shape a novel that absorbs and embodies the era, but also innovatively challenges certain social and cultural conventions, directly and indirectly. While the novel does provide moral lessons, about controlling one’s anger or helping those who are poor and hungry, for example, Little Women also offers more subversive perspectives on childhood, gender, marriage, and the role of women in families and society.


The present volume examines Little Women from a variety of points of view. Indeed, a special focus of this volume involves the many different kinds of critical perspectives that can be—and have been—employed when examining Alcott’s masterwork. In particular, the present volume emphasizes how the novel was received by many of its earlier readers and the variety of ways in which it can be interpreted by readers today.

Each essay is 2,500 to 5,000 words in length, and all essays conclude with a list of "Works Cited," along with endnotes. Finally, the volume's appendixes offer a section of useful reference resources:

About This Volume
Critical Context: Original Introductory Essays
Critical Readings: Original In-Depth Essays
Further Readings
Detailed Bibliography
Detailed Bio of the Editor
General Subject Index