This work surveys the critical conversation regarding Alcott's achievement from all standard critical perspectives: social, gender-based, post-modern, psychological, and cultural.
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.
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.
The editors have focused on what students would be most interested in and what they would need to know about Little Women and the context in which it was produced.
Critical Insights 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.
Critical Contexts Essays have been prepared by some of the world’s most distinguished experts on Alcott and her writings. The essays aim to provide a background to the title, author, or theme that is an historical, cultural, and biographical foundation for the reader.
The Critical Readings section addresses a range of issues relevant to a twenty-first century reader’s consideration of Little Women. These essays utilize common critical approaches to further analyze the author's work.
Each essay is 2,500-5,000 words in length and all essays conclude with a list of "Works Cited," along with endnotes.
Additional Resources include:
- Chronology of Louisa May Alcott's Life
- Works by Louisa May Alcott
- About the Editors