Little Women
  • Publication Date: June 11, 2001
  • ISBN: 9781551111919 / 1551111918
  • 619 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Little Women

  • Publication Date: June 11, 2001
  • ISBN: 9781551111919 / 1551111918
  • 619 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Little Women, Louisa May Alcott’s masterpiece of Children’s literature, is the story of the March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Living in a small Massachusetts town, the girls and Mrs. March must make do while Mr. March is away serving as an Army Chaplain during the Civil War. At the story’s center lies Jo who, as she approaches adulthood, must reconcile her duties to her family with her desire to become a successful writer.

The many appendices in this Broadview edition include materials on the early women’s movement, the novel’s composition, and Alcott’s literary influences.


“Broadview Press’s Little Women provides a definitive text along with the most comprehensive historical overview yet offered. Alton not only gives us a text based on the first edition, she also presents the genesis and development of Alcott’s most famous novel using the author’s own public and private writings. For the first time in one edition, we now have the complete story of the March family! It is a wonderful scholarly achievement that has long been overdue.” — Daniel Shealy, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

“Anne Hiebert Alton’s edition for Broadview is unique in supplementing the text with Alcott’s sources for and correspondence about the novel, with those of Alcott’s works that she attributes to Jo and her sisters, selections from the text that she alludes to most frequently, such as Pilgrim’s Progress, and excerpts that demonstrate Alcott’s feminism. A number of these selections are not readily accessible elsewhere, and some will prove unfamiliar even to Alcott scholars. Alton and Broadview are to be commended for bringing them together in a single volume.” — Elizabeth Keyser, Hollins University

Louisa May Alcott: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
List of Abbreviations

Little Women, or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy

Appendix A: The Composition and Publication of Little Women

  1. Entries from Louisa May Alcott’s Journals about Little Women
  2. A Manuscript Page of Little Women
  3. Correspondence concerning Little Women
  4. Nineteenth-Century comments/reviews of Little Women

Appendix B: The Sources for Little Women

  1. Louisa May Alcott’s Journal entries
  2. Early versions of Little Women stories:
    1. “The Sister’s Trial”
    2. “Merry’s Monthly Chat”
    3. “My Polish Boy”

Appendix C: The March Girls’ Writings

  1. “Norna; or, The Witches’ Curse”
  2. “Aunt Sue’s Scrap Bag” from Merry’s Museum
  3. “The Masked Marriage”
  4. “The Greek Slave”
  5. “The Rival Painters”

Appendix D: Literary Influences

  1. Bronson Alcott’s Influence
  2. Louisa May Alcott’s comments about books & reading
  3. Jean de La Fontaine, “The Jay in Peacock’s Feathers”
  4. Hans Christian Andersen, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”
  5. “The King & the Beggarmaid” tales
  6. Selections from John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress

Appendix E: Feminist Issues

  1. Excerpts from the Proceedings of the Women’s Rights Convention
  2. Selections from Louisa May Alcott’s journals & letters
  3. “Louisa M. Alcott’s Defence of Woman Suffrage”
  4. Selections from Louisa May Alcott’s other writings

Works Cited & Recommended Reading

Anne Hiebert Alton is Assistant Professor of English at Central Michigan University. She has published on children’s literature and on Victorian literature.