#louisa may alcott
I want to do something splendid . . . something heroic or wonderful — that won't be forgotten after I'm dead. I don't know what, but I'm on the watch for it and mean to astonish you all, some day.
—LOUISA MAY ALCOTT, Little Women
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"This is less a question than an observation a huge part of what is disappointing about lot of these adaptations including the Greta Gerwig one, is that it´s 2020 now and folks don´t want to talk about the fact that a huge part of the Bhaer-hate stems from fat-phobia and honestly, that brilliant, goofy, nerdy people don´t make romantic leads and I´m pretty sure Louisa May Alcott would agree. I always imagined someone maybe with Sean Astin´s build playing the part".
This next thing I am going to say is legitimate. You can find Louisa May Alcott novels so you can check this out. In every single Louisa May Alcott novel, where the Louisa type of protagonist falls in love or marries, the romantic partners, they always look the same. They all have the same body type. They are all tall and heavily build. One of Friedrich´s models was the German poet Goethe and if you look at pictures of Goethe, he is this middle-aged man with broad-shoulders and very tall and you know, heavily build and all Louisa May Alcott´s romantic heroes look like that. Some of the have beards, some of the don´t and surprisingly many of them speak with German accents. John Suhre who was a German soldier who Louisa nursed in the war. He was tall and a bit stout, with a brown beard. Louisa wrote into her diary that she found him very handsome and attractive. Adam in Moods and David in Work, the female protagonist is always fixated to their looks and their "manliness" and when Friedrich becomes Jo´s sexual awakening she pays attention to his big hands and to his big feet and she is really lusty over him.
In Jo´s boys when Dan comes back to Plumfield, he has grown a beard. For those of you who have not read Jo´s boys, Dan was one of Jo´s and Friedrich´s students. When he comes back he asks Jo if he should shave the beard or not and Jo is like "don´t do that. It makes you look so manly and handsome" and it is so funny because both Friedrich and Dan are based on Henry Thoreau. Mac in Rose in Bloom, he also has the same body type. He is blonde and he is younger. In Eight Cousins where he is a pre-teen he is described to be a bit "chubby", but then in Rose in Bloom, Mac has a huge growth spurt and suddenly he is taller and he has broad shoulders and Rose, surprise, begins to see him more attractive.
All these men are described to have blue eyes, which is an interesting detail since Henry Thoreau had blue eyes. In away Louisa, she was attracted to the alpha-male. Her ideal man always looks very masculine but they are all very gentle by nature. To Louisa man being heavily build meant that they were big and strong, and they can take care of themselves and other people. People like Greta Gerwig complaining about body type. It is very shallow. People can hire conventionally good looking actors to play Fritz like Rossano Brazzi and Louis Garrel, but it never erases the problem that Jo is never attracted to Laurie, and Laurie´s looks, and the way his and Jo´s relationship has these toxic elements, it´s always missing and all that explains why Jo dumps him in the first place.
Alpha-male for Louisa was also someone who could support their writing, which is what Friedrich does. He encourages her to find her own writing style. There is also some criticism over skinny-looking guys in Little Women. Nat and Laurie are skinny and pretty, more effeminate and the narrator has occasionally criticisms about their "overly-emotional nature", like Laurie. Laurie is often overly-dramatic and Nat is more of a daydreamer, they both are very sensitive. Which raises an interesting question if part of that is about narrator´s dislike about femininity because in the novel, one of Jo´s more masculine qualities is that she denies her own vulnerability which is why I think her arc with Friedrich was so important because the more she tried to deny her vulnerability, the more she felt lost and with Friedrich she could find the balance.
In some ways Louisa connected men being skinny with non-productivity. In Jo´s boys Meg and Jo don´t want Daisy to marry Nat, because they think he is such a daydreamer. Then he travels to Germany to study music and when he comes back to Concord he is more heavily-build. It´s really funny because Meg and Jo are like wow, he looks much better now. I don´t personally share Louisa´s views about skinny guys not being productive but maybe it was based on her own experiences since Julian Hawthorne and Laddie Wisniewski who were real-life Laurie´s. They were pretty but they weren´t always very productive and didn´t really live up to Louisa´s standards. In Finland we have this expression, uusavuton, which means an adult, who doesn´t know how to be an adult, and Laurie and Nat, they are these type of characters. They need strong female guides, like Amy or Daisy to inspire them to grow and to take control over their lives.
To Louisa the alpha-male is a man who combines the masculine and the feminine energy together in a balance, and effectively. Strong but kind, confident but humble. I don´t really know any other writer who has such a clear idea what her ideal man is like. It has a lot to do with taste, but I think Louisa´s love for "masculine men" who were also intellectuals was connected to her own values. She was drawn to men who possessed tender masculinity. I read once that Louisa gave Friedrich elements of European men that she wished that more American men would have. I think there might be some truth to that. I grew up watching lots of Scandinavian film productions, like Astrid Lingren adaptations and there is lots of male characters that look very masculine, or physically strong male characters, but they are passionate and romantic with their partners and they love their kids. So if you know someone who complains about Friedrich´s looks, Louisa wrote Friedrich to be her own ideal man, so if someone has problems with that. They don´t really understand the author.
When Louisa was asked to write little women, she hesitated because her closest friends were all boys, and then her sisters. Knowing Louisa´s love for men and boys and masculinity, it makes a lot of sense that men who she was attracted to also looked that way. There has been lots of research on Louisa´s identification with masculinity and yes, there is a lot of that in Little Women, but in a lot of ways Jo is also a very feminine character, in the way she reads romance novels and when she falls in love, she dreams about marriage and starting a family and she is very maternal, which is something that came naturally to her.
You can watch the full q and a here.
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Crochet Jo enjoyed finding a good climbing tree and smelling the first flower of spring!
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"I am in the garret with my papers round me...while I write my journal, plan stories, and enjoy the patter of rain on the roof, in peace and quiet." from Louisa's Journal, April 1855 #LouisaMayAlcott
So di essere tutto ciò che più si allontana dalla perfezione. Una ragazza quasi più orgogliosa di Mr Darcy. Ribelle quanto Jo March. Una che spesso finisce per rifugiarsi in una vita dipinta di superficialità come Jay Gatsby. Per non parlare del suo essere così insopportabilmente cinica, il suo livello di cinismo supera addirittura quello di Lord Henry. Anche se nel suo profondo, proprio come lui, mette in discussione le sue stesse affermazioni così fredde e sicure. Autodistruttiva e diffidente quanto Heathcliff. L'unica forma di ironia che conosce è il sarcasmo, un po' come la nostra amatissima Elizabeth Bennet. Dedita ai piaceri della vita finisce assiduamente per errare alla Dorian Gray. Non ho mille motivi da darti per scegliere me, perché non ci sono mille motivi che fanno di me la scelta migliore. Te ne darò uno solo. Ti amo.
“There are many Beths in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind.” —Louisa May Alcott, "Little Women"
Each person is unique. Be a light in this world, small but one of a kind. Be a Beth, helping others be their own and better selves, but do not let them extinguish your flame.
Let the waves of the ocean guide you, help you accomplish your dreams. But keep your feet on the ground, stay steady and don't let anyone bring you down, no matter what obstacles you may face.
Be strong but soft, kind but stubborn. Be a Beth but also a Jo, remember where you come from and where you're going. To succeed in your goals, your achievements, and accomplish your dreams you must be the most true version of yourself.
May Alcott, L. (1869). Little Women. United States: Robers Brothers.
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Louisa May Alcott Marriage As Partnership #Shorts
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So many Little Women fans who talk about Professor Bhaer have not read the sequels and fail to take his and Jo's relationship in these books into account
Either he's viewed as a consolation prize or as something that's forced onto Jo by a patriarchal publishing industry.
"Poor LMA, she just threw something together"
"She wanted an odd match to spite the Jo/Laurie shippers"
Professor Bhaer is set up to be Jo's match, he's made for her.
If Jo describes herself as ugly Bhaer is too, if he's poor so is she. They're both intellectuals who are out of step with the values of society .
In Little Men one of the main themes within Jo and Fritz's relationship is that they make each other better. Jo moves them forward with her adventurous spirit while Fritz makes sure that she thinks things through.
The decisions about their children and their school are made together as a partnership and done so in a way that reflects LMA's own politics and values (many of her novels carried lessons for life within their stories, teaching of the virtues of simple clean living and intellectualism as well as equality between men and women)
Bhaer is not second best, nor is he a shackle to Jo
If anything I speculate that when LMA realized that Jo had to marry, she made her the best match possible. Not her rich handsome childhood best friend, but a man who was like her in all of the most important ways, and different in ways that would challenge and temper her as an adult
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Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.
It is no secret that Alcott based Little Women on her own early life. While her father, the freethinking reformer and abolitionist Bronson Alcott, hobnobbed with such eminent male authors as Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne, Louisa supported herself and her sisters with "woman’s work,” including sewing, doing laundry, and acting as a domestic servant. But she soon discovered she could make more money writing. Little Women brought her lasting fame and fortune, and far from being the "girl’s book” her publisher requested, it explores such timeless themes as love and death, war and peace, the conflict between personal ambition and family responsibilities, and the clash of cultures between Europe and America.
you will care for somebody, and you'll love him tremendously, and live and die for him. I know you will, it's your way, and you will and we'll watch.
that right there is completely braking me and my heart rn.
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the cover of ‘flower fables’ by louisa may alcott
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literature, always literature
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I literally tell everyone that I’m naming my firstborn daughter Josephine and I am in fact not lying so do with that what you will
“I’m happy as I am, and love my liberty too well to be in a hurry to give it up for any mortal man.” I like good strong words that mean something. Don’t try to make me grow up before my time. I do think that families are the most beautiful things in all the world!
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Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl
“He may still love you. He probably does. He probably doesn’t know what he wants. He probably still thinks about you all the time. But that isn’t what matters. What matters is what he’s doing about it is nothing. And if he’s doing nothing, you most certainly shouldn’t do anything. You need someone who goes out of their way to make it obvious that they want you in their life.”
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So I was going through Louisa May Alcott's (the author of Little Women) wikipedia page when I stumbled upon this:
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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Modern Family: "The Late Show"
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