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For Educators

L. M. Alcott
Signature of Reform
Madeleine B. Stern, ed.

Northeastern University Press
2002 • 226 pp. 5 1/2 x 9"
American History / Literary Criticism / Women's Studies

$18.95 Paperback, 978-1-55553-512-4

A recognized expert on Louisa May Alcott offers a fresh perspective on the popular writer's commitment to reform movements in 19th-century America.

Beloved juvenile fiction writer and author of sensational thrillers, Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) was also an ardent champion of reform movements in nineteenth-century America. Inspired by her parents' zeal for the reforms of their day and influenced by a network of other New Englanders determined to remedy the many ills in American society, the spinster Scheherazade from Concord, Massachusetts, was a firm and convincing advocate in advancing measures extending from domestic reform and alternative medicine, to education and communal society, to antislavery and egalitarianism, to feminism and suffrage.

This innovative compilation sheds new light on Alcott's commitment to ameliorating oppressive conditions of all kinds. Madeleine B. Stern pairs selections from the writings of reform leaders with excerpts from Alcott's letters, fiction, and nonfiction works to demonstrate that Alcott was aware of and often moved by the words of other reformers. Stern illuminates the connections between Alcott and the printed sources that filtered into her life and work, and shows how she wove reformist themes throughout her writings, prodding her readers to right the wrongs at home and in the nation.

Madeleine B. Stern is partner in the firm of Rostenberg and Stern Rare Books. She is the editor of several collections of Alcott's works, including The Feminist Alcott: Stories of a Woman's Power and Louisa May Alcott Unmasked: Collected Thrillers, both published by Northeastern University Press. She is the author of Louisa May Alcott: From Blood & Thunder to Hearth & Home and Louisa May Alcott: A Biography, also published by Northeastern. She lives in New York City.

Wed, 20 Jun 2012 09:53:25 -0500