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Season 2010 Episode 12.17.10

Susan Cheever on Louisa May Alcott

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Susan Cheever on Louisa May Alcott
AIRED:
Susan Cheever, novelist, memoirist, literary historian, and daughter of John Cheever, discusses her newest exploration of America's literary past, emLouisa May Alcott: A Personal Biographyem. Louisa May Alcott never intended to write emLittle Womenem. She had dismissed her publishers pleas for such a novel. Written out of necessity to support her family, the book had an astounding success that changed her life, a life which turned out very differently from that of her beloved heroine Jo March. In emLouisa May Alcottem, Susan Cheever returns to Concord, Massachusetts, to explore the life of one of its most iconic residents. Based on extensive research, journals, and correspondence, Cheevers biography chronicles all aspects of Alcott's life, from the fateful meeting of her parents to her death, just two days after that of her father. She details Bronson Alcott's stalwart educational vision, which led the Alcotts to relocate each time his progressive teaching went sour; her unsuccessful early attempts at serious literature; her time as a Civil War nurse, when she contracted pneumonia and was treated with mercury-laden calomel, which would affect her health for the rest of her life; and her vibrant intellectual circle of writers and reformers, idealists who led the charge in support of antislavery, temperance, and women's rights.moreless
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