From Louise to Louisa! Here’s a piece I wrote for Double X today:
“I will do something by and by,” Louisa May Alcott wrote as an adult in the voice of her youthful self. “I’ll be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I won’t.”
Alcott would indeed become rich and famous in her lifetime for writing Little Women. In the 141 years since its first publication, the beloved young-adult novel has never been out of print, and has inspired plays, films, TV series, an opera, a Broadway musical, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Next up: the literary remix Little Women and Werewolves, by the publisher of the bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Now, with Alcott herself on the verge of a period of cultural ubiquity almost equal to her most famous novel, we can get better insight into whether she ever achieved that last goal: to be happy.
Spoiler alert: probably not, but it’s complicated.