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The Annotated Little Women (The Annotated Books) Hardcover – November 2, 2015
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"[A] good time ... humanizes Alcott's characters ... [Professor Matteson's] populist approach should be welcomed by a wide readership." -- Library Journal
"Matteson, who won the Pulitzer for his biography of Alcott and her father, brings all his knowledge to bear on this behemoth edition of the novel, brimming over with artifacts and sidebars that ... illuminate this classic novel without defining it." --Genevieve Valentine, National Public Radio
About the Author
Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888) is a much beloved author of American literature, in particular the Little Women trilogy, centered on the semiautobiographical March family (Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys). Best known in her time for Little Women, An Old-Fashioned Girl, and Little Men, her obituary in the New York Times declared, “There was probably no writer among women better loved by the young than she.”
John Matteson was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for Eden’s Outcasts and is also the author of The Lives of Margaret Fuller, which received the Ann M. Sperber Prize for Best Biography of a Journalist. He has been a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and of the Leon Levy Center for Biography. He received the Distinguished Faculty Award of the John Jay College Alumni Association and the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Achievement from the Columbia University School of Arts and Sciences. Distinguished Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, he lives in the Bronx.
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There are many never-seen-before photos in this book from the archives of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House--stunning remnants of a memorable family which include locks of hair from Louisa and Lizzie, rare new photos of Anna, Lizzie's New Testament (only recently discovered) and drawings by May of her nephews. Such remnants link the real Alcott sisters to their fictional counterparts in such an intimate way.
Norton did a magnificent job with assembling and designing this book--my husband said it looked like a Bible! My only quibble is that some of the paintings and drawings printed on the dark side.
Matteson's commentary throughout the book continues the themes begun with the introduction and biography--it is a must to read those parts first to appreciate his notes.
Matteson concludes his biographical account with this sentence: "As a writer, as a person, Louisa May Alcott's greatest success lay in the invisible gifts she gave to others." So true. John Matteson does a magnificent job in extracting those gifts and revealing them to the world.