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Critical Approaches to Children's Literature

Louisa May Alcott and the Textual Child

A Critical Theory Approach

Authors: West, Kristina

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  • Calls on theoretical approaches to childhood to offer an alternative to the biographical readings of Little Women
  • Draws on juvenilia and Alcott family letters and journals--including previously unpublished archival material
  • Analyses texts that have been overlooked or otherwise sidelined in the recent critical focus on Alcott’s other works
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eBook £47.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-39025-9
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  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £59.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-39024-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
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  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
Softcover £44.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-39027-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
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  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
About this book

This book examines constructions of childhood in the works of Louisa May Alcott. While Little Women continues to gain popular and critical attention, Alcott’s wider works for children have largely been consigned to history. This book therefore investigates Alcott’s lesser-known children’s texts to reconsider critical assumptions about childhood in her works and in literature more widely. Kristina West investigates the trend towards reading Alcott’s life into her works; readings of gender and sexuality, race, disability, and class; the sentimental domestic; portrayals of Transcendentalism and American education; and adaptations of these works. Analyzing Alcott as a writer for twenty-first-century children, West considers Alcott’s place in the children’s canon and how new media and fan fiction impact readings of her works today.

About the authors

Kristina West completed her PhD on constructions of childhood in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and is an affiliated member of the Graduate Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature, Culture, Media at the University of Reading. Her research focuses on American literature, children’s literature, and critical theory. She will soon publish her next book, Reading the Salem Witch Child.

Reviews

“Since the end of the nineteenth century, Louisa May Alcott has been called ‘the children’s friend’. Besides Little Women, however, little scholarly attention has been devoted to her works for children. Louisa May Alcott and the Textual Child fills that gap by examining Alcott’s construction of childhood in Little Women and many other works for and about children.  Drawing upon the most contemporary scholarship, Kristina West, in this superbly researched study, explores how Alcott, and her readers, construct childhood. Louisa May Alcott and the Textual Child, without a doubt, is an important contribution to Alcott scholarship and to the discussion of childhood in general.” (Daniel Shealy, Professor of English, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA)

“This engaging and timely study reminds us that the impact of Alcott’s writings for children--on her era, on children's literature, and on cultural images of the child--was much larger than that of her most famous novel, Little Women. With careful attention to issues such as education, race, gender, sexuality, poverty, and disability, West's revelatory readings take us well beyond Alcott's own often-quoted dismissal of her children's writing as ‘moral pap for the young.’” (Anne Boyd Rioux, Professor of English, University of New Orleans, USA, and author of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters (2018))

“Of interest to Alcott aficionados, childhood studies scholars, students of Transcendentalism, and others, Louisa May Alcott and the Textual Child traces representations of the child across an array of Alcott’s writings for young audiences. West delineates the slipperiness of Alcott’s language in her autobiographical writings and fiction, troubling conventional readings of her life and works while offering nuanced analysis.” (Anne K. Phillips, Professor of English, Kansas State University, USA)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook £47.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-39025-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £59.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-39024-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
Softcover £44.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-39027-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Louisa May Alcott and the Textual Child
Book Subtitle
A Critical Theory Approach
Authors
Series Title
Critical Approaches to Children's Literature
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-39025-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-39025-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-39024-2
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-39027-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 226
Topics