Louisa May Alcott (/ˈɔːlkət, -kɒt/; November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she also grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau.
Nevertheless, her family suffered severe financial difficulties and Alcott worked to help support the family from an early age. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard, under which she wrote novels for young adults.
Published in 1868, Little Women is set in the Alcott family home, Hillside, later called the Wayside, in Concord, Massachusetts and is loosely based on Alcott's childhood experiences with her three sisters. The novel was very well received and is still a popular children's novel today, filmed several times. Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist and remained unmarried throughout her life. She died in Boston on March 6, 1888. Henry James called her "The novelist of children... the Thackeray, the Trollope, of the nursery and the schoolroom."
The "Little Women" trilogy
- Little Women or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy (1868)
There is a Part Second of Little Women, also known as "Good Wives", published in 1869; and afterward published together with Little Women.
- Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys (1871)
- Jo's Boys and How They Turned Out: A Sequel to "Little Men" (1886)
- The Inheritance (1849, unpublished until 1997)
- Moods (1865, revised 1882)
- The Mysterious Key and What It Opened (1867)
- An Old Fashioned Girl (1870)
- Will's Wonder Book (1870)
- Work: A Story of Experience (1873)
- Beginning Again, Being a Continuation of Work (1875)
- Eight Cousins or The Aunt-Hill (1875)
- Rose in Bloom: A Sequel to Eight Cousins (1876)
- Under the Lilacs (1878)
- Jack and Jill: A Village Story (1880)
As A. M. Barnard
- Behind a Mask, or a Woman's Power (1866)
- The Abbot's Ghost, or Maurice Treherne's Temptation (1867)
- A Long Fatal Love Chase (1866 – first published 1995)
- A Modern Mephistopheles (1877)
Short story collections for children
- Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag (1872–1882). (66 short stories in six volumes)
- 1. Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag
- 2. Shawl-Straps
- 3. Cupid and Chow-Chow
- 4. My Girls, Etc.
- 5. Jimmy's Cruise in the Pinafore, Etc.
- 6. An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, Etc.
- Lulu's Library (1886–1889) A collection of 32 Short Stories in 3 volumes.
- Flower Fables (1849)
- On Picket Duty, and other tales (1864)
- Morning-Glories and Other Stories (1867) Eight fantasy stories and four poems for children, including: *A Strange Island, (1868); * The Rose Family: A Fairy Tale (1864), A Christmas Song, Morning Glories, Shadow-Children, Poppy's Pranks, What the Swallows did, Little Gulliver, The Whale's story, Goldfin and Silvertail.
- Kitty's Class Day and Other Stories (Three Proverb Stories), 1868, (includes "Kitty's Class Day", "Aunt Kipp" and "Psyche's Art")
- Spinning-Wheel Stories* (1884). A collection of 12 short stories.
- The Candy Country (1885) (One short story)
- May Flowers (1887) (One short story)
- Mountain-Laurel and Maidenhair (1887) (One short story)
- A Garland for Girls (1888). A collection of eight short stories.
- The Brownie and the Princess (2004). A collection of ten short stories.
Other short stores and novelettes
- Hospital Sketches (1863)
- Pauline's Passion and Punishment
- Perilous Play, (1869)(One short story)
- Lost in a Pyramid, or the Mummy's Curse
- Transcendental Wild Oats (1873) A Short story about Alcott's family and the Transcendental Movement.
- Silver Pitchers, and Independence: A Centennial Love Story" (1876)
- Comic Tragedies (1893 [posthumously])