Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her

Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her

Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father ❰PDF❯ ❤ Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father Author John Matteson – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk Louisa May Alcott is known universally Yet during Louisa s youth, the famous Alcott was her father, Bronson, an eminent teacher and a friend of Emerson and Thoreau He desired perfection, for the world Louisa May Alcott is The Story eBook ☆ known universally Yet during Louisa s youth, the famous Alcott was her father, Bronson, an eminent teacher and a friend of Emerson and Thoreau He desired perfection, for the Eden's Outcasts: Epub / world and from his family Louisa challenged him with her mercurial moods and yearnings for money and fame The other prize she deeply coveted her father s understanding seemed hardest to win This story Outcasts: The Story Kindle Ø of Bronson and Louisa s tense yet loving relationship adds dimensions to Louisa s life, her work, and the relationships of fathers and daughters.


10 thoughts on “Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father

  1. Gabrielle Gabrielle says:

    Two years ago, my husband took me on a road trip to visit his friends is Massachusetts We were driving to one of their houses when a road sign caught my eyes it just said Orchard House with an arrow pointing at the next turn I couldn t help myself and screamed, freaking the shit out of Jason who already hates driving in Massachusetts sorry, babe Obviously, there was no coming back to Montreal before making a detour to see Orchard House You see, Little Women Two years ago, my husband took me on a road trip to visit his friends is Massachusetts We were driving to one of their houses when a road sign caught my eyes it just said Orchard House with an arrow pointing at the next turn I couldn t help myself and screamed, freaking the shit out of Jason who already hates driving in Massachusetts sorry, babe Obviously, there was no coming back to Montreal before making a detour to see Orchard House You see, Little Women has a special place in my heart it was a book that had a big influence on me growing up, and I still cherish the story and characters and I couldn t believe that our friend Dennis lived a 10 minutes drive away from where the book had been written and no one had ever told me The following year, I realized how close we also were to Lowell, so obviously, a pilgrimage to Kerouac s grave became a mandatory detour for the next trip I am a literary tourist We went to the House, took a lovely guided tour, spent some time in the garden, and since the museum s giftshop is mostly books, I picked up a bunch, including this one.I knew Louisa put a lot of autobiographical elements in Little Women , but I also remembered Mr March being a mostly absent father he s off to war for the first half of the book, but even after he comes back, he doesn t do much And yet, Amos Bronson Alcott had had quite a life friends with all the literary and artistic luminaries of his time, devoted activist both for human and animal rights , education reformer, eccentric utopian philosopher But as I learned from the friendly tour guide at Orchard House, that made him a rather difficult person to live with and maintain, at times I wanted to read Eden s Outcast because I was immediately intrigued by the idea of the complicated relationship this man must have had with his daughter, who had apparently, soberly decided to keep his unconventionalities off the page I also wanted to learnabout Louisa herself, who was not exactly conventional herself This dual biography was meticulously researched Matterson read all the existing collected correspondence the Alcotts left behind to that he could put together a coherent and flowing portrait of two very unique, strong and incredibly smart people, who shared an often thorny bond Both Bronson and Louisa were extremely intelligent, and both were also idealists, who s standards the less than perfect world they lived in usually failed to live up to Disenchanted idealist very often get angry and frustrated And as this quote attests, relationships between fathers and daughters have always been very similar both earnestly willing the best, both wanting to communicate all that they had to tell each other, but each failing to receive the messages that the other was sending them I must say this book did not make me a big fan of Bronson To be fair, I have my own biases regarding unreliable parenting and people who give their children no choice but to be the responsible adult of their household, so I wasn t predisposed to warm up to him He certainly had fascinating ideas, and his idealism is to be admired, but his lack of practical sense and incapacity to gage the scope of his many enterprises realistically made me roll my eyes a lot I completely understood Louisa s frustrations, and the resentment she felt about her mother having to bear the lion share of their family s burden But Matteson is also careful to point out that while Bronson was not a great provider, he nevertheless raised his daughters to be much stronger, smarter andinteresting people than if he had been nothing but a simple means by which his family enjoyed wealth I also found myself relating to Louisathan ever reading quotes from her diaries such as this one I am old for my age and don t care much for girls things People think I m wild and queer Some of the women I admire the most namely Patti Smith and Simone de Beauvoir also loved and related to Jo Louisa, and lines like this make it easy to see why Reading this book and understandingabout Bronson and about his relationship with Louisa certainly made me think of Little Women a bit differently My childhood treasure lost none of its charm and appeal, but I have come to understand Jo s character even better and I now see an interestingly Freudian aspect to her relationship with Professor Bhaer This book also made me very eager to dive into Louisa s other novels, An Old Fashioned Girl and Work which I also acquired during my visit of Orchard House A very interesting book, about two extremely interesting people


  2. Ginny Messina Ginny Messina says:

    I borrowed a copy of this book from my library but am definitely going to purchase a copy for my own shelves It is worth owning just for the closing paragraph of the book one of the best endings to a biography I have ever read This is a masterpiece of research into two very fascinating lives John Matteson clearly read every word written by Bronson and Louisa every book, story, letter and journal entry as well as journal entries and letters written by those close to them His book is readabl I borrowed a copy of this book from my library but am definitely going to purchase a copy for my own shelves It is worth owning just for the closing paragraph of the book one of the best endings to a biography I have ever read This is a masterpiece of research into two very fascinating lives John Matteson clearly read every word written by Bronson and Louisa every book, story, letter and journal entry as well as journal entries and letters written by those close to them His book is readable and thoughtful He portrays both Alcotts with honesty, fairness and compassion It s sometimes difficult to love Bronson Alcott, but just as often it s impossible not to love him Although Louisa was much closer to her wonderful mother, her father s influence is felt on almost every page of this dual biography So are the influences of the literary greats who were a part of the Alcott s close circle Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne as well as education pioneers like the Peabody sisters Louisa s own life was almost always limited by the needs of her family and sometimes by the constraints of the times, despite her independent feminism Often her creativity was constrained by the demands of fans and publishers who wouldn t even allow Jo March to stay single The story of these two lives is sad, inspiring, and captivating I loved this book and highly recommend it


  3. Kathleen F Kathleen F says:

    It s rather hard to condense my views of this book into a few sentences I had never known much about Louisa May Alcott s life only that which I d gleaned from Little Women, which is partly autobiographical, as well as my reading earlier this year of The Concord Quartet about Bronson Alcott, Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne She deserves whatever attention we can give her as an author and as a woman Far from the domestic minded heroines of her most famous novel, she was independent, determined It s rather hard to condense my views of this book into a few sentences I had never known much about Louisa May Alcott s life only that which I d gleaned from Little Women, which is partly autobiographical, as well as my reading earlier this year of The Concord Quartet about Bronson Alcott, Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne She deserves whatever attention we can give her as an author and as a woman Far from the domestic minded heroines of her most famous novel, she was independent, determined, courageous and purposefully single Hers is the destiny that Jo March should have had and Alcott would have written for her had not the young female readers of the time demanded that Jo marry Alcott didn t have the heart to refuse however, in a clever bit of cunning, she substituted the fatherly and philosophical Professor Bhaer for the passionate and handsome Laurie Take that, little girls good sex just isn t as important as a stimulating conversation To fully understand Alcott and her determination independence is to understand her father Bronson Alcott lived a life of the mind, but with empty pockets So his family suffered accordingly through all of his idealistic ventures, from the Temple School to Fruitlands and beyond But it was this very idealism that remained a sustaining force in Louisa May s life, however much she may have grumbled against it in her youth Her belly may have been empty, and her clothes patched, but the intellectual resources she had at her doorstep enriched her life beyond measure Emerson prescribed her reading list and gave her full access to his library Thoreau took her on nature walks Hawthorne lived next door and Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Peabody and other literary luminaries often visited her home.There are manysubtle and interesting points about this father daughter relationship that are worth exploring in this book it s an excellent companion to Little Women, as it gives you a full context for the origin of the book in her life and how it changed both she and her family Recommended


  4. Louise Louise says:

    Thank you to John Matteson for reading every scrap the Alcotts left behind and digesting it into this wonderful dual biography.I was a young reader of Little Women maybe 10 times and the rest of the series Later as an adult, I never quite put together the pieces the family Now I know how the Alcotts fit in with Emerson and Thoreau, the role of Fruitlands in the life of the Alcotts and how it was the Amy came to marry Laurie.The above paragraph could sound flip without the understanding of ho Thank you to John Matteson for reading every scrap the Alcotts left behind and digesting it into this wonderful dual biography.I was a young reader of Little Women maybe 10 times and the rest of the series Later as an adult, I never quite put together the pieces the family Now I know how the Alcotts fit in with Emerson and Thoreau, the role of Fruitlands in the life of the Alcotts and how it was the Amy came to marry Laurie.The above paragraph could sound flip without the understanding of how Louisa s fiction was a byproduct of both her father s idealism and his inability to support his family Louisa would be his standard bearer, but she would at all costs, support the family.Bronson s philosophy of education was ahead of his time While it can be debated whether his career ending publications served the cause, it is clear, it did not serve the family well Followed by a second public humiliation in the touted but failed Fruitlands experiment, you can imagine the grief of a former idealist with a young family to feed.How many father s careers have been rescued by their children and in the 19th century any by their daughters In the case of the Alcotts, it isthan a career redeemed, it is also values and virtues.Matteson gives a wonderfully readable dual biography He sticks with his thesis It s good that he resisted the temptation to delve into the other interesting personalities of the time Just like when I first read Little Women, I didn t want this book to end


  5. Lorna Lorna says:

    Eden s Outcasts The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father is the Pulitzer prizewinning, engrossing and meticulously researched biography of Amos Bronson Alcott, an educator, philosopher and part of the transcendental movement in the early nineteenth century along with Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller It is also the biography of his famous daughter and author Louisa May Alcott This was an interesting and fascinating look at the Alcott family and their relationsh Eden s Outcasts The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father is the Pulitzer prizewinning, engrossing and meticulously researched biography of Amos Bronson Alcott, an educator, philosopher and part of the transcendental movement in the early nineteenth century along with Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller It is also the biography of his famous daughter and author Louisa May Alcott This was an interesting and fascinating look at the Alcott family and their relationships but focused primarily on the sometimes complicated but loving relationship between father and daughter Louisa, ultimately brought together by their writings and a sense of justice Not knowing anything about Bronson Alcott, I found his opening of different schools and his philosophy regarding education and child rearing fascinating, particularly his founding of what he hoped to be a utopian society at Fruitlands as well as his interest in the Shaker community The final paragraph by author and professor John Matteson sums up the essence of his biography as followsTo the extent the written page permits knowledge of a different time and departed souls, this book has tried to reveal them Biographers can sift the sands as they think wisest But the bonds that two persons share consist also of encouraging words, a reassuring hand on a tired shoulder, fleeting smiles, and soon forgotten quarrels These contacts, so indispensable to existence, leave no durable trace Bronson and Louisa still exist for us Yet this existence, on whatever terms we may experience it, is nothan a shadow when measured against the way they existed for each other


  6. Emily Emily says:

    Unsurprisingly, I learned farabout Bronson Alcott, than his daughter Louisa from this book, and I m deeply thankful to John Matteson for reading the former s dauntingly voluminous life long outpourings of transcendental writings so that the rest of us don t have to For someone who s familiar with the outline of Louisa May Alcott s life story, it s easy to cast Bronson as a villain, for impoverishing his family for the sake of his ideals Matteson doesn t entirely let him off the hook, but Unsurprisingly, I learned farabout Bronson Alcott, than his daughter Louisa from this book, and I m deeply thankful to John Matteson for reading the former s dauntingly voluminous life long outpourings of transcendental writings so that the rest of us don t have to For someone who s familiar with the outline of Louisa May Alcott s life story, it s easy to cast Bronson as a villain, for impoverishing his family for the sake of his ideals Matteson doesn t entirely let him off the hook, but his nuanced portrait did elicit some sympathy from me, and as painful as the first half of the book was, it was charming to read about the golden age Bronson enjoyed in his twilight years, basking in the glow of his daughter s fame, and finally revered as an intellectual philosopher after outliving most of hiscelebrated peers And what this dual biography really drives home, is that without Bronson s often misguided and bewildering philosophies, Little Women would never have existed.While I did find satisfaction in becoming better informed about the transcendentalist movement in general, and Bronson s role in it, I only really started enjoying the book when Louisa grew up and started living her own life I was absorbed, and learned plenty about her that I didn t know, but as much as I enjoyed the book, and recognize how intertwined the lives of father and daughter were, I found myself wondering if I might have gotten evenout of a full length biography devoted solely to Louisa I half suspect that Matteson might have beeninterested in Bronson than his daughter, and at times, I wondered if he had read all of her books Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom are mentioned in just one line It seems odd that Matteson, who devotes lengthy analysis to Louisa s now obscure novels for adults, Moods and Work A Story of Experience, has nothing to say about a heroine whose maturation process includes reading deeply in Emerson s works, given how much Emerson s friendship features in this dual biography Matteson also makes no mention of something I learned from reading the recently published Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, which is that after its first edition, Little Women was revised to polish up the language and grammar something that seems relevant considering that the lack of formal education shared by both father and daughter gets mentioned quite a bit My last quibble is that from the evidence of this biography, it seems that Under the Lilacs never got written at all, but maybe that really would have been for the best


  7. Andy Andy says:

    The mid nineteenth century American Transcendentalism movement was, in my admittedly unstudied opinion, littlethan high minded navel gazing ineffectual but ultimately harmless But perhaps there was a dark side to this dull un philosophy In Eden s Outcasts, John Matteson examines Bronson Alcott s fervent embrace of Transcendentalism and the repercussions for Alcott s family, which included most famously his second eldest daughter Louisa May Alcott.In 1843, attempting to live in accordance The mid nineteenth century American Transcendentalism movement was, in my admittedly unstudied opinion, littlethan high minded navel gazing ineffectual but ultimately harmless But perhaps there was a dark side to this dull un philosophy In Eden s Outcasts, John Matteson examines Bronson Alcott s fervent embrace of Transcendentalism and the repercussions for Alcott s family, which included most famously his second eldest daughter Louisa May Alcott.In 1843, attempting to live in accordance with the principles of Transcendentalism, Bronson Alcott founded a utopian socialist community in Harvard, Mass, and he moved his wife and four young daughters there to live in self inflicted deprivation As a model for his community, Bronson had rejected the Shakers as not sufficiently ascetic Amid philosophic squabbling and agricultural ineptitude, the experiment quickly imploded, nearly starving the Alcotts and imbuing the children with a life long fear of destitution Bronson, who had briefly considered abandoning his family during this period, left the farm in a semi catatonic state of depression.Bronson Alcott s other misadventures in Transcendentalism included a failed experimental school in Boston dozens of critically panned, nearly incomprehensible essays and books extended absences from home to lead poorly paid speaking tours across the Midwest and myriad financial failures Hawthorne had once purchased a beautifully restored estate from Alcott, who was on the verge of losing it to his creditors, and later Hawthorne said he was eagerly anticipating Alcott s next fire sale Alcott was not altogetheraccomplished as a father Initially transfixed by the minutiae of his infant daughters development, he eventually lost interest in the girls during their early teenage years and withdrew emotionally.Fortunately, amid the personal failures and disasters, there are notes of hope in Eden s Outcasts Louisa May Alcott, of course, became in her lifetime a wildly successful author Even for someone not intimately familiar with her books, Alcott s gradual development as a writer and then sudden rise to fame after the publication of Little Women is absolutely thrilling to read about Eventually, Bronson Alcott too achieved a degree of professional success, but considerablymoving is Matteson s account of the quiet periods of communion and healing during the Alcotts twilight years Apparently, it takesthan badly flawed philosophy, mental illness, and plain bad luck to keep a family like the Alcotts down


  8. Sher Sher says:

    I read this book because of Bronson Alcott not Louisa My interests are in Transcendentalism, and I knew that Alcott was right in the middle of this thought movement I absolutely loved the full picture the lifelong experiences of the Alcott family and the many familiar figures such as Hawthorne, Emerson, and Thoreau who came in and out of their lives I found Alcott an enigmatic figure A paradox Louisa s life in many ways seemed sad to me She seemed a tormented soul she was driven to write I read this book because of Bronson Alcott not Louisa My interests are in Transcendentalism, and I knew that Alcott was right in the middle of this thought movement I absolutely loved the full picture the lifelong experiences of the Alcott family and the many familiar figures such as Hawthorne, Emerson, and Thoreau who came in and out of their lives I found Alcott an enigmatic figure A paradox Louisa s life in many ways seemed sad to me She seemed a tormented soul she was driven to write and for success, but she couldn t cope with all the attention and in many ways didn t like her fans She had a fiery artistic drive that burned so brightly it caused great harm to her health She really wasn t a peaceful person, but we knew about this early on Alcott described her as inherently fiery and prone to disruptions But then Abba was famous for her temper, and no doubt what a hard life For me the duo biography was necessary, and really, it s a family biography The family was extraordinary The final paragraph of the book is fabulous For me it addresses what came to my mind about the primary sources, and how in this case, we still get a partial look The best biographer, and still we get a semi opaque view, which is in part why I can t fully grasp Alcott It would be one thing if he was universally thought to be someone who should be dismissed, but he gained praise and admiration alongside derision.Finally I am reminded what happens when you read several biographies about one person you can get different views I was amazed when I read part of another biography on Harry Truman and I learned some new things and the biographer slanted Truman in a different light not as complimentary as McCullough had, and it made me pause I had fallen into thinking McCullough s work was the definitive the absolute right this is how it was and how Truman really was But, in the end I believe it s as Matteson says we can know some things, many things through the letters and written word, but we can t know the smile, the hand on the shoulder, the far away look, or the soul of the people For me it s a 5 star read


  9. Cat Cat says:

    This was a gorgeously written biography that gave such keen insights into the personalities and development of Louisa May Alcott and her father Bronson Alcott The latter s utopian designs and idealistic spirit led the family intothan its share of hard times, and the former s struggles with moods and eventual mercury poisoning they gave her poison as a treatment for typhoid while she served as a nurse in the Civil War made for a difficult and certainly not universally sunny life But rea This was a gorgeously written biography that gave such keen insights into the personalities and development of Louisa May Alcott and her father Bronson Alcott The latter s utopian designs and idealistic spirit led the family intothan its share of hard times, and the former s struggles with moods and eventual mercury poisoning they gave her poison as a treatment for typhoid while she served as a nurse in the Civil War made for a difficult and certainly not universally sunny life But reading about this family and their love for one another and their preoccupation with the world of ideas is really poignant, and Matteson does a great job of charting the development of the relationship between father and daughter from one of relative disapproval to one of submerged tension to one of respect and pride This biography also provides satisfying glimpses into the characters and landscapes of the American Renaissance and the transcendentalist movement It made me nostalgic for my own visits to Concord and evenstruck by my respect and admiration for L.M.A The ending of the book is just perfect and made me cry Such an accomplished and rich biography


  10. Teri Teri says:

    This is a detailed biography of the lives of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, and her father Amos Bronson Alcott To get a full sense of who Louisa was, one needs to get a fair picture of her father and her entire family Bronson was of the group of Transcendentalists which included the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and Fuller Bronson, an author himself, educator, and speaker did not always live up to the same stature of his peers and the family often struggled because of it His wife an This is a detailed biography of the lives of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, and her father Amos Bronson Alcott To get a full sense of who Louisa was, one needs to get a fair picture of her father and her entire family Bronson was of the group of Transcendentalists which included the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and Fuller Bronson, an author himself, educator, and speaker did not always live up to the same stature of his peers and the family often struggled because of it His wife and their four daughters were often left alone to handle the home situation while Bronson traveled for business It was during these times that the women spent together that gave Louisa inspiration to write Little Women and many other published works Despite having a strained relationship at times, Louisa and Bronson became close in their later years.This is a great book for any fan of LMA and the Little Women series I wasn t always a fan of Bronson and reading about his life was my least favorite part of the book however, it really helps to understand him and his thoughts and ideas to understand Louisa and what drove and inspired her


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