Monday, December 28, 2009
PBS: Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind 'Little Women' on American Masters
On Monday Dec. 28 PBS aired an American Masters episode, “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women”. The PBS link for the show seems to be in an informal blog, here. There is also an American Master’s link here.
She wrote children’s books “to pay the bills”, and wrote “pulp fiction” with violence under a pen name. She lived part of her life in a commune and was very dedicated to family, raising her sister’s child after that child’s death, and taking care of her father. She also worked as a seamstress, governess, and teacher. (Compare her to the heroine of “Cold Mountain”, she could “darn”.)
She apparently developed systemic lupus erythematosus, and then would eventually die of a stroke, not knowing that her father had passed away.
Her famous “Little Women” was somewhat autobiographical, and seemed to sum up writing career than had been shaped by the practical needs of the market as well as her own interests and passions. She followed the dictum “write what other people want!”