“Keep good company, read good books, love good things and cultivate soul and body as faithfully as you can.”— Louisa May Alcott
Reading Little Women and other works of Louisa May Alcott — a book discussion group at the Amherst History Museum
Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women will be released as a film for the 8th time this December 25th. This version is directed by Greta Gerwig (see the trailer here) and appears more aligned with the spirit of the book than the story on the page. The costumes, the manners, the hair styles and sets emphasize character traits but do not accurately present the historic setting. We want to go back to the story of Little Woman, the biography of Louisa May Alcott and the Emerson family of Amherst with a desire to better understand women’s lives in the 3rd quarter of the 19th century in fact and fiction.
Beginning on October 24, these discussions are scheduled for the third Thursday of the month from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Simeon Strong House (see the complete schedule at amhersthistory.org). Refreshments will be served. Interested? Let us know by sending an email with Little Women as the topic to firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 24 – Discuss the first half of Little Women
November 21 – Discuss the second half of Little Women and Presentation on and discussion about the Sally Cheney Emerson Family
The widow Sally Cheney Emerson and four daughters moved to Amherst in 1846 to be near her Amherst College student son. She purchased the Strong House in 1853 and it remained the family home until Felicia Emerson Welch died in 1916 when it became the permanent home of the Amherst Historical Society. Find out what our Emerson family had in common with the Alcott family and the March sisters.
January 23 – Discuss reactions to the movie. [Viewed on your own or with the group prior to the discussion.]
We will try to see the movie as a group—but it is released on December 25 so participants may be away for holidays or school breaks.
February 19 – Discuss Louisa May Alcott’s experiences as a Civil War nurse, Hospital Sketches.
March 18 – Discuss Alcott’s An Old-Fashioned Girl
April (date to be decided by group) – an excursion to Concord to visit Orchard House, the Ralph Waldo Emerson House and other places of interest.
Want to do a little research of your own? Check out the interview with Greta Gerwig about Little Women (2019) in the November-December issue of Film Comment or take one of these personality quiz to see which of the three March sisters you might relate to most! Or check out 36eggs.com for some historical recipes covering how to make all manner of tasty treats from the pages of Little Women!