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Little Women: An Annotated Edition by Louisa…

Little Women: An Annotated Edition

by Louisa May Alcott, Daniel Shealy (Editor)

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3½***. I'm not at all crazy about Little Women to begin with (I find it terribly preachy, in contrast with Anne of Green Gables), but this Belknap (Harvard) Press annotated edition (ISBN 9780674059719) is a lush coffee-table production worth reading for its illustrations and for its screen-shots from some of the film adaptations, particularly George Cukor's (1933) and Mervyn LeRoy's (1949). But Christopher Columbus! if the 1933 film adaptation in particular isn't vastly superior to the Alcott novel, particularly for Kate Hepburn's Jo.

If a reader is going to choose just one edition for academic study, the Norton Critical is probably to be preferred. This Belknap (Harvard) Press edition does contain some valuable annotation, but one criticism I have is an excessive and somewhat too overly certain reliance on the OED for words-and-phrases origins.

A particularly egregious example can be found on page 144, note 37: "The OED defines fuss and feathers as 'bustle and display,' and gives the first use of the term as 1866, just two years before the publication of Little Women." Ouch! but anyone familiar with American military history should be aware that "Old Fuss and Feathers" was the not-so-affectionate nickname bestowed in the mid-1840s by his enlisted men on General Winfield Scott during the Mexican War — something of which Alcott would certainly have been aware (though I don't mean to imply that this use of the phrase in Little Women had any reference to Scott). The antislavery-leaning Scott was the unsuccessful Whig presidential candidate in 1852, defeated by the pro-slavery Democrat Franklin Pierce, the lifelong friend of Alcott's Concord neighbor Nathaniel Hawthorne. ( )
  CurrerBell | Mar 26, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louisa May Alcottprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shealy, DanielEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486296342, Paperback)

One of the most popular books ever written about childhood charmingly recounts the homelife of four sisters: literary-minded Jo March; Meg, the older sister who marries a young tutor; fashionable and artistic Amy; and gentle, musically inclined Beth. An unforgettable depiction of mid-19th century New England life. Abridged. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:43 -0400)

An abridged version of the classic novel chronicling the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young women in mid-nineteenth-century New England.

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