Tuesday, October 6, 2015

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  Louisa May Alcott Society

Call for Papers for two panels at the annual conference of the American Literature Association
26-29 May 2016, San Francisco

Panel 1: Representations of Teaching and Learning in Alcott

 As attested to by her essay, “Recollections of my Childhood,” Alcott’s ideas of education were always caught between the innovative techniques but formal structure of “my father’s school” and the more liberal approach of “my wise mother” who “let me run wild, learning of nature what no books can teach.” This panel seeks to examine education in all its guises as constructed through Alcott’s works, whether that education takes place in the schoolroom or in the wider world, via a teacher or through the lessons of nature or religion, and encompassing both children and adults in the lifelong process of learning that characterizes many of Alcott’s texts.

 Possible topics might include:

 Books within books: influential texts within Alcott’s works

The gender divide

Home schooling

A religious education

The class divide

“Learning of nature what no books can teach”

A Transcendental education

Bronson Alcott’s conversations with children

Pupil and teacher

Keeping journals: an educational tool

What is a teacher?

“Moral pap for the young”

A European education: learning through travel

The school-room

Marriage: a sentimental education

“My beloved Master”: learning from Emerson

 Please send 250-word abstracts to Krissie West at K.J.West@pgr.reading.ac.uk by 20 January 2016

 Panel 2: Alcott for Grown-ups

While Louisa May Alcott notoriously complained about her role as a chief provider of “moral pap for the young,” after the widespread success of Little Women, her identity as “the children’s friend” was firmly sealed.  Turning away from this unilateral understanding of Alcott and her work, this panel seeks to examine the ways Alcott’s identity and body of work engages with or problematizes grown-up-ness.  We welcome papers that analyze Alcott’s writing for adults as well as those that complicate the study of Alcott’s work as children’s literature within the development of American Realism.

 Possible topics might include:

 Alcott’s fiction and nonfiction for adults

Negotiation of audience

Alcott and American Realism

Alcott’s relationships to her peer authors (writing for children or adults)

Depictions of grown-up questions/issues

Sex and sexuality


Drug and alcohol use

Marriage, fidelity, and infidelity

Crime and the law

Alcott and political economy

Identity formation

Sensational and anti-sensational literature


Representations of childhood and/or adulthood

Reading children’s literature as adult literature

Age and aging

Constructions of “adult,” “child,” “woman,” “girl,” etc.

 Please send 250-word abstracts to Marlowe Daly-Galeano at hmdalygaleano@lcsc.edu by 20 January 2016.


We were active last spring in Boston and Concord! 

Below are photos of society members and guests celebrating our tenth anniversary as an author society, presenting two panels at the annual conference of the American Literature Association, and holding our annual business meeting. 


The Louisa May Alcott Society celebrates ten years as an author society!

Our host for this event was none other than Louisa May herself, who graciously welcomed us to her home and lawn at Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts!

Free books! Donated by our members, Miriam Reed and Mary De Jong


The society sponsors two recent panels at this year's annual conference of the American Literature Association

Left to right: Marielena James, Helen Deese, Katie Kornacki, and Phyllis Cole

  Conversations: Fuller, Alcott, and Others

(co-sponsored with the Margaret Fuller Society)

 "'A Loving League of Sisters': The Legacy of Margaret Fuller's Boston Conversations in Louisa May Alcott's Work: A Story of Experience," Katie Kornacki, University of Connecticut

"The Ideals of Companionate Marriage: A Conversation Between Louisa May Alcott and Margaret Fuller," Marielena James, University of Pretoria, South Africa

"Caroline Healy Dall and the Mantle of Margaret Fuller," Helen Deese, Massachusetts Historical Society

Left to right: Charlene Avallone, Beverly Clark, Ellen Campbell, and Chris Doyle

 Transatlantic Alcott

“Picturing Europe in Little Women,” Beverly Lyon Clark, Wheaton College

"Revising the Marriage Plot in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda,” Ellen Campbell, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

“Alcott Rewrites George Sand: Moods and Jacques,” Charlene Avallone, Kailua Hawai’i

Our annual business meeting drew the society's largest crowd in our ten-year history!

Left to right: President Sandy Petrulionis, Treasurer Melissa Pennell, President-Elect Anne Phillips, Secretary Marlowe Daly-Galeano, and new Advisory Board member Wes Mott

Traveled the greatest distance to attend! Left to right: Marielena Davis (Pretoria, South Africa) and Kristeena West (London, U.K.)



May 24, 2014, American Literature Association Conference Panels. Washington, DC

Session 1: Louisa May Alcott’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century: Moods at 150
Chair: Anne Phillips, Kansas State University
Left to right: Christine Doyle, Mary Shelden, Daniel Shealy, Anne Phillips
“‘Playing with edge tools’: Teaching Louisa May Alcott’s Moods,” Daniel Shealy, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
Moods: ‘The Oversoul’ and Oysters,” Christine Doyle, Central Connecticut State University
“'Shakespeare’s Tragedies Became Her Study’: Women’s Genius and the Marriage Question,” Mary Lamb Shelden, Virginia Commonwealth University

Session 2: “I Want Something To Do”: Alcott, Whitman, and Nursing in the Nation’s Capital

  Chairs: Ed Folsom, University of Iowa, and Sandra Harbert Petrulionis, Penn State Altoona

Left to right: Sandy Petrulionis, Emily Waples, J. D. Isip, Ed Folsom, Soeren Froehlich

“Nursing’s Domestic Grotesque: Alcott, Whitman, and the Civil War Wounded,” Emily Waples, University of Michigan
“The Pail Tells the Tale: Blood, Nursing, and the Remade Nation,” Sören Fröhlich, University of California San Diego
“‘This Heart’s Geography’s Map’: Alcott and Whitman Sketching an Affective Landscape,” J.D. Isip, Texas A & M University-Commerce

2013, American Literature Association Conference

"Celebrating the Sesquicentennial of Hospital Sketches: A Teaching Round Table"

(left to right: Society President Mary Shelden, Paul Medeiros, Marlowe Daly-Galeano, James Hewitson, Daniel Shealy)

"Re-visioning Alcott: Her Impact on the Work of Later Writers and Artists"

left to right:

Chair:  Beverly Lyon Clark
Society Secretary Anne Phillips ("'Certainly Reminiscent of Alcott’s Little Women': The Marches, the Penderwicks, and the Family Story as Genre'")
Lauren Rizzuto ("'Jo March Is Pregnant and Laurie's the Father': Fanfiction and Little Women")
Gregory Eiselein ("Louisa May Alcott, Patti Smith, and Punk Aesthetics")