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The author of Little Women and other beloved classics, Louisa May Alcott grew up in a community of New England transcendentalists that included Thoreau and Emerson. Because her learned but impractical father was a poor provider, she supported her family by writing magazine stories that were often published anonymously. This collection reveals the "other" Alcott, featuring "Behind a Mask" and "Pauline's Passion and Punishment," thrilling tales of seduction, betrayal, and murder that strike a markedly different tone and characterization from Alcott's best-known work. Other selections include two pieces from Hospital Sketches, the author's fictionalized accounts of her Civil War nursing experiences; "My Contraband," a tale of vengeance involving a Civil War nurse, her Confederate patient, and his former slave; "Happy Women," concerning four "spinsters" with a positive attitude toward their marital status; and "How I Went Out to Service," an autobiographical sketch of a young woman's pursuit of financial independence.
About the Author
Best known as the author of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott (1832-88) grew up in a community of New England transcendentalists that included Thoreau and Emerson. Because her learned but impractical father was a poor provider, she supported her family by writing stories for magazines while she was still a teenager. Alcott worked in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War as a nurse, recording her experiences in Hospital Sketches, and her many novels are particularly noteworthy for their portraits of strong, self-reliant heroines.