Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Possible American Trollope: Louisa May Alcott

Some months ago I asked for suggestions of which novelist, if any, was the American equivalent of Anthony Trollope.  Most respondents thought there wasn't one.

I am now reading Little Women for the first time.  I see a strong moral similarity between Alcott's project and Trollope's. He draws on a broader social world.  On the whole I think he is the better writer. Still, Alcott seems to be engage in a similar project at the same time, and with comparable popularity.

I offer this idea for the consideration of my literary readers.


gruntled said...

For example, this bit is spoken by an editor of a sensational paper to Jo, the heroine, with an editorial comment by Alcott:
"'People want to be amused, not preached at, you know. Morals don't sell nowadays;' which was not quite a correct statement, by the way."

Sister Edith Bogue said...

Our college library is asking faculty to name five books (+ one desert island book) that were had been influential in their lives. Little Women was one of the five that I named - for its profound effect on me as a youngster. Growing up in an atheist family, it was my first encounter with living from a stance of principles and faith. I don't think the English Department people find it very interesting, but sometimes endurance is also a measure of quality.

Diane M said...

I love Alcott, but only like Trollope. I don't think you can compare them, though, as she was writing children's literature. The genres are too different.

gruntled said...

I don't think Little Women is inherently children's literature, any more than Barchester Towers is not. Both are attempting to portray realistic moral communities. The age of the protagonists is secondary, and the age of their likely readers is, too.