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2 teosta 295 jäsentä 11 arvostelua

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Anne Boyd Rioux, a professor at the University of New Orleans, is the author of Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist, and the editor of Woolson's Miss Grief and Other Stories. Rioux has received two National Endowment for the Humanities Awards, one for public scholarship, and näytä lisää lives in New Orleans. näytä vähemmän
Image credit: Jennifer Zdon

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This book sweeps over everything from Louisa May Alcott's life, the writing of Little Women, it's film adaptions, its lasting impact & it's modern equivalents. Insightful both to history and modern day! Made me want to read LW again!
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MandyPS | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 13, 2023 |
A lot of this is a repeat, but chapters 7-8 are brilliant and worth your time. They discuss, among other things, the need for boys to read about girls, and the way that Alcott's book is subversive (compared to others). Also was Beth anorexic? What mental illnesses were dealt with in the family? She seems to have good arguments there.

This was written before Gerwig's latest adaptation and, amusingly, Rioux(or is it Boyd Rioux? I never know what is proper) puts all her money on BBC's version as a sure-fire hit(it pretty much bombed when compared to the other) and painted Gerwig's as a wild card(it got an Oscar nomination).

Also, minus the physical descriptions, of course, I think Little Women could possibly work as an all POC cast. They'd certainly do a fantastic job with the recent Broadway adaption's music. Thoughts? Totally not related to this book.
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OutOfTheBestBooks | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 24, 2021 |
[Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist] by [[Anne Boyd Rioux]]

On a recent vacation to Mackinac Island, I heard about a 19th century American woman author who was famous enough to have a statue dedicated to her and the novel she set on Mackinac Island, but who I had never heard of. I am no literary expert, but I do have a strong interest in the time period and in female authors, so I was embarrassed that I didn't know Constance Fenimore Woolson. My husband and boys had quite a good time making fun of me for not knowing her, by the way.

Anyway, I found this book in a bookstore on the island and purchased it. In reading it, I realized I had heard of her, but as a friend and companion to the more famous (male) author, [Henry James]. Through this book, I learned of Woolson's considerable talent as an author in her own right. Woolson approached writing with a need to support herself. She stayed single throughout her life, and her career was full of struggles trying to make it as a writer as an unmarried woman. Her first novel, [Anne] was very popular and sold well. It is typical of her writing in that it had a strong local American setting, Mackinac Island. It also is untypical of her later novels in that it has a "popular" feel - fast-moving plot, love story, mystery, and everything else exciting you can think of. If she had continued writing in this vein, Woolson might have been more successful monetarily because she would have better fit the mold of "woman writer" that existed then. But because she viewed her writing as a craft and wanted to write artistic works, her later novels weren't considered "women's books" but nor did they measure up to her male author counterparts - well, according to her male reviewers. Also, when women's novels were "rediscovered" in the late 1900s, Woolson's work again didn't fit the mold that this time female literary critics were looking for. Her books were often written from the perspective of male characters and didn't have the same focus on women's lives that other restored women authors did. Woolson's fame dwindled through her lifetime and certainly after her death because of all of these things.

I loved reading about her exhaustive approach to writing. When Woolson got an idea for a new novel she would begin with elaborate plot outline, detailed character descriptions, long conversations between characters, and extended scene-setting passages. She would fill multiple notebooks with this preparatory work before even beginning to piece the novel together.

Woolson was good friends with Henry James. She lived in Europe for most of her adult life and the two spent a lot of time together and had mutual friends. I was very happy, though, that the author keeps the focus on Woolson instead of the more famous James.

Woolson's life came to a dramatic end when she committed suicide while living in Italy. Her money issues, hearing loss, isolation, illness, and doubts about her writing ability combined disastrously with a genetic predisposition to depression.

I enjoyed learning about this new-to-me author and intend to read a few of her novels in the near future.
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japaul22 | 1 muu arvostelu | Aug 20, 2021 |
This is an amazingly deep dive into the phenomenon of Little Women, and what it has meant to young women (and men) ever since Louisa May Alcott first wrote the book (or two books, depending on which edition you have). Anne Boyd Rioux has written a very informative exploration of the book's "biography," as it were, and looks into the life of Louisa May Alcott and the lives of the novel's 4 main characters.

I would've rated this higher had I not felt the book showcased Jo (admittedly the most popular of the March sisters) while skirting around the other three sisters and the women who have identified with them as well as Jo. Jo as the tomboyish, brash writer gets top billing and 2/3 of the book, whereas Meg and Amy get a few good pages, and Beth even less. The bold assumption that Beth's unnamed condition was depression and/or anorexia left a bad taste in my mouth. She didn't want to grow up and become a wife so... she wasted away. I don't buy it.

I felt the book lost steam towards the end, mostly because of the author's assertion that Gilmore Girls and Girls are successors of Little Women for... whatever reason. Throw in a bit of snarky comment about Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian's rear end and it seems we haven't moved too far away from the misogyny of the 1860s. All in all, it's a solid 3 stars for being valuable insight into the history of the novel and its author, but it's as if the Boyd Rioux got bored at the end and signed off with a flourish.
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cemoles | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 13, 2020 |

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