“Let Genius Burn” podcast explores the Alcott sisters

Jill Fuller and Jamie Burgess, creators and hosts of the “Let Genius Burn” podcast series, have been thoroughly immersed in the life and legacy of Louisa May Alcott for well over a year. The podcast debuted on July 12 and each week a new episode is released on Mondays. This week’s episode The podcasters focused on the Alcott sisters, discussing each one in depth, along with the relationship that sister shared with Louisa. Any Little Women fan knows how much Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are derived from Anna, Louisa, Lizzie and May. Fuller and Burgess present many interesting (and lesser known) facts about the sisters along with penetrating insight into the sibling bond that made up this “Golden Band.”

Episode Two of “Let Genius Burn” focuses on the Alcott sisters.

I was most impressed with the presentation on Lizzie. Referring to her by the name to which she was referred within the family instead of addressing her as “Beth” told me right away that Fuller and Burgess would take Lizzie seriously. While her illness and death are the most notable aspects of her short life, Fuller and Burgess took care to speculate on what Lizzie meant to Louisa. Their analysis of Louisa’s poem, “The Angel in the House,” was especially interesting.

I highly recommend listening to this entire series. You can find it at https://www.letgeniusburn.com/listen

An Update on the Lizzie Biography

Chapter Two is in the can, and I am now working on Chapter Three  . . . Fruitlands . . .

90 thoughts on ““Let Genius Burn” podcast explores the Alcott sisters

  1. Tremendous!!! I can hardly wait! I’m sorry that it’s so much work but it will be a “capital” book!!

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  2. Dear Susan: Thanks very much for recommending the Podcast by Ms. Fuller & Ms. Burgess
    I enjoyed it. I thought they did a lot of research & were very mindful as are you, of the
    biographer’s responsibility to be very sure of, no matter what their personal feelings about their
    subjects were), before presenting what they were writing was actual reality to their readers.
    I am also glad to note that Lizzie, whom they thought was always depicted as more ethereal and saintly than real,
    were so surprised by Marmee’s comment that Louisa & Lizzie were made of sterner mettle than Anna.
    I am also glad to see that they included Anna’s comments that the sisters in Little Women were actually
    based on the Alcott sisters, and that they “really lived it.” Although I appreciate Ms. Burgess & Ms. Fuller’s
    work very much, I would have come to much stronger conclusions about the relationship between Louisa
    & Lizzie than they did. Mine are much more like yours, Susan. I feel that even though there was little (although there WAS SOME) written evidence in Louisa & Lizzie’s journals & letters, that if one re-reads the beginning of Little Women, Part-I, in just the 1st 5 pages alone, there is plenty written about the affection between Lizzie & all her sisters,
    and there is much more in the “Burdens” chapter between pages 44 & 46, & there is even more in the
    “Little Faithful” chapter, ALL before Beth/Lizzie got sick. Although “L.W.” is a novel, not an autobiography,
    it seems obvious to me that all these times where Louisa mentions Beth, she is really pouring out her
    heart about how much she & her sisters loved Beth/Lizzie, & how much she loved them in return.
    I am glad to see that they mentioned how much you were doing to make Lizzie’s story better known; and
    I’m glad to see that you’re doing so well with your book Susan and seem to be happy too- Can’t wait to
    read it. Best Regards-Alex

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  3. Let’s talk about that “stern mettle!” It’s easy to attribute that to Louisa, but Lizzie? It seems to me that it would mean that both girls (for different reasons) didn’t care what society thought about their clothes, wherewithal, and values.

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    1. “Stern mettle” meant how well the girls were coping with their chaotic life in Boston. Lizzie was quietly stoic while she faithfully took care of the family; Louisa did whatever she could to earn money for the family. Abba made that comment because poor Anna made the mistake of being honest regarding her feelings about their situation, all the while steadfastly working for the family. All the girls cared about how they were perceived as poor and pathetic.

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      1. Meg and Jo could remember better times so I don’t blame them for complaining. Interesting that Amy couldn’t really remember prosperity but wanted it and didn’t seem to mind working to get it. Her goal was always in the forefront of her mind. Much like Jo. I think teenage and young adult Meg needed independent wealth.

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      2. You could be right, but despite her comments, I think both Meg and Anna did their bit as best theycould to contribute to the family income.

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  4. Hi Elizabeth!! You could be right, but I think it may have applied to Lizzie & Louisa’s work ethic. Beth/Lizzie didn’t just stand around blowing kisses & making goo-goo eyes to everyone, she worked HARD! For all through the 1st part of Little Women right through the “Little Faithful” chapter, Beth was always a hard worker, & I think from what little I was able to glean from reading Louisa’s journals, Lizzie was just the same. Although she was not a large person,
    (I think (there’s a reason why Susan called her “The Littlest Woman”), I’m sure she knocked herself out using all the strength she possessed doing the cleaning & housekeeping, & maybe cooking too, while her older sisters were doing what they could to bring in revenue to the “Pathetic Family” by teaching or sewing or writing. Going by “Little Women” in the Little Faithful” chapter, Beth had the best work ethic of all the sisters& I remember in one of Louisa’s writings she called Lizzie “our angel in a cellar kitchen”, and in a letter to Anna, Louisa said,” for our good little Betty… I will soon be able to buy a new one (gown) & send it with my blessings to the cheerful saint. She writes me the funniest notes, and tries to keep the old folks warm and make the lonely house in the snowbanks cosey and bright.”(That takes a lot of work, cooking, cleaning, maybe even chopping firewood!) Also in that poem “Our Angel in the House”(“My Beth in Little Women”) there is that line “of that courage wise and sweet which has made the path of duty green beneath your willing feet.” According to Anna, Lizzie never raised her voice in anger to anyone, but I also don’t think she ever stopped working to help the family, even after she got sick. Again this is just one person’s opinion, but I really beleive what Marmee meant by “stern mettle” was Lizzie’s (& Louisa’s)work ethic(s).
    All my best regards Elizbeth!!–and to you too Susan if you’re reading this!!-Alex

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    1. Very good! Although I do believe all the women in the family had strong work ethics. Yes, I agree that Lizzie had an awful lot of unpleasant work to do in the house, and there was no Hannah. Most likely it was she who chopped firewood and got the fires going so she could do her work. Everything had to be done from scratch.

      Remember that when Lizzie was ill she had her “out of character” moments: wouldn’t let mother near her and thought Anna was horrid.
      Also eating out of the pots at night, so no wonder her stomach was upset, said Louisa. That’s what illness can do to a person – turn even the most agreeable people to the contrary. Luckily she had
      better moods most of the time.

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      1. I didn’t know those stories Elizabeth. I didn’t come across them in what I read in Louisa’s journals or anything I saw from Susan or in Little Women. From what I read at her death Louisa said that at 23 she looked like a woman of 40
        with “all her pretty hair gone”, and in another account when her sisters dressed her for the funeral, her body was
        all bone held together by a little bit of skin, and no flesh whatsoever (sounds like what a person with terrible cancer
        would undergo!!) Also her mother was the one who brought the Scarlet Fever into Lizzie’s life & said according to direct descendent Eve La Plante’s book, “I dare not dwell on the fever on the fever which I conveyed into my home which devoured the freshness of her life and left her wrecked humanity on the shore of time for a brief space.” Also I think
        it was stated that Ether which I guess was one of the few things that relieved her pain no longer worked
        Given the physical agony of what Lizzy must have endured, I would not be surprised if there were occasional outbursts.
        However, that said, Louisa said in her journals that when she was caring for Lizzy that “she was so sweet and patient
        and so worn that my heart is broken to see the change.” and… she tries to be gay that I may keep up. Dear little
        saint! I shall be better all my life for these sad hours with you. And Anna on the 3rd anniversary of Lizzie’s death (as
        Susan quoted from her journal) said ” I can hardly bear to think of it and never seeing her sweet kind face & hearing that gentle voice never raised in anger to any living soul…and home has never seemed like home since she left it.”
        So based on those comments by Marmee & Louisa & Anna I would have to give Lizzie an A (as in Angelic) for
        her conduct duriing what must have been an absolutely apalling physical ordeal.
        But then I’m prejudiced Elizabeth—I absolutely love & adore everything about Beth and Lizzie!!
        (Like my mind’s made up please don’t confuse me with facts-LOL)
        All my Best Regards to You and Susan! Alex

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      2. Elizabeth is right about Lizzie being out of sorts towards the end of her illness. Considering how much she suffered, it’s not surprising. It did seem she went through some kind of crisis in November, December and January, but was able to come back to herself. She would not give in to despair which shows a tremendous amount of character and strength. Right up to the end, she found purpose in her life.

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      3. Thank you for that information Susan. (Kind of reminds me of the part of the “Tender Troubles” chapter of “L.W.” where
        Jo finds Beth crying so despairingly–(maybe for the same reason-knowing she would never recover–?? Anyway, Susan Thanks Again–Best Regards to You and Elizabeth–Alex

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      4. Good insights! With regards to the housework, yes, you are totally right, and it required much physical strength. This is why I maintain that Lizzie was not frail and sickly, not until she got the scarlet fever. People compare the bigger-than-life Louisa who was incredibly athletic with Lizzie who was not athletic and preferred to be quiet. I think that comparison feeds the myth that Lizzie was frail. Comparing Louisa and Lizzie physically is like comparing apples to oranges.

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      5. Yes Susan, and wasn’t there also a reason why you called her “The Littlest Woman”?? I don’t know if it’s true, but I wonder if her lack of size (& maybe also strength) left her less able to cope the Scarlet Fever than her sister May??
        Best Regards-Alex

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      6. I chose “The Littlest Woman” as a title because of how Beth and Lizzie were perceived – as “little,” meaning humble and meek. Notice Beth was called “Mouse” by her sisters which implies the same idea. With regards to the Scarlet Fever, I think it’s more complex than that which I will explain in my book (too much to get into here! 🙂

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      7. I agree with you Susan, and I think it’s more than perception that they were perceived as humble and meek. I also think the adjective “gentle” which I also heard applied to them in “L.W.” is appropriate, & I think are some of their most endearing qualities. It always gets me when I read “Our Angel in the House/My Beth when I get to that line…
        “Meek Heart-Forgive me Mine.” Thanks for eveything Susan. Best Regards to You and Elizabeth!!–Alex

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  5. Well, yes, and it’s possible that Lizzie was most comfortable with Louy. What I pointed out was a letter from Anna to Louisa. And yes, other accounts said that physically Lizzie was in very bad shape.

    What struck me quite hard was seeing that after Lizzie got so sick and died, Marmee quit “poking among poor folks” as Aunt March said in Little Women.

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  6. Well, yes, and it’s possible that Lizzie was most comfortable with Louy. What I pointed out was a letter from Anna to Louisa. And yes, other accounts said that physically Lizzie was in very bad shape.

    What struck me quite hard was seeing that after Lizzie got so sick and died, Marmee quit “poking among poor folks” as Aunt March said in Little Women.

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  7. Yes Elizabeth, I’m quite sure Marmee was completely destroyed by Lizzie’s decline & demise & her (although she had no way of knowing what her act of charity would do to her daughter) part in it. & she was completely heartbroken & said ” I took care of my darling Lizzie until she was released from her suffering by the great Physician of all of our woes”. She was also distraught at her complete lack of funds, and together with Lizzie’s death, which I don’t think she ever got over, & her own declining health, the rest of her life seems to have been one declining slope.
    All My Best Regards to You and Susan–Alex

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  8. Beth was younger than Lizzie and stayed frail for a longer time. In LW Beth was 14 when she got the fever and 19 when she died. That alone might make people think that Lizzie was frail for a much longer time than she was.

    I knew that “Jo & Amy” were the tall ones but always had a feeling that Beth was the smallest of the four because Meg was “plump and fair.” Same for Anna. She and Mrs. Alcott were rather heavy women.

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  9. Dear Susan I know just what you mean Re:Lizzie/Beth’s timidity, shyness etc. & being called “Mouse”: That’s one of my favorite parts of “L.W.”, where Meg responds to Beth, with real feeling, ” You’re a dear, and nothing else,” answered Meg warmly; and no one contradicted her for the “Mouse” was the pet of the family.” and then a little later in the chapter Beth telling Marmee her burdens… “dishes and dusters and being afraid of people and envying girls with nice pianos” and Beth’s bundle was such a funny one that everyone wanted to laugh; but nobody did, for it would have hurt her feelings very much.” 2 of many examples of Beth’s shyness, timidity, humility etc., but also 2 examples of how beloved she was by her family. All my Best Regards Susan, and you too Elizabeth if you’re reading this.–Alex

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  10. Thank You Elizabeth, and you too Susan for all the info. you’ve given me.—Funny thing about the physical description/size of Beth/Lizzie: the picture Susan showed us of Lizzie was that of an absolutely beautiful girl, but in “L.W.”, all the descriptions of Beth as a little girl showed her as kind of chubby: when the sisters are doing the Christmas play, it shows her as,” a stout little retainer…looking very frightened, and evidently forgetting the speech he ought to have made”, and in the “P.C. & P.O.” chapter Beth was called Tracy Tupman because she was round and rosy, and in “The Pickwick Portfolio” it saId,”…next out peaceful Tupman comes, so rosy, plump and sweet..”
    Oh well, “Little Women” was a novel, not an autobiography. Then too, it could have been at different ages ???
    Best Regards to both of you–Elizabeth and Susan—Alex
    P.S.-I hope I’m not being a pain, but I try fo compare everything with “Little Women”, and I guess sometimes that doesn’t always work.

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    1. Curious how Beth was portrayed as round and rosy – probably used as a means of contrast – she was in good health and then caught the scarlet fever. But as in real life. Lizzie/Beth was not frail or sickly, not until she got the scarlet fever. I see no evidence or her being any different from the other sisters with regards to health until then. People tend to compare bigger-than-life and very athletic Louisa with LIzzie who was more like the rest of us. It’s an unfair comparison, like apples to oranges.

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      1. Thank you Susan! That seems like a very good explanation for Louisa’s description of Beth; and I also agree with you about leaving Marmee’s unintended fault in bringing Scarlet Fever into her children’s lives out of “L.W.” ; which is why she took the blame on herself (“as Jo”In “L.W.”) for if Jo or Meg had visited the Hummels instead of Beth, presumably nothing would have happened since they had both had had Scarlet Fever before. Louisa was never going to throw her mother or father (for Bronson’s utter failure as a breadwinner) under the bus. I’m sure she loved them both very much, and besides that it would have been extremely cruel! AGAIN SUSAN, I would like to thank you for all your hard work and research and sharing your discoveries about the awesome Alcott sisters and family with us. I can hardly wait to
        see your book. All My Very Best Regards–and to you too Elizabeth if you’re reading this.–Alex

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  11. That’s right Elizabeth, right before Meg’s wedding, but SO SAD, .I beleive it continues…the beautiful kind eyes are larger, and in them lies an expression that saddens one, though it is not sad in itself…it is the shadow of pain which touches the young face…but Beth seldom complains and always speaks hopefully of being better soon.”…
    It must have been very difficult for Jo/Louisa and her sisters to deal with. All my Best Regards to You and Susan–Alex

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  12. You’re right Elizabeth-that’s correct- right before Meg’s wedding SO SAD, the beginning of the end for your namesake for I think it continues the beautiful kind eyes are larger, and in them lies an expression that saddens one…it is the shadow of pain which touches the young face … but Beth seldom complains and always speaks hopefully of “being better soon”…. All my Best Regards to You and Susan

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      1. Any astute reader knows that it was Mother who brought the Hummels into their lives. And Aunt March observed: No less than I’d expect, if you’re allowed to go poking among poor folks. Amy can stay and make herself useful if she isn’t sick, which I’ve no doubt she WILL be; looks like it now. Don’t cry, child, it worries me to hear people sniff.
        It’s as plain as the nose on your face. (Sorry to be trite.)

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  13. I should have said HEROIC not Tragic. For despite the terrible deal life dealt her, she still perservered, and did the best she could to help her family; and from what you have shown me (Thank you Susan for how much you have taught us about her!!) she was so beloved and missed by all her sisters and Marmee.
    Best Regards to Elizabeth and Marmee

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  14. I’m getting crazier & crazier, what I should have said was all My Best Regards to You Susan for how much you have shared with us as you have allowed us to go on this journey with you about the incredible Alcott sisters, and Best Regards to You as well, Elizabeth.–Alex

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  15. Interesting that the entire family had smallpox but it was scarlet fever that ruined Beth. I used to have the impression that smallpox was worse, but maybe that’s not so.

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      1. They sure did!! The girls were lucky, compared. If Marmee didn’t learn from this, she did from scarlet fever.

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  16. Oh, of course Anna did! All the way to the bitter end.
    Would you say that in a way, after John died, Louisa actually did “marry Anna herself and keep her in the family”??

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  17. Re: Lizzie-Anna and Lizzie thinking “Anna was horrid”: Susan I think you said Lizzie went into a kind of depression in the months of November, December, and Janurary, and I believe on March 14, she died. Isn’t it possible that during those months where she was in so much pain, (I believe Ether no longer worked as a pain killer by then), and knowing her own death was imminent–I don’t care how holy and and patient she was, it had to be a terrible blow to her– My 1st question Susan is do you think that Lizzie, being in the middle of of her depression might have felt that–like Louisa, maybe even moreso, that Anna’s planned marriage was a betrayal as a desertion of their sisterhood, especially when she felt the most need of ALL her family around her?? ALSO in a letter Louisa wrote to Eliza Wells,
    where she wrote of Lizzie’s decline and demise, I remember how she said that both she and “Annie” were both so
    sad and devoted to Lizzie, and then I remember in the beautiful memorial Anna wrote in her journal on the 3rd anniversary of Lizzie’s death that you were so gracious to share with us Susan, how devastated she was to never
    to be able to see her “sweet kind face or hear her gentle voice never raised in anger to any living soul” and that home
    never seemed like home again since Lizzie was gone.— So my 2nd question Susan is was there a reconciliation between Lizzie and Anna between the time of her depression before she died? ALSO in LW, ALL Meg’s comments
    about Beth were not only positive, but positively glowing, whereas Louisa felt no compunctions about mentioning
    the squabbles and figths between Jo and Amy, so that’s where my questions about the relationship between Lizzie and Anna are coming from. Best Regards Susan, and to you too Elizabeth, if you’re reading this.-Alex

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    1. Anna kept her plans a secret so I don’t think Lizzie knew about her intention to marry. I don’t think Lizzie had any particular grudges against anyone in the family — she was lashing out, I think, because of her anger about her illness. It was an existential moment for her as she grappled with despair. To eventually be able to conquer despair shows her true strength.

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      1. Dear Susan: Re: Your comments re the blessing of Lizzie’s being able to say goodbye to the whole family and Lizzie’s true strength in being able to conquer her despair: I think her strength may have been bolstered by the (even though there may have been occasional squabbles & life-learning lessons while growing up) from a life time of reciprocated love between Lizzie, her sisters, marmee, & (even though I hate do admit it) Bronson. [I mean for example: even one of the relationships which is NOT brought up strongly in “L.W.” that of Lizzie&Abba/Beth&Amy–Just by re-reading Lizzie’s Hillside Diary, it strikes me what a high percentage of it is about Lizzie playing, or doing things with little Abba—& especially with children that young, they must have built an incredible bond!] And I think that even in the middle of Lizzie’s incredible pain and suffering, that lifetime of reciprocated love between Lizzie & her family must have helped bolster her to be able to do what she did. I hope I didn’t ramble too much. Best Regards Susan, and you too Elizabeth, it your reading this.

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      2. Absolutely, I totally agree. And good for you in picking up the relationship between Lizzie and Abby May in Lizzie’s journal. People so often miss this, even Louisa in a sense because she does not build on it in Little Women with Beth and Amy.

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      3. “…Beth and Amy were snowballing one another.”

        (I probably will get the fever)”for I’ve been with Beth all the time.”

        “Beth and I are going over to Kitty Bryant’s ” (to get flowers for Meg’s wedding)

        “…a million turquoise rings would not console her for the loss of her gentle little sister.”

        So there were little nuances that the two younger girls did a lot together. Don’t you also suppose that since Amy could play twelve tunes, that it was probably Beth who taught her, since Mother was very busy?

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      4. It quite possibly was Beth, Elizabeth. By the way, I thought that was a VERY good catch by you about “her gentle little sister”. I thought that was one of the most poignant quotes in “L.W.”, especially in that chapter where Amy is at Aunt March’s and we see how fond little Amy was of jewelry, and it becomes even more touching when you add the preamble that Amy was praying for Beth “with streaming tears and an aching heart”! Susan–re relationship between Lizzie & May, at the time of Lizzie Alcott’s Hillside Diary that little May was so young at that time–what was she, about 7 or 7 1/2 that Louisa & Anna would be so much older in relation that they might even seem like mini-mother figures, whereas Lizzie was her playmate,( even though some other children played with them) I think Lizzie had to be her BEST FRIEND–they just had to be Besties didn’t they?? Best Regards!!

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  18. Dear Elizabeth and Susan: Re: Lizzie’s “out of character moments” which you informed me of: where she wouldn’t let Marmee near her and thought Anna was horrid. Do you know why she thought Anna was horrid? and do you know if Lizzie and Anna ever reconciled. (It is very hard and hurtful for me to believe Anna would ever do anything to deliberately hurt Lizzie !!) I would be very grateful for your answers. My Best Regards to Both of You, and please stay safe and free from Covid !!–Alex

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    1. I wondered about that too. Don’t forget that she wouldn’t let Mother near her either just then. Maybe they were just trying too hard to help Lizzie, who didn’t want to take powders nor pills and didn’t want to eat. When they went to the seashore Lizzie wrote, “Mother says I am to eat fish and get well…”
      Later Lizzie wrote that cousin Mary was watching every bite she put in her mouth and Lizzie didn’t appreciate that at all. So I think that Mother and Anna were trying too hard. Louisa was not at home then. Neither was Father, who wrote that he wanted to hear that she was gaining weight by the day, and scolded her for not taking her powders and pills.

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  19. I agree, well said Susan! and welll said by you too, Elizabeth. I remember in 1 book by Cheney, & 1 book by Eva La Plante, (a direct descendent of the Alcotts) that Marmee summoned Bronson back from wherever he was and that all the Alcotts were by Lizzie’s bedside just before she died, and that Lizzie liked that very much, and according to Louisa said good bye to them very tenderly, and I’m going to hope to believe that was true. It is very hard for me to be completely rational about these girls I admire so much!! Thank you Susan and Elizabeth for sharing with me, and Best Regards to You Both !!

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    1. Abba wrote a lengthy entry in her journal about this last goodbye and it reads the same way. It was a blessing that Lizzie got to say goodbye to the whole family in this way despite her immense suffering.

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      1. Yes Susan, it surely was, and I am VERY glad to know it was true!! By the way, I think you & Elizabeth probably got it right about the family being over solicitous about Lizzie, who wanted more of her own space. Best Regards !!

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  20. Sure they were besties… despite the 5 -year age difference they usually shared a room/bed and went to school together and did a lot together while Marmee, Anna & Louisa were working and Bronson was out of town.

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    1. Thank you for sharing that Elizabeth. I was unaware of all those facts. But I am very appreciative that the characters of the 2 sisters enabled their closeness to draw them closer & closer together. (Being in a tight situation with someone could cause serious friction, especially when things aren’t always perfect, as with the financially strapped Alcotts.) I am so thankful that Lizzie and little May were able to continue to love each other & be BFFs. Best Regards, and to You too Susan, if you’re reading this.-Alex

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    2. Hi Elizabeth: Re your “cuddly cozy” comment: I totally agree. But then Louisa was a nonesuch, generational,
      magical writer that she could add such touches of poignancy and charm to her novel, even with the scrapes
      and growing up lessons and remorse re poverty and heartache re Beth’s sickness & demise that it makes for a
      totally heartwarming read. (But then again that’s why we are all here on Susan’s website-right??)
      But the real-life Alcott sisters had it much rougher than the Marches, what with the constant separations, worse poverty, Bronson’s deficiencies as a husband and father, (over & above his failures as a provider), and I just think it’s so admirable that these little girls, who were forced to be the family breadwinners & sustainers at such a young age, & have to forego what should have been more enjoyable less stressful childhood, that they were always able to maintain a loving family feeling, (not that were never any scrapes), even to Bronson as far as I could see. Sometimes money problems can cause even families to be at each other’s throats, but in this case, the Alcott sisters only seemed to draw closer and closer together. I probably ramble too much, but I am just so awestruck!! Best Regards to You and Susan.

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  21. what I meant was that being in a tight situation like with LIzzie & May, especially when everything isn’t perfect COULD cause them to be at each other’s throats, & it is to the girls’ credit that their characters were of the sort that instead they continued to embrace & enhance their sisterly love & become closer & closer & I don’t know any other way to say that & how much I admire them for that !

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  22. Yes, I know what you mean by lonely. I was an only child when I was a kid and longed for a sister. However, Little Women’s story may have seemed cozy cuddly, but it surely was not EASY for the Alcott sisters, even before Lizzie got sick for they were separated so many times . Little 7 year old May was completely devastated when Lizzie was taken from her to live with her aunt for economic reasons & Louisa or Anna many times had to leave in order to produce revenue for “the pathetic family”, and then later poor Lizzie had to become a drudge. Louisa makes it seem so light & airy in ‘L.W.” when she says Beth “sang like a little lark about her work”; but in real life, I don’t know. I think Hannah’s comment that “housekeeping aint no joke” is probably much more like it. I guess I’m just repeating myself here & maybe even babbling but I am so CONSTANTLY AMAZED, that with the continaual separations (inclucing Bronson’s flittering here & there) & the constant struggle to support their family & the lack of a proper childhood, how the Alcott sisters were able to keep it together, It must have taken a lot of family love and trust, inclucing Marmee’s, and maybe their religious faith-Susan has told us how much the Reverend Parker meant to Luoy & Lizzie. Anyway, thanks for listening. Best Regards Elizabeth, and You too Susan if you’re reading this.-Alex

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  23. It looks like family was everything to the girls, at least; because Bronson certainly didn’t put their best interests first, and often neither did Abba, until Lizzie was sick enough to die.

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    1. I think a lot of what you said was true Elizabeth, BUT in many of Louisa’s letters both to Marmee and to Bronson, I saw her express a lot of love. I think thatk in all fairness to Marmee, that she may have been driven to distraction by having to take care of 4 daughters all alone, with Bronson being absent so much or being so preoccupied by his view of his own little vision of a utopian world that it superceded everything else inclucing how to take care of & provide for his family. I think it’s to the girls credit that they were able to not only forgive their parents, but to continue to love them,
      wholeheartedly,even with the knowledge that they weren’t perfect. (In my view that’s what always has to happen if love is to continue.) Best Regards Elizabeth and to you too Susan if you’re reading this (I hope, I hope, I hope)

      Liked by 1 person

  24. For Susan, Elizabeth or any & all L.W. lovers: the 1994 Version of Little Women with Wynona Ryder, Claire Daines, & Susan Sarandon is being shown at 4:30 P.M. Eastern Time today (7:30 P.M.-Pacific Coast Time) on
    Channel 352 on my T.V. It is the B.Y.U.T.V.-Brigham Young University T.V. Channel.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You too Susan. I also hope you and anyone else who is reading this have access to the Brigham University Channel,
        for it is out of Salt Lake City Utah.
        P.S. I think I remember once that you were working on something about May, as well as your Lizzie book. just wondering how those 2 projects are coming along. I woulld like to subscribe to both of them whenever you are ready.
        Best Regards.

        Like

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