Louisa May Alcott’s Classic 1868 Novel Turns 150
Sherman Texas | Austin College and Sherman Public Library are recognizing the 150th anniversary of publication of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel “Little Women” with special events at Sherman Public Library September 19 and 20. Both sessions are free and open to the public.
Randi Tanglen, Ph.D., Austin College associate professor of English and director of the Gender Studies program, will offer a lecture, “Top 10 Secrets of Little Women and Louisa May Alcott,” on September 19 at 11:30 a.m. She will moderate a panel discussion, “Reflections on Little Women at 150,” September 20 at 6 p.m. Both will be held in Sherman Public Library Meeting Rooms A & B.
Panelists for the September 20 discussion include Melissa Eason, library services administrator at Sherman Public Library; Lisa Hébert, director of Grayson College Library; Carolyn Montgomery Nicholson, retired educator and community volunteer; Lindsey Manley, owner, CBC Creative; Cece O’Day, first lady of Austin College and former English teacher; and Kate Whitfield, attorney and community volunteer.
“Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women,’ first published in 1868, has become the favorite novel of generations of readers all over the world,” Tanglen said, adding that the novel has never been out of print and has been published in more than 50 languages. “The March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy— have inspired male and female readers alike to live bold and authentic lives.”
Tanglen points out that the book is sometimes taken too lightly. “Although ‘Little Women’ is a popular and beloved novel, it is sometimes underestimated as ‘children’s literature’ or a ‘girls’ book,’” she said. “The novel explores complex issues, such as the limited role of women in society, the hardships of family separation, and the indignities of poverty. The four girls learn how to develop perseverance and courage in spite of these obstacles.”
Organizers believe the book remains significant for today’s readers. “I hope these events will encourage the community to read or re-read “Little Women” and talk with their friends and family about the novel’s universal themes and its relevance today,” Tanglen said.
Costumes from the recent Theatricks production of “Little Women” also will be on display at the library during these presentations.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.