Each era has its ‘little women’

Louisa May Alcott was 35 years old when, through his father, the transcendentalist Bronson Alcott, he was commissioned to write a “story for girls”. Roberts Bro

Each era has its ‘little women’

Louisa May Alcott was 35 years old when, through his father, the transcendentalist Bronson Alcott, he was commissioned to write a “story for girls”. Roberts Brothers, the label that was in charge, was aware of his “skill literary” —around 1865, Alcott had published several thrillersbajo pseudonym— and I wanted to make it available to a larger end: “training women” making a bridge between “the classroom and the salon,” advising “submission, marriage, and obedience instead of autonomy and adventure”, as Elaine Showalter in his foreword to the edition Penguin Classics. Alcott accepted and he ended up writing a classic on the contrary.


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Since its publication in 1868, little women has been saying to the girls reading that there is not a single way of being a woman, and that you may dream to escape everything that was expected of them. His enormous influence on popular culture has not declined since then, as evidenced by the spate of publications occasioned by 2018, its 150th anniversary, and the premiere of a new film version (that adds up to three famous adaptations above), directed by perhaps the director's most cool of the moment, Greta Gerwig, which offers a (new) twist of feminism in the story of the four sisters of the March, told by Jo, the díscola aspiring writer.

'little women' in the first cinema film version, directed by George Cukor in 1933.

Alcott was, without knowing it, one of the first feminists in history. He defended not only his right to choose not to marry, earn a living for herself and to discover and cultivate his / her self, but, through little women, encouraged us all to do so”, explains Anne Boyd Rioux, author of " The legacy of little women (Ampersand), an essay on the classic of Alcott, in which, in addition to establishing a journey through the behind-the-scenes of its creation, sheds light on some of their shadows. Do the main? The wedding of Jo, an end that seemed not to the height of a character so independent. “At Alcott was not allowed to write the ending that I had planned for Jo, in which his protagonist ended up like her: a spinster dedicated entirely to the literature. But his followers and his editor insisted that all should marry, and hence that all ended, as she herself said: ‘so stupid’. In spite of everything, tried to subvert the expectations casándola with professor Bhaer and placing it in front of the school Plumfield, giving an egalitarian view of marriage that could be considered feminist,” says Rioux.

Inspiration of thinkers

Married or not, the character of Jo has inspired countless artists and thinkers. The has become, in some sense, from girls, in and of themselves. Changed the life of Patti Smith when she was more than “a dreamer flacucha of 10 years”, and also of the respected thinker of feminism Simone de Beauvoir. Writers such as Joyce Carol Oates and Jeanette Winterson have also admitted that little women,perhaps the title most frequently cited in the interviews-questionnaire of the supplement Babelia, the question of “What book made him want to be a writer/a?”, were invited to draw their own path. “Until I read it I was not aware that the novels that I liked so much had a author, and that author could be a girl. I remember that then we were living in Palma de Mallorca. I was nine years old. Jo March wrote stories and I also wanted to do it. It was then when it all started,” recalls Elvira Lindo, who will never, he says, can judge of the Premiere literary. “When something you make in childhood, your criteria can never be only literary”.

expand photo The Technicolor comes to 'little women' with the version of 1949 Mervyn LeRoy.

And if it's Cute she discovered that she could write because Jo did it, also a writer Lucía Lijtmaer, born in the late seventies and belonging already to a generation that had hundreds of other models to follow, he learned, by Mujercitas, that the intellectual life implied precariousness. “Is Jo which is always interpreted as a heroine by finding a destination in the scripture, but for me it really worked as a warning: the room itself has a cost, material and immaterial. And many times a punishment. Maybe that's why I don't have a good memory of the book,” he says. Lijtmaer, like Cute, read, “with fascination,” at nine years old, like Mary Fasce, editor of Lumen, a label that has the classic in his catalog. Remember to have felt “a desire for a violent” to be a Jo, and that that desire can remain the same while the ' book is still new,” something that happens “if there are any readers who still have not discovered, as I was saying [to the editor] Peter Meyer”.

the center of the story

“it Is true, every age has its Premiere,” says Anne Boyd Rioux. “Every time you take those ideas that seem appropriate to explore.” Hence, for example, by adaptations of the thirties and forties, “barely mentions the interest by the art of Amy or the writing of Jo, and love is the center of the story”, and that is not until after the hatching feminist of the seventies that “Jo will show us as a rebel and to take seriously that behaves like a guy”. In the adaptation of 1994, “it is intended that all the world is happy, the conservatives, and feminism”. “Gerwig has focused on the figure of the woman artist, in his or her self as a creator, and in all the contradictions that that I must face,” adds Rioux.

'Girls', Gillian Armstrong, 1994.

“Mujercitas is in the genealogy that tries to build an epic of the intimate,” agrees Marta Sanz. The writer believes that reveals “the contradictions and tensions that, by the fault of the education received, as we live, women are very different, that we are struggling to get out of the stereotypes.” Sanz, who did not approach the novel until I was already a grown woman because “their readings of canonical male” had been relegated to the classic that you may consider, from this point of view, “stale and cheesy”, encouraged to “rethink the book from a dimension in which we go beyond the stereotypes, resignificamos words, we have rehabilitated the polisones and kitchens, and at the same time, we don't want our differences become disadvantages in the public space”. Because, he says, “the literature not only represents reality, it also builds it, and that is one of the reasons why it would be good to re-read little women with a critical sense: we would be rereading ourselves”.

Date Of Update: 26 December 2019, 23:00