Louisa May Alcott was an American novelist best known as author of the novel Little Women and its sequels Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys. Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Nevertheless, her family suffered severe financial difficulties and Alcott worked to help support the family from an early age. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s.
Laura Ciolkowski is Associate Director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality and Adjunct Associate Professor of English & Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her work on Victorian literature and culture has been published in numerous academic journals, including Studies in the Novel, Victorian Literature and Culture, Genders, and Novel: A Forum on Fiction.