By Anne K. Phillips and Gregory Eiselein

“And wish what thou dost show them may be blest
To them for good, may make them choose to be
Pilgrims better, by far, than thee or me” (Preface, Little Women, lines 4-6).

In the next 47 weeks, readers of this blog will undertake a pilgrimage from the “wilderness of this world” to the Gate of the City, from the little brown house to the apple orchard, from “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents” to a bountiful Harvest, and from recollections of Alcott’s best-selling novel Little Women to original, new discoveries about it.

“Thus I set pen to paper with delight” (John Bunyan, “The Author’s Apology For His Book,” line 28).

Welcome to our year-long journey through Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. In the months that follow, contributors to this blog will reflect on individual, consecutive chapters of Little Women as we celebrate the sesquicentennial of Alcott’s enduring and beloved novel. The contributors themselves are a distinguished group. Among them are eminent scholars, including those who laid the foundation for the scholarship on Alcott’s work and those who have ensured Alcott’s presence in the American literary canon. Some of our contributors are beloved and enduring writers, among them recipients of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal, and other significant literary honors. Our contributors are grandmothers and mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, teachers and students, librarians and editors and fans. Some of the contributors are regarded as the most knowledgeable Alcott scholars in the world, while a few are writing about Little Women for the first time. We already know that our contributors are going to highlight new contours of Alcott’s text and provide original, innovative insights about each chapter. While concise, these blog entries are also insightful, profound, and sometimes provocative. As a whole, they promise to break new ground in our conversations about Alcott’s essential American novel.

Thus, let us “prize, / The world which is to come, and so be wise” (Preface, Little Women, lines 9-10).

Next Monday, 30 July, at 8:00 a.m. C.D.T., the blog entry for Chapter 1 will debut, courtesy of the esteemed and admired Jan Turnquist, Director of Orchard House and Alcott consultant extraordinaire.

You can stay in touch with us by clicking the “Follow” button below, and you can also follow us on Twitter @LittleWomen150 or on Facebook at .

“Tell them that they . . . are turned pilgrims, seek a world to come” (Bunyan, “The Author’s Way of Sending Forth His Second Part of the Pilgrim,” lines 15-16).


 Anne K. Phillips and Gregory Eiselein teach at Kansas State University.

2 thoughts on “Preface.

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