This "Penguin Classics" edition of Louisa May Alcott's inspiring tale of sisterhood, "Little Women", is edited with an introduction by Elaine Showalter. The charming story of four 'little women' - Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth - and their wise and patient mother Marmee, was an instant success when first published in 1868. Enduring hardships and enjoying adventures in Civil War New England, the March sisters have been adored for generations. Readers have rooted for Laurie in his pursuit of Jo's hand, cried over little Beth's death, and dreamed of travelling through Europe with old Aunt March and Amy. Future writers have found inspiration in Jo's devotion to her writing. In this simple, enthralling tale, both parts of which are included here, Louisa May Alcott has created four of American literature's most beloved women. In her enlightening, thoughtful introduction, Elaine Showalter discusses Louisa May Alcott's influences, and her aspirations for "Little Women", as well as the impact the novel has had on such women writers as Joyce Carol Oates and Cynthia Ozick. This edition also includes notes on the text by Siobhan Kilfeather and Vinca Showalter. Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) grew up surrounded by American writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Drawing on her experience as a volunteer nurse in the Union Army during the American Civil War, she published "Hospital Sketches" in 1863, followed by gothic romances and lurid thrillers such as "A Modern Mephistopheles" and "A Long Fatal Love Chase". In 1868, she published "Little Women", which proved so popular that it was followed by two sequels. If you enjoyed "Little Women" you might like Elizabeth Gaskell's "Wives and Daughters", also available in "Penguin Classics".