Moods

Front Cover
Rutgers University Press, Jan 1, 1991 - Fiction - 284 pages
14 Reviews
"Like her later works for children, Alcott's first novel is well and imaginatively written, highly moralistic, unlikely, and moving." --The Antioch Review Moods, Louisa May Alcott's first novel, was published in 1864, four years before the best-selling Little Women. The novel unconventionally presents a "little woman," a true-hearted abolitionist spinster, and a fallen Cuban beauty, their lives intersecting in Alcott's first major depiction of the "woman problem." Sylvia Yule, the heroine of Moods, is a passionate tomboy who yearns for adventure. The novel opens as she embarks on a river camping trip with her brother and his two friends, both of whom fall in love with her. These rival suitors, close friends, are modeled on Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Aroused, but still "moody" and inexperienced, Sylvia marries the wrong man. In the rest of the novel, Alcott attempts to resolve the dilemma she has created and leaves her readers asking whether, in fact, there is a place for a woman such as Sylvia in a man's world. In 1882, eighteen years after the original publication, Alcott revised and republished the novel. Her own literary success and the changes she helped forge in women's lives now allowed her heroine to meet, as Alcott said, "a wiser if less romantic fate than in the former edition." This volume contains the complete text of the 1864 Moods and Alcott's revisions for the 1882 version, along with explanatory notes by the editor. Sarah Elbert is a professor of history at the State University of New York, Binghamton. She is the author of A Hunger for Home: Louisa May Alcott's Place in American Culture (Rutgers University Press, 1987).
  

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Review: Moods

User Review  - Hether Pearson - Goodreads

I believe the 1864 ending was true to Louisa's personal beliefs on women and marriage: marriage takes away a women's identity... (view spoiler)[ although Sylvia dying was sweet karma (hide spoiler ... Read full review

Review: Moods

User Review  - Emma - Goodreads

The character of Sylvia was pretty flat. She gained depth, but all in all, I found her hard to relate to. Finishing the first chapter and moving on into the second is really confusing. You go from a ... Read full review

Contents

Acknowledgments
ix
Notes to Introduction
xli
In a Year
5
Whims
15
Afloat
28
Through Flood and Field and Fire
42
A Golden Wedding
59
Why Sylvia Was Happy
74
Sylvias Honeymoon
120
i
130
A Fireside Fete
133
Early and Late
142
In the Twilight
150
Asleep and Awake
162
What Next?
173
Six Months
189

Dull but Necessary
82
No
87
Holly
94
Yes
102
Wooing
108
Come
197
Out of the Shadow
208
Review of Moods by Henry James
219
Explanatory Notes
281
Copyright

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About the author (1991)

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1832. Two years later, she moved with her family to Boston and in 1840 to Concord, which was to remain her family home for the rest of her life. Her father, Bronson Alcott, was a transcendentalist and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Alcott early realized that her father could not be counted on as sole support of his family, and so she sacrificed much of her own pleasure to earn money by sewing, teaching, and churning out potboilers. Her reputation was established with Hospital Sketches (1863), which was an account of her work as a volunteer nurse in Washington, D.C. Alcott's first works were written for children, including her best-known Little Women (1868--69) and Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys (1871). Moods (1864), a "passionate conflict," was written for adults. Alcott's writing eventually became the family's main source of income. Throughout her life, Alcott continued to produce highly popular and idealistic literature for children. An Old-Fashioned Girl (1870), Eight Cousins (1875), Rose in Bloom (1876), Under the Lilacs (1878), and Jack and Jill (1881) enjoyed wide popularity. At the same time, her adult fiction, such as the autobiographical novel Work: A Story of Experience (1873) and A Modern Mephistopheles (1877), a story based on the Faust legend, shows her deeper concern with such social issues as education, prison reform, and women's suffrage. She realistically depicts the problems of adolescents and working women, the difficulties of relationships between men and women, and the values of the single woman's life.

Sarah Elbert is Associate Professor of History and Women's Studies at Binghamton University, State University of New York. She is the editor of Louisa May Alcott on Race, Sex, and Slavery, also published by Northeastern University Press. She lives in Ithaca, New York.

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