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Grant number like: FZ-231734-16

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Anne Boyd Rioux
University of New Orleans (New Orleans, LA 70148-0001)

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 12/31/2016

Reading Little Women: The History of an American Classic

Research and writing of a comprehensive study of Little Women, including elements of memoir, literary criticism, historical context, and literary biography, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the novel's publication.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Little Women, I am writing a "biography of the book"—a variety of literary nonfiction that combines elements of (biblio)memoir, literary criticism, historical context, and literary biography—in order to illuminate for a nonspecialist audience how the novel was written and why it endures. The time is ripe to reassess the novel’s significance, as it appears on the Common Core Standards reading list for grades 6-8, a new film is in the works from Sony Pictures, and we appear to be on the verge of the first viable women's candidacy for president by Hillary Clinton, one of the many women who has declared that Jo March was her greatest influence growing up. (Others include Ruth Bader Ginsberg, J. K. Rowling, and Patti Smith.) This book will examine the novel's significance as a feminist and an American literary classic, examining how much girls may still need it today and arguing that it should be read by men and women of all ages.