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Alcott Louisa May; Eight Cousins

SKU: Alcott Louisa May AB0601037 $49.00
Eight Cousins: or The Aunt Hill by Louisa May Alcott published by P.F. Collier and Son Corporation New York in 1917. Color frontispiece and seven additional black and white illustrations. Dedication verso of Preface is a facsimile note written in Alcott trades hand to: the many boys and girls whose letters it has been impossible to answer Vibrant red cloth boards with a light green decoillustration on front within a thin and thick rule boarder. Author title and pub. in black text colophon in light green with continuing decoration from front.. With the exception of slight sun fading on spine the boards are in as newcondition. 292 white pages without any foxing spotting tear or loss. No inscriptions or marks. Minor grime on the page edges foot. No dust jacket. Volume measures: 13.5 cm. x 19.3 cm. (12mo). Volume is in very fine condition. Eight Cousins or The Aunt-Hill was originally published in 1875 by American novelist Louisa May Alcott. It is the story of Rose Campbell a lonely and sickly girl who has been recently orphaned and must now reside with her maiden aunts the matriarchs of her wealthy Boston family. When Rose trades guardian Uncle Alec returns from abroad he takes over her care. Through his unorthodox theories about child-rearing she becomes happier and healthier while finding her place in her family of seven boy cousins and numerous aunts and uncles. She learns to strip away the ''shams of life'' with the help of burly honest Uncle Alec. She also makes friends with Phoebe her aunts young housemaid whose cheerful attitude in the face of poverty helps Rose to understand and value her own good fortune. Without a mother for most of her life Rose looks to her many aunts her friends and the housemaid Phoebe as feminine role models. At the same time this 13 year old girl who has just lost her beloved father previously the only male in her life is suddenly confronted with a male guardian seven boisterous male cousins and various other repugnant relatives. As do all of Alcott trades books for young people the story tales a high moral tone. Various chapters illustrate the evils of cigar-smoking yellow-backnovels high fashion billiards patent nostrums and so on while promoting exercise a healthy diet and wholesome experiences of many kinds for girls as well as boys. Alcott uses the novel to promote education theories and feminist ideas many of which appear in her other books. For example Uncle Alec in choosing a wardrobe for Rose rejects current women trades fashions (such as corsets high heels veils and bustles) in favour of less restrictive and healthier clothing. Although he discourages her from the professional study of medicine Uncle Alec educates Rose in Physiology a subject her aunts consider inappropriate for girls so that she can understand and take charge of her own health. Rose is prepared for a career as a wife and mother yet is taught that she must take active and thoughtful control of her fortune so that she may use her money and social position to the best advantage of the larger community. Written in an age when few women had control of their own money property or indeed their destinies Alcott trades portrayal of Rose trades upbringing is a good deal more revolutionary than 21st century readers may realize. Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) is best known for her creation of the classic work ''Little Women'' the story of four sisters growing up in a New England town during the mid 1800s. Alcott's father Bronson was a philosopher and educational reformer whose idealistic projects kept the family in poverty: financial security did not come until ''Little Women''. However the Alcott family was rich in their friends which included such noted figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Like her father Alcott practiced her beliefs working for the right of women to vote and for the temperance (anti-drinking) movement. A review attributed to the great Henry James at the time of ''Eight Cousins''' publication called Alcott ''the Thackeray the Trollope of the nursery and the school room... she is a satirist.''