Freaks of Genius: Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott

Freaks of Genius: Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott

Freaks of Genius: Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott

Freaks of Genius: Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott

Synopsis

Six recently discovered works of Louisa May Alcott are reprinted in this volume for the first time since their initial publication. Originally written for storypapers in the 1860s, the works are all sensational thrillers that address such themes as the blight of inherited insanity, the power struggle between man and man, the sexual power struggle between man and woman, a Faustian/Mephistophelian pact, the passions of actors and actresses, and feminist triumphs and failures. These tales of violence, murder, and evil will appeal as much to the general reader as to the Alcott scholar.

Excerpt

The association of the author of Little Women with tales of feminist passion and sexual power struggles, narcotics addiction, revenge and murder continues to raise astonished eyebrows. Violence, unleashed emotion, insanity and deviltry are unlikely themes for America's best loved author of juveniles, and the revelation of her connection with them has given her a new public: a general readership avidly turning unaccustomed pages; a scholarly following seeking to understand the unseemly relationship.

As time passes and heretofore unknown Alcott thrillers are discovered, it begins to appear that that relationship was actually a commitment on her part and that Alcott's literary pursuit of darkness was longlasting. Her life behind the mask of anonymity or pseudonymity began earlier, was far more productive, and persisted longer than has been realized. Moreover, while it may have begun and endured primarily for economic reasons, it played an enormously interesting role in her literary development. Even when Alcott discontinued her contributions to the gory storypapers of her day, she returned to them, revising and re-using her narratives in later books. The newly discovered thrillers that comprise Freaks of Genius attest to Alcott's continuing addiction to her . . .

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