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Transcendental Wife: The Life of Abigail May Alcott

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Overview

Transcendental Wife tells the story of Abigail May Alcott (1800-1877), a 19th-century wife and mother, who accepted the view that women best served society and moral authority by supporting involved husbands and by nurturing future citizens, the children. Before her marriage she espoused abolition, temperance, and educational reform, and the circumstances of her life with Bronson Alcott led to her eventual advocacy of careers and the vote for women. This book considers her life in the context of her historical era and as a person in her own right.

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Barton has hit all the relevant sources in her deeply researched, compact study. This biography fills a major lacuna in the literature on the Alcott family.
Choice
Cynthia Barton's Transcendental Wife is an important contribution to scholarship on 19th century American women...Barton offers important insights into her struggles and makes effective use of letters and diaries to convey a sense of Alcott's inner life.
— Melissa M. Pennell, English Dept., UMASS-Lowell
CHOICE - Joel Myerson
Cynthia Barton has presented a well-researched and well-written biography of this fascinating woman, who was the mainstay of her husband Bronson and the inspiration for her daughter Louisa. How good it is to finally see 'Marmee' given life on her own.
CHOICE - Sarah Elbert
Transcendental Wife, The Life of Abigail May Alcott is a vivid portrait of the real 'Marmee', a woman of warmth, wit and formidable character...Barton's biography reveals Abby May Alcott in trouble and triumph...This is a biography of 'Marmee' ripe and ready reading in these times.
CHOICE - Melissa M. Pennell
Cynthia Barton's Transcendental Wife is an important contribution to scholarship on 19th century American women...Barton offers important insights into her struggles and makes effective use of letters and diaries to convey a sense of Alcott's inner life.
Choice
"Cynthia Barton has presented a well-researched and well-written biography of this fascinating woman, who was the mainstay of her husband Bronson and the inspiration for her daughter Louisa. How good it is to finally see 'Marmee' given life on her own."
Joel Myerson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761803867
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 7/25/1996
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Cynthia H. Barton is a writer and educator. She has written several articles for Cobblestone Magazine, and the Orchard House publication, Portfolio. She is also the biographer of the founder of the Fruitlands Museums, Clara Endicott Sears and a regular lecturer at the Bronson Alcott School of Philosophy in Concord, Massaschusetts.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Foreword
Preface
Ch. 1 Marriage 1
Ch. 2 Motherhood 23
Ch. 3 Marital Discord 39
Ch. 4 Con-sociate Family 69
Illustrations 99
Ch. 5 Natural Family 115
Ch. 6 Sister of Charity 141
Ch. 7 Marmee 157
Notes 173
Selected Bibliography 191
Index 193
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