Little Women Out to Work: Women and the Marketplace in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and Work

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Much critical attention has focused on Alcott's representation of domesticity, and, given that her contribution to the nineteenth-century domestic ideal was the source of her fortune and continuing literary fame, this is hardly surprising. This attention to Alcott's portrayal of domesticity, however, has meant that her representation of working women has received relatively little consideration. Indeed, what is missing from many studies of Alcott's domestic novels is an acknowledgment that Alcott's image of domesticity is underpinned by her experience as a working woman. This article examines the foundations of Alcott's domestic ideal by focusing on the experiences of Alcott's working women in two of her most autobiographical novels.

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