Louisa May Alcott and George Eliot on Class, Gender, and Marriage
Myers, Elizabeth M.
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This comparative dissertation explores in-depth the categories of class, gender, and marriage in both the writings of the American Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), and the British author, George Eliot (1819-1880). In addition, and when relevant, additional topics and categories are investigated, including, but not limited to: religion, morals, race, and education. The primary Alcott fictional works studied include Moods (1864 & 1882), Little Women (1868-69), and Work (1873). The primary Eliot fictional works studied include Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1861), Middlemarch (1871-72), and Daniel Deronda (1876). Although the focus is on their most famous works, additional novels, essays, and other writings are also considered when relevant. It is the goal of this dissertation to show the impact these two women had on their overall societies by way of their writings. Both Alcott and Eliot relied heavily on the topics of class, gender, and marriage in their storylines, both had revolutionary ideas when it came to these topics, and both implemented these revolutionary ideas into their stories in a way that helped change the way their contemporary readers thought and behaved in their own ways of life.