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Louisa May Alcott’s First Novel

December marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Moods, Louisa May Alcott’s first novel.

Alcott wmoodsrote Moods, a novel of love and marriage, sometime during the period 1860-61. She may have been partly inspired by the 1860 marriage of her older sister Anna to John Pratt. The plot of Moods revolves around a love triangle; many of the characters were drawn from prominent transcendentalists in the Alcott family circles, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller.

Alcott’s publisher, the Loring company, asked her to significantly cut her manuscript and she was never satisfied with the final outcome. After becoming a literary superstar, she was able to revise the book to her liking, publishing a new version in 1882. The Louisa May Alcott Collection contains multiple copies of these editions, including binding variants of the first edition.

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