Deadline for submissions: January 19, 2018
Full name/name of organization: Gregory Eiselein / Louisa May Alcott Society
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Roundtable: Louisa May Alcott Society

American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, CA, May 24-27, 2018

The Newness of Little Women

When it initially appeared in 1868, Little Women broke new ground. Fresh, lively, and distinctly American, in the eyes of its first reviewers, the novel offered up singular depictions of young women and men playing, talking, dreaming, creating, and learning in ways that embodied its era and region and that also immediately generated passionate responses. For this roundtable, we anticipate an animated conversation inspired by concise and stimulating perspectives about the newness of Little Women. Proposals might consider questions such as the following: In what ways did Alcott’s book revolutionize the novel as a genre or form? In what ways did Alcott’s slangy diction transform the language of American literary realism? What are Little Women’s most distinctive contributions to the development of literary or popular culture? How did the novel change the ways writers could represent young people, mothers and families, art and ambition? How does Little Women represent in unique or ephemeral ways its own moment in history? We would also welcome emerging approaches to Little Women: What are the newest or most innovative ways of examining and teaching the novel, and how can they help us see it with fresh eyes? Please send 300-word abstracts by email to Gregory Eiselein at and Anne K. Phillips at The deadline for proposals is Friday, January 19, 2018. Early submissions welcome.