- Louisa May Alcott's Hospital Sketches
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- Louisa May Alcott
- Louisa May Alcott - Wikipedia
America George Brown Tindall. Twelve Years a Slave Solomon Northup. This Terrible War Lesley J. Septimius Felton Nathaniel Hawthorne. Memoranda During the War Walt Whitman. Mothers of Invention Drew Gilpin Faust. The Black Phalanx Joseph T. Women's America Judy Tzu Wu. This is Going to Hurt Adam Kay. The Checklist Manifesto Atul Gawande. The Satir Model Etc. The River of Consciousness Oliver Sacks. How We Die Sherwin B.
The Body in Pain Elaine Scarry. Proof of Heaven Dr. Plasticity and Pathology David Bates. Yoga For Depression Amy Weintraub. Essential Examination, third edition Alasdair K. Natural Causes Barbara Ehrenreich. Gray's Anatomy for Students Adam W. Murtagh's Patient Education 7e John Murtagh. Her protagonists for these books are strong and smart. She also produced stories for children, and after they became popular, she did not go back to writing for adults.
Other books she wrote are the novelette A Modern Mephistopheles , which people thought Julian Hawthorne wrote, and the semi-autobiographical novel Work Alcott became even more successful with the first part of Little Women: Part two, or Part Second , also known as Good Wives , followed the March sisters into adulthood and marriage. Jo's Boys completed the "March Family Saga". In Little Women , Alcott based her heroine "Jo" on herself.
But whereas Jo marries at the end of the story, Alcott remained single throughout her life. She explained her " spinsterhood " in an interview with Louise Chandler Moulton , "I am more than half-persuaded that I am a man's soul put by some freak of nature into a woman's body Little Women was well received, with critics and audiences finding it suitable for many age groups.
A reviewer of Eclectic Magazine called it "the very best of books to reach the hearts of the young of any age from six to sixty". With the success of Little Women , Alcott shied away from the attention and would sometimes act as a servant when fans would come to her house. Along with Elizabeth Stoddard , Rebecca Harding Davis , Anne Moncure Crane, and others, Alcott was part of a group of female authors during the Gilded Age , who addressed women's issues in a modern and candid manner.
Their works were, as one newspaper columnist of the period commented, "among the decided 'signs of the times'". After her youngest sister May died in , Louisa took over for the care of niece, Lulu, who was named after Louisa. Alcott suffered chronic health problems in her later years,  including vertigo. During her American Civil War service, Alcott contracted typhoid fever and was treated with a compound containing mercury. Moreover, a late portrait of Alcott shows a rash on her cheeks , which is a characteristic of lupus.
Alcott died of a stroke at age 55 in Boston, on March 6, ,  two days after her father's death. Lulu, her niece was only 8 years old when Louisa died. Louisa's last known words were "Is it not meningitis? Louisa frequently wrote in her journals about going on runs up until she died. She challenged the social norms regarding gender by encouraging her young female readers to run as well. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Louisa May Alcott Alcott at about age Encyclopedia of women's history in America. The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, The parents of the authoress removed to Boston when their daughter was 2 years old, and in Boston and its immediate vicinity she made her home ever after. A Personal Biography 1st ed. Nancy Porter Productions, Inc. Walt Whitman in Washington, D.
Retrieved September 14, These things amuse me much more than they probably ought. The second thing I really liked about the book is that, thought it is mostly autobiographical and written in the first person, Alcott gives the viewpoint character's name as "Tribulation Periwinkle," which about the most perfect parody old-school New England name you can come up with. Alcott's skill with observational humor, and especially her comic accounts of the absurdities and small frustrations of getting anything done properly in this mad old world, means that Hospital Sketches is a very comic little book in tone, although the subject matter is mostly about young people dying of horrible wounds as Nurse Trib overworks herself right into a bout of typhoid pneumonia.
The first sketch details her travels down to DC from Massachusetts, and it contains all the things you want in a comic travelogue, such as amusingly mean descriptions of her fellow-travelers, some morbid fantasizing about all the ways traveling on public transit can go horribly wrong, and at least one adventure in getting embarrassingly lost. This last article takes place when she's trying to figure out how to get her free ticket to get from Boston to DC and involves her running around all over downtown Boston, which I personally enjoyed reading about as a resident of that badly planned and opaquely regulated little city.
The rest of the sketches are about her time at a facility she calls Hurly-burly House or the Hurly-burly Hotel, a chaotic, badly managed place where it seems like a miracle anyone actually got better at, especially with medicine being what it was in the s.
There's a lot of religious and patriotic beatification of various soldiers who die dreadfully, which could easily have been corny, especially considering the tone of arch social satire in so much of the rest of the book, but which do come off as quite touching, probably because Alcott's very earnest about what a tragic waste of human life it is to send a bunch of young people off to get blown up, no matter how glorious or necessary the cause.
The cause for the Union army in the case of the Civil War was certainly about as necessary as it gets, being rivaled in moral high ground only by the fight against the Nazis in World War II; however, the s were still the s, and it shows. The Alcott family were diehard abolitionists, and not in the "people ought to be as nice to their slaves as they are to their pets" way honestly, some anti-slavery literature is mind-boggling regressive.
But all the terms for people of color that were the polite terms back in are not the polite terms anymore the impolite terms are still impolite, only even more so , and the bits where Trib Models Interacting With Black People Nicely For The Benefit Of Readers are well-intentioned but really quite cringey from the vantage point of years later.
Fortunately, these bits are short, since the book is short and so all the bits are short. The last sketch except for a postscript is an account of Nurse Periwinkle coming down with typhoid pneumonia; this bit is really the opposite of dated, and will ring true to the experience of anyone who has fallen deliriously sick, especially anyone who has fallen deliriously sick in the middle of a work shift.
- Louisa May Alcott's Hospital Sketches : Alice Fahs : .
- Hospital Sketches?
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This last sketch also provides a more detailed account of the nurses' quarters, which makes living in a freshman dorm sound clean and orderly. All in all, it's as delightful a look into the hell of Civil War-era medical care as you're going to find, and it's about as readable as contemporary accounts of the subject are going to be, so I definitely recommend it to anyone else who's interested in Alcott, even if you're mostly familiar with her as a children's writer.
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Originally posted at The misadventures of Tribulation Periwinkle. The writing style was odd, as though she were trying too hard to be "literary": Still, excellent insight and description of war experiences, well worth reading. As eloquently written as any other of Alcott's work, this is an insightful glimpse into the war from an unlikely perspective. She writes with a "tone of levity" about it all, but the horrors of war still manage to show themselves, albeit the effects of their appearance somewhat blunted by Alcott's delivery.
She remarks repeatedly about both her sympathy and affection for the the African-Americans working along side her in the hospital, and that is not only not the popular opinion, but one she is As eloquently written as any other of Alcott's work, this is an insightful glimpse into the war from an unlikely perspective. She remarks repeatedly about both her sympathy and affection for the the African-Americans working along side her in the hospital, and that is not only not the popular opinion, but one she is best to keep to herself so as to not bring undue trouble upon herself or her co-laborers.
The conditions, treatments, and general organization of the hospital as she describes them are, to a 21st century citizen, nothing short of appalling and left me amazed that anyone recovered from anything other than the most minor of wounds or illnesses.
Louisa May Alcott's Hospital Sketches
This book is one of the more directly personal writings of Alcott's, as she freely opines about her work, her setting, her patients, the other nurses and doctors, and her own thoughts and emotions about it all. She also confesses to wishing to have been a "lord of creation" i. On the whole, I am left feeling I know her better, and have learned a few things about life during the civil war too. Her service was cut short after she came down with typhoid fever. Tribulation Periwinkle is the name she gave herself in this short fictionalized account of her experiences. The main role of a nurse during that time period was to wash, feed, and provide comfort to the wounded soldiers as they healed from surgery, or as they died from their injuries.
I found the first part of the book somewhat slow as she described her troubles in getting to Washington. However, it got interesting in the second part, which was the "sketches" of hospital life and the emotional stories of her patients, and also in the last part as she described her own illness and how she was cared for when she went from nurse to patient.
I enjoyed this short book, the stories were both touching and humorous, and it brought history to life. Feb 17, Tabby rated it liked it. It was a good thing to have read but it strongly underscored a painfully ignorant romanticized view of war that Americans are so fond of. She did not see children shot on the road in cold blood, she did not see officers give their men permission to rape any woman who disrespected them. She did not see the pow camps, did not see grandmothers and babies dead of exposure in the snow. She did not see the factory worker women largely woc kidnapped, raped over many days, and then abandoned hundreds It was a good thing to have read but it strongly underscored a painfully ignorant romanticized view of war that Americans are so fond of.
She did not see the factory worker women largely woc kidnapped, raped over many days, and then abandoned hundreds of miles from home with nothing. War is not Romantic. Dec 16, Lindaharmony rated it really liked it. She makes light of the bureaucracy she had to navigate to get to Washington, the personalities of the doctors, nurses, and patients, and her own naive expectations contrasted with the realities of the job.
Mixed with the lighthearted tone of the book is a profound respect for the wounded soldiers -- even a Confederate soldier in her care -- and the gravity of war. She assists in grisly surgeries and witnesses the deaths of young and beautiful men. The most tender moments are when she helps the patients write home to families and sweethearts.
I love Little Women. This is the first Alcott book I have read beyond that universally acclaimed classic, and it inspires me to read more of her lesser known work for adult readers. Aug 20, Marcia rated it it was amazing Shelves: These sketches were beautifully done. The preparations to leave and her frustration with disorganization she confronted were humorous.
Her recounting of her experience with the soldier who had been shot in the stomach was touching, and her recounting of John the Blacksmith from Virginia was heartbreaking and poignant. The big secret to these sketches' success is how personal These sketches were beautifully done. The big secret to these sketches' success is how personally invested she became towards her patients and her sincere appreciation of the other nurses and the doctors with which she worked.
There is humor throughout, such as her observations about the donkeys while she was sick, but you have no doubt that she took everything seriously. Jan 29, Purple rated it did not like it Shelves: Not a memorable or engaging story. Most of it was rambling details and introspection. Too many characters briefly appear with very little activity. There is no plot other than one chapter about treating a particular soldier. That was the only part of the book that grabbed my attention and actually gave an insight into a civil war hospital.
I can see why this story didn't withstand the test of time. Oct 19, Allison rated it really liked it.
Louisa May Alcott
Though short, this book is written with LMA's clear voice and style. The characters are described in detail and the book moves along quickly. Chapter four will make you cry and yet chapter five has descriptions of pigs and nukes that make you laugh out loud. What a great contrast! I enjoyed the postscript that was included as well. Sep 05, Ami Blue rated it it was amazing. I add the disclaimer because Fahs mentions in her introduction that the sixth "chapter" is actually a letter tacked on after the publication of the original five-chaptered Hospital Sketches. I didn't shudder or cringe at anything Alcott wrote in those first five chapters even though Alcott's Hospital Sketches is, in the Bedford edition edited by Alice Fahs, a 6-chaptered memoir of Alcott's half a year spent nursing for the Union Army in Georgetown, outside DC, during the Civil War.
I didn't shudder or cringe at anything Alcott wrote in those first five chapters even though one of them, "A Night," describes the slow, sentimental death of her beloved John. But in that final letter, the entire tone of the book changes from tragicomedy, dark and gritty, to the grotesque, all but describing the sounds arms make when they're being sawed off by a rougher-than-necessary Dr. Chapter one, "Obtaining Supplies," covers how it is that Alcott made up her mind to all but join the Army as a nurse. It establishes a tone of playful cheeriness that pervades the novel? Her first view of Washington, DC, "a spacious place, its visible magnitude quite took my breath away, and of course I quoted Randolph's expression, 'a city of magnificent distances,' as I suppose every one does when they see it," so squared with my own experience that, had I not been already endeared to LMA, she would have had me right there.
We also see quite a bit more development of her alter ego, Tribulation Periwinkle, in this chapter, whom I believe LMA uses to call attention to the sentimental irony of her usually gendered or classed situations -- as well as to contribute to the sense that LMA is more aware of what's going on than a simple retelling would allow. Chapter three, "A Day," takes us through a day-in-the-life of a quirky, intellectual, sarcastic Army "Nurse" -- and we begin to see just how loose a term that actually is, as the methods used in these hospitals seem so illogical and foreign to a germaphobe like me or any contemporary reader.
Chapter four, the most sentimental and, appropriately, dark chapter, is "A Night," in which she recalls the night that John dies. This chapter is fascinating for a number of reasons. It's the first time in the book that she actually addresses PTSD though not called that at the time outright in the fevers and reactions that soldiers relieving the war produces. It relies on the very dichotomy between woman and mother than the nineteenth century is so good at keeping separated in LMA's transformation from maternal caretaker to man-sensitive woman then back to maternal--even grandmotherly--caretaker.
And it ends with two men kissing each other goodbye, "tenderly as women. Chapter five, "Off Duty," explains that LMA was relieved of her duty after contracting an illness that killed another woman working in her ward then details her return to her family home, but not before one last action scene wherein LMA rushes from room to room of the hospital in order to save a dying soldier's life actually, it's a sardonic parody of the hospital's poor organization and implementation of care, a recurring theme in the narrative.
It's remarkable, still, for its inclusion of LMA's brief encounter with a black family and the responses given by those around her to LMA's genuine concern for and acceptance of them. The chapter also details some of LMA's duties after she was no longer in contact with the bodies as well as what she enjoyed paying attention to now that her mind wasn't constantly occupied with wounds and dying.
Louisa May Alcott - Wikipedia
The postscripted chapter, as I hinted at earlier, goes back through her time in a hurry but adds to it some gruesome details she left out in the first, original five chapters. I get the impression that she's been asked so much about those details that she felt compelled to, from the perspective of her alter ego Tribulation Periwinkle, tell the dirty underside of being a nurse This was my first LMA reading, so I'm going to say only that I was surprised by the comedic tone she took up early on and maintained throughout.
I'm also intrigued by the adoption of the alter ego, as though she required someone else to shift the responsibility to when things got gruesome or disgusting or plain ridiculous. Suggests to me a kind of splitting that she might have observed others doing, maybe her then larger-than-life father whom she would come to overshadow in fame and fortune, as she details in the final letter. That's me psychoanalyzing LMA through her book, but if it's a memoir, I'm welcome to.
Even if it's fiction, I can if I want.