Magazine September 9, 2019, Issue

Louisa May Alcott: A Writer for All Ages

Louisa May Alcott (Wikimedia)
Academics and modern readers sometimes miss what makes Alcott’s works endure.

National Review’s esteemed editor, Rich Lowry, recently posed a question on a podcast: Who was the greatest American author? From my silent seat in the producer’s chair, I mouthed three words at my boss: Louisa May Alcott. Of course, he told me I was wrong. Obviously that accolade belongs to Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a.k.a. “Mark Twain.” 

Perhaps Twain does deserve this title. He is certainly the greatest American humorist, with a knack for clever turns of phrase and scathing insights into the human character. But Alcott? Our poor, misinformed general public seems to think her books are merely “children’s tales” or

To Read the Full Story

This article appears as “A Woman For All Ages” in the September 9, 2019, print edition of National Review.

Sarah Schutte is the podcast manager for National Review and an associate editor for National Review magazine. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, she is a children's literature aficionado and Mendelssohn 4 enthusiast.

In This Issue

What We Love About America


American Men

American men — with few exceptions — treat you like a human being, in a free, natural way, because they’ve done it from the nation’s youth.

Books, Arts & Manners



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