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Louisa May Alcott Events Will Highlight Women's History Month

For release: March 22, 2011
For press information, contact Tom Mendina, 901-678-4310

The University of Memphis Libraries, with the support of Dixon Gallery & Gardens and the U of M Center for Research on Women, will sponsor four events highlighting author Louisa May Alcott during Women’s History Month. All programs are free and open to the public. They include:

Wednesday, March 23, noon, Dixon Gallery & Gardens– “The Art in Children’s Literature of the Nineteenth-Century: Illustrations for Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Rose in Bloom and An Old Fashioned Girl.” The program will examine texts of 19th-century children’s literature, including illustrations for Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and her lesser known works, as well as Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

This presentation will focus on how small changes in illustration for different editions can change the focus and emphasis of scenes in the text. It will be followed by a discussion on how illustrations and film productions of the text brought the book to life for young readers. Panelists will include Lorinda B. Cohoon, associate professor of English at the U of M and a children’s literature specialist, and Lynda M. Sagresanto, director of the U of M’s Center for Research on Women.

Wednesday, March 30, noon, University Center River Room– Panel discussion, “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women.” Panelists will include Cohoon; Cynthia G. Tucker, published author and professor of English at the U of M; Ladrica Menson-Furr, director of the African-American Literature concentration and U of M assistant professor of English; and Shelby Crosby, U of M assistant professor of English who specialize in nineteenth-century African-American literature. They will explore how Alcott, a 19th-century writer who published many books for children and adults, influences, inspires, and serves as a model for other women writers and readers of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Audience members will be encouraged to discuss their own experiences of reading Little Women and other books by women writers.

Wednesday, March 30, 1:30 p.m., University Center River Room– Screening of the documentary film Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women, followed by a discussion led by Cohoon.

Saturday, April 9, 1 p.m., Dixon Gallery & Gardens– Louisa May Alcott’s Family Day.  Children and their families can explore Louisa May Alcott’s works for children through the lens of the 19th-century art at the Dixon, as well as games and food samples.

The University of Memphis Libraries is one of only 30 libraries in the United States to win an American Library Association-National Endowment for the Humanities-supported grant  to produce the programs. Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women is a documentary film co-produced by Nancy Porter Productions Inc. and Thirteen/WNET New York’s American Masters, and a biography of the same name written by Harriet Reisen. Louisa May Alcott programs in libraries are sponsored by the American Library Association Public Programs Office with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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