Before she wrote Little Women — one of the most popular books for children ever written — Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888) served during the Civil War as a volunteer nurse in Washington, D.C. Drawing on that episode in her life, she produced Hospital Sketches, a fictionalized account of her experiences at the military hospital in Georgetown.
This collection of five poignant short stories contains two pieces from Hospital Sketches, published in 1863: "Obtaining Supplies," recounting the obstacles Alcott's fictionalized persona, Tribulation Periwinkle, faced in gaining her independence and getting to Washington; and "A Night," a moving account of her encounter with a dying soldier. Also included are "My Contraband," a gripping tale of vengeance involving a Civil War nurse, her Confederate patient and his former slave; "Happy Women," a fictionalized essay about four "spinsters" with a positive attitude toward their marital status; and "How I Went Out to Service," an autobiographical sketch of a young woman's undaunted pursuit of financial independence.
Rich in their simple eloquence, these stories provide revealing glimpses of the concerns and literary techniques of one of America's most admired authors.
About the Author
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) was an American novelist and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys. Raised by her transcendentalist parents, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Little Women is loosely based on Alcott's childhood experiences with her three sisters.