Work. A Story of Experience
Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1873.
Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1873. First edition. Original publisher's brick cloth stamped in gilt and blind. Brown coated endpapers. Measuring 173 x 112mm and collating complete: , 443, [1, blank]. A Near Fine copy with spine gently rolled and faint rubbing to extremities. Small ticket to front pastedown; early ownership signature of "Donna L. Gallup. Mystic Connecticut 1906" to front pastedown. Contemporary ownership signature of "Simeon Gallup 1873" to front endpaper. Internally fresh and unmarked. Difficult to locate in collectible condition, the present copy is the only one currently on the market unrestored in original cloth.
Stepping outside the beloved March family that had made her a literary celebrity, Alcott used Work to explore some of the more adult realities of working women's lives in America. Through her protagonist Christie, she depicts the deep creative passions so many women possessed—passions often subsumed by the daily struggles of finding reliable employment and doing much less fulfilling work. Christie works in fields familiar to Alcott in her own life. She works in domestic service, as a paid companion, as a governess, and as a nurse; throughout, her life is contrasted against other characters such as the hyper feminine and coddled Kitty and the romantic David Sterling (modeled after Henry David Thoreau). A lesser known but crucial piece of Alcott's oeuvre, which reflects her mature outlook and very real frustrations. Near Fine (Item #5882)