Monday, February 03, 2020

"I wish wearing flat-irons on our heads would keep us from growing up."

The quotation I've used in the title of this post is taken from Louisa May Alcott's book Little Women. I basically read it because I realized that I was surrounded by women who absolutely loved it.  Also I am in a book club where we have read some interesting books on growing up.

I immediately saw why this is a classic.  Charming (but imperfect) characters, extraordinary writing, an intimate look at the past.  And for girls, a family that you might love to have.

One thing that really struck me was how close Alcott's language (from 1862) is to North American English today.   Ideas and assumptions vary (see the discussions of marriage!) but the vocabulary and sentence construction would be familiar to any reasonably educated person.

I offer up the example of the post title.  The flat-iron reference might puzzle a good many modern readers, but a good many might get it fairly easily from context.

Image: Louisa May Alcott

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