Written by Louisa May Alcott
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, DC. 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 if the concerns and literary techniques of one of America’s most admired authors.
Softcover, 55 pages