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: Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books over several months at the request of her publisher. Following the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—the novel details their passage from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters:202Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success with readers demanding to know more about the characters. Alcott quickly completed a second volume (entitled Good Wives in the United Kingdom, although this name originated from the publisher and not from Alcott). It was also successful. The two volumes were issued in 1880 as a single novel entitled Little Women.Alcott wrote two sequels to her popular work, both of which also featured the March sisters: Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The novel addressed three major themes: "domesticity, work, and true love, all of them interdependent and each necessary to the achievement of its heroine's individual identity.":200Little Women "has been read as a romance or as a quest, or both. It has been read as a family drama that validates virtue over wealth", but also "as a means of escaping that life by women who knew its gender constraints only too well".:34 According to Sarah Elbert, Alcott created a new form of literature, one that took elements from Romantic children's fiction and combined it with others from sentimental novels, resulting in a totally new format. Elbert argued that within Little Women can be found the first vision of the "All-American girl" and that her multiple aspects are embodied in the differing March sisters.:199The book has been adapted for cinema; twice as silent film and four times with sound in 1933, 1949, 1978 and 1994. Six television series were made, including four by the BBC—1950, 1958, 1970 and 2017. Two anime series were made in Japan during the 1980s. A musical version opened on Broadway in 2005. An American opera version in 1998 has been performed internationally and filmed for broadcast on US television in 2001.According to literary critic Sarah Elbert, when using the term "little women", Alcott was drawing on its Dickensian meaning; it represented the period in a young woman's life where childhood and elder childhood were "overlapping" with young womanhood. Each of the March sister heroines had a harrowing experience that alerted her and the reader that "childhood innocence" was of the past, and that "the inescapable woman problem" was all that remained.:196x2 Other views suggest that the title was meant to highlight the inferiority of women as compared to men, or, alternatively, describe the lives of simple people, "unimportant" in the social sense.Four teenaged sisters and their mother, Marmee, live in a new neighborhood in Massachusetts in genteel poverty. Having lost all his money, their father is acting as a pastor, miles from home, involved in the American Civil War. The women face their first Christmas without him. Meg and Jo March, the elder two, have to work in order to support the family: Meg teaches a nearby family of four children; Jo assists her aged great-aunt March, a wealthy widow living in a mansion, Plumfield. Beth has to stay at home and help with housework; Amy is still at school. Meg is beautiful; Jo is a tomboy; Beth is a pianist; Amy is an artist.