Researcher Finds Unknown Stories From Little Women Author?

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Little Women is one of the most influential books ever written. This Louisa May Alcott novel has thrilled audiences for generations, and it was wonderfully adapted by Greta Gerwig for her amazing 2019 film of the same name. Now, it seems more such cinematic adaptations may be inevitable: according to The Guardian, as many as “seven short stories, five poems and one non-fiction work” may have also been written by Alcott under the name EH Gould.

Stories Written By Louisa May Alcott Under A Pseudonym Have Emerged

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Considering that Louisa May Alcott died in 1888, it may sound surprising that anyone is still discovering previously unknown works penned by the legendary author. In this case, all the credit goes to Max Chapnick, a researcher who began delving into Alcott’s body of work while completing his PhD. Over the course of his research, Chapnick learned about a story called “The Phantom” that was known to be written by Alcott, but nobody had ever found a copy of that story.

The Storied Were Written Under The Name EH Gould

During Chapnick’s research into Louisa May Alcott, he found a copy of the story in question. There was just one problem: rather than being credited to the famous writer, the story was written by someone named EH Gould. At first, Chapnick dismissed the finding as something of a dead end, but he later had a downright tantalizing thought: what if “EH Gould” wasn’t another writer altogether but instead a pen name used by Alcott herself?

Now, Chapnick had a theory that he had definitively uncovered a previously unidentified work written by Louisa May Alcott but then came the hard part: like all good graduate students, he needed to find a way to prove his theory.

There were some strong clues, including the fact that the story seemed to be written in Alcott’s familiar style and the fact that it was a spoof of the famous Charles Dickens story “A Christmas Carol” (Alcott was a huge fan of Dickens and his writing, going so far as to act in stage adaptations of Dickens’ works).

The Clues Within The Text

For Chapnick, this was enough proof that “EH Gould” was actually Louisa May Alcott, and the researcher then looked into other stories ostensibly written by Gould. Some of these stories had their own clues, including one with a character named Alcott. Additionally, there was a nonfiction story named “The Wayside” that just happened to take place in The Wayside, which was the name of Alcott’s Massachusetts home.

There’s No Confirmation Yet This Is The Same Person Who Wrote Little Women

While this is a major potential discovery for Chapnick, he is quick to stress that while these works (comprising five poems, seven short stories, and one nonfiction tale) certainly seem to be written by Alcott, she never mentioned the pen name EH Gould.

In his words, that means we have no “smoking gun” to confirm this theory. And even though these works are “less polished” than Alcott’s famous novels like Little Women, Chapnick believes the discovery itself serves as proof there is plenty more to uncover about Alcott’s life and her work.

Will Greta Gerwig Adapt The Phantom?

This potential discovery of new Louisa May Alcott stories has us thinking about those immortal words from the later writer William Faulkner: “the past is never dead,” he wrote, “it’s not even past.” Certainly, Alcott seems to be reaching out from the past today to remind us that she is now more relevant than ever before. As for us, we are left wondering whether Greta Gerwig might end up adapting “The Phantom” into a short movie and, if so, if she might once again cast Barbie Icon Margot Robbie in the film.