(Daniel L. Shealy)
PERSONAL: Male. Education: Newberry College, B.A.; University of South Carolina at Columbia, M.A., Ph.D.
ADDRESSES: Office—University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Department of English, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28223-0001.
CAREER: University of North Carolina at Charlotte, professor of English and associate dean of graduate school.
(Editor with Joel Myerson and Madeleine B. Stern) Louisa May Alcott, A Double Life: Newly Discovered Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott, introduction by Madeleine B. Stern, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1988.
(Editor with Joel Myerson and Madeleine B. Stern) Louisa May Alcott, The Journals of Louisa May Alcott, introduction by Madeleine B. Stern, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1989.
(Editor with Joel Myerson and Madeleine B. Stern) Louisa May Alcott, Louisa May Alcott: Selected Fiction, introduction by Madeleine B. Stern, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.
(Editor with Joel Myerson and Madeleine B. Stern) Louisa May Alcott, Freaks of Genius: Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1991.
(Editor) Louisa May Alcott, Louisa May Alcott's Fairy Tales and Fantasy Stories, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1992.
(Editor with Madeleine B. Stern) Louisa May Alcott, From Jo March's Attic: Stories of Intrigue and Suspense, Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 1993, published as The Lost Stories of Louisa May Alcott, Carol Publishing Group (Secaucus, NJ), 1995.
(Editor) Louisa May Alcott, Flower Fables (fairy tales), illustrated by Leah Palmer Preiss, Okey-Doke Productions (New York, NY), 1998.
(Editor with Joel Myerson) Louisa May Alcott, The Inheritance (novel), Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1998.
(Editor and contributor) Alcott in Her Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of Her Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates, University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 2005.
Contributor of articles to journals, including Resources for American Literary Study.
SIDELIGHTS: Daniel Shealy has a particular interest in nineteenth-century American literature, especially the works of Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888). Alcott is best known for writing Little Women, the enduringly popular novel about the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—coming of age in a poor but loving New England family during and after the U.S. Civil War. However, Alcott also wrote fairy tales and thrillers, and in contrast to the morally uplifting tone of her most famous work, some of the latter are rather lurid, although the forces of good win out eventually. Shealy and his collaborators have collected Alcott's lesser-known writings as well as her journals, letters, and other biographical information. In doing so, they seek to provide insight into the woman and her craft.
One of Shealy's achievements, with coeditor Joel Myerson, was discovering and publishing The Inheritance, a novel Alcott wrote in her teens that was long believed to be lost. The two researchers came upon the manuscript while compiling the author's correspondence. Discussing this novel, critic Ellen Marsh noted in Humanities that "Myerson and Shealy say that Alcott's early fiction was inspired by the melodramas of the nineteenth century theater, and by the gothic and sentimental fiction popular at the time. This juvenile work presages themes that the author would develop in her mature writings." In this tale of an orphaned young woman who is taken into the home of an English nobleman, "the virtues of honesty, trust, fidelity, and self-sacrifice appear … as they do throughout Alcott's fiction," Marsh observed.
In From Jo March's Attic: Stories of Intrigue and Suspense, Shealy and coeditor Madeleine B. Stern bring to audiences some of the melodramatic stories Alcott published in popular magazines before she experienced her great success with Little Women. (In Little Women, Alcott's alter ego, Jo March, supports herself for a time by writing similar stories.) While these tales have righteousness emerge victorious in the end, along the way they deal with "sizzling passions," related a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who praised the collection's "informative introduction and bibliography."
For Alcott in Her Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of Her Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates, Shealy compiles thirty-six accounts by people who had known Alcott. He supplements these accounts with "a detailed, informative introduction to Alcott's life" and "a perceptive analysis of her influence and legacy," reported Kathryn R. Bartelt in Library Journal. Bartelt stated that Shealy's work, which includes commentary on each contributor, will significantly enhance readers' understanding of Alcott. A Publishers Weekly critic pointed out that the pieces included in the book indicate that Alcott, who used her family and friends as models for the characters in Little Women, portrayed them quite accurately, and added that the narratives display Alcott's sense of humor in the face of her childhood poverty and ill health in middle age. The critic concluded by writing, "This valuable book will be a boon to devotees and scholars."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Humanities, July-August, 1997, Ellen Marsh, "Louisa May Alcott's Long-Lost Novel," about The Inheritance.
Library Journal, May 15, 2005, Kathryn R. Bartelt, review of Alcott in Her Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of Her Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates, p. 117.
Publishers Weekly, November 2, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Louisa May Alcott: Selected Fiction, p. 63; September 20, 1993, review of From Jo March's Attic: Stories of Intrigue and Suspense, p. 62; April 25, 2005, review of Alcott in Her Own Time, p. 47.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Department of English Web site, http://www.english.uncc.edu/ (September 28, 2005), brief biography of Daniel Shealy.