Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House Adult & Teacher Education

2023 Hybrid Summer Conversational Series

“‘The Angel and the Demon’ - Good and Evil in

the Life and Literature of Louisa May Alcott

Sunday - Thursday     July 16 - 20, 2023

Concord School of Philosophy on the grounds of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House

(399 Lexington Road, Concord, MA  01742 USA), with virtual option available

When A Modern Mephistopheles (1877) was first published by Roberts Brothers for the "No Name Series," readers were stumped as to the identity of the author.   No one suspected that the person who penned this intriguing tale of good and evil, based on Goethe’s Faust, could possibly be Louisa May Alcott, who was best known for her children’s books, including, of course, the classic Little Women.

Few of Alcott’s devoted readers knew the scope of her interest in the raging forces within a human soul that could bring someone to the brink of insanity or harbor the will to cause chaos and destruction.   She not only explored the dichotomy of good and evil in human nature through her “blood-and-thunder” tales many written under a pseudonym but touched upon that topic in aspects of her children’s literature as well. 

What motivated Alcott’s examination of the dark side of humanity, and how did her interest in good and evil play out in her own life? 

Growing up in a reform-minded family, Alcott learned early on that mastering the forces of evil within her own mind and soul and replacing those impulses with the innate goodness that her parents convinced her could be found and nurtured would prove to be a lifelong task for a headstrong young woman finding her way in a world that was not always kind or encouraging.

The topic of good and evil remains prevalent in today’s arts and culture:  in childhood fairy tales, films and television shows, books, and the daily news.  This year’s Summer Series Presenters and participants will explore the contrasts of good and evil that appear in the life and works of Louisa May Alcott, her contemporaries, and modern-day writers.

Daily Schedule of Presentations

Presenter Biographies

Our Distinguished Presenters and Special Guests

Clare Comm

Cathlin Davis

Gabrielle Donnelly

Lisa Elwood-Farber

Anne-Laure François

Lauren Hehmeyer

Kristi Lynn Martin

John Matteson

Julie Morfee

Mark Hamilton Ostrander

Sandra Petrulionis

Kristina West

Affiliations and images of Presenters appear here; for brief biographies, click here

Please note:

  • Sessions will be held in person at The Concord School of Philosophy on the grounds of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House (399 Lexington Road, Concord, MA  01742  USA) and offered virtually

  • Orchard House is a "mask-friendly" site, but face masks are optional for entry; complimentary masks are available at our Front Desk and in The School

  • Snacks and lunch will not be served by Orchard House, but complimentary boxed water will be available; participants are urged to bring additional beverages and food for breaks/lunch periods

  • For virtual participants, all session times are ET (Eastern Time)
  • All virtual participants must register/pre-pay in full in order to receive access link(s)

  • Members of "Friends of the Alcotts" receive a 10% discount on this Series and all of our programs  (Join / Renew)



Entire Series (Sunday + All Weekdays)

Non-Member:  $275     Member:  $250     Student:  $125

Sunday Opening Session only

Non-Member:  $35     Member:  $30     Student:  $15

Per diem Monday - Wednesday Sessions

Non-Member:  $70     Member:  $65     Student:  $30

Thursday Session only

Non-Member:  $40     Member:  $35     Student:  $20 

Additional Details

  • Our online registration process uses secure credit card processing

  • As a convenience, multiple registrations may be made with one form submission

  • Ticket categories contain a white circle with a plus (+) or minus (-) sign at the far right of the burgundy box; to reveal or hide specific ticketing options, please click the plus or minus sign as needed

ENTIRE SERIES: July 16 - 20, 2023

Sunday Opening Session + All Weekdays Sessions


Entire Series NON-Member


Entire Series MEMBER


Entire Series STUDENT


SUNDAY Opening Session: July 16, 2023

2:30 - 4:00 pm

Held in conjunction with The Thoreau Society Annual Gathering and featuring a Panel Discussion with Special Guests John Matteson & Sandra Petrulionis


SUNDAY Opening Session NON-Member


SUNDAY Opening Session MEMBER


SUNDAY Opening Session STUDENT


MONDAY Session: July 17, 2023

10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Presenters: Lauren Hehmeyer, Lisa Elwood-Farber, Kristi Lynn Martin


MONDAY Session NON-Member






TUESDAY Session: July 18, 2023

10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Presenters: Kristina West, Mark Hamilton Ostrander, Clare Comm


TUESDAY Session NON-Member






WEDNESDAY Session: July 19, 2023

10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Presenters: Anne-Laure François, Cathlin Davis, Linda Morfee (virtual presentation)


WEDNESDAY Session NON-Member






THURSDAY Session: July 20, 2023

10:00 am - 12:15 pm

Presenter: Gabrielle Donnelly
Special Guest: John Matteson


THURSDAY Session NON-Member





Total: $0.00



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