I am re-reading Megan Armknecht´s essay “Jo marries Goethe. Professor Bhaer as the goethean ideal. and I came across a paragraph that I must have missed the first time.

“Although Emerson never noticed Alcott´s schoolgirl crush on him, he did notice her love for Goethe. For her 18th birthday, Emerson gave her a copy of Goethe´s Wilhelm Meister´s apprenticeship. This copy now in Houghton Library at Harvard, is well-worn and marked with Alcott´s marginal comments, showing the care and attention with which she read Goethe´s novel”.

What I just now realized is that this is where Louisa got the inspiration to the scene where Friedrich gives Jo a volume of Shakespeare´s works as a Christmas present, so she can study characters.

Wilhelm Meister includes a cavalcade of characters that can be linked to little women. Wilhelm himself embodies Laurie´s search for meaning. Mariana is the vivid actress who likes to dress up as a boy and Natalia is the Amy-type person who is aware of the social norms and how they work.
Ithe light of this (together with LMA´s personal criticism against sensationalism), the idea of Louisa marrying Jo to someone who does not support Jo´s creative journey is utter nonsense. The more we dive into these connections the more we see how important these links to Goethe and Emerson are in the terms of interpreting Little Women.
Check out the full video essay ”Love and Sex in Little Women” https://youtu.be/mzuK9xH54KQ