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Behind a Mask

Louisa May Alcott


Behind a Mask is a short novel published by Louisa May Alcott, writing as A. M. Barnard, in 1866. It was largely forgotten until 1975 when it was republished by Madeleine B. Stern, causing it to become an important part of the critical study of Alcott’s body of work.

Jean Muir is a governess recently employed by the Coventry family to educate their young daughter, Bella. Muir is charming and solicitous, but everything is not as it seems—it’s quickly revealed that she’s a actually an older actress, working under more duplicitous motives.

The story follows Jean as she schemes for the affections of the Coventry men. It has been critically analyzed as a commentary on female agency, class struggle, and acting and theater—all controversial themes in Victorian England. Modern critics often treat the novel with feminist readings, as Muir is a powerful if deceptive figure that skillfully manages to hold the Coventry family tightly in her grasp.

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A brief history of this ebook

  1. Update metadata boilerplate

  2. Fix title in long description

  3. Restore blockquote

  4. Fix typo

  5. [Editorial] Fix probable printer's typo

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