John Jay Professor Wins 2008 Pulitzer


John Matteson, associate professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is the 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner for Biography for Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father.

His book chronicles the fiery but loving relationship between the celebrated author of Little Women and her father, Bronson Alcott. A transcendentalist philosopher with utopian ideals who was an admired friend of Emerson and Thoreau, Bronson was an eminent educator whose radical and modern ideas dismayed parents so his schools often failed, leaving the Alcott family in financial difficulty. His willful second daughter, Louisa May, had her own ideas about attaining fame and fortune.

“Professor Matteson’s achievement adds to the luster of the University’s impressive roster of award-winning faculty,” said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “I congratulate him on winning the Pulitzer Prize for his first book as he joins the winner’s circle of CUNY faculty.”

Matteson joins a distinguished array of literary faculty at CUNY, whose ranks include three other Pulitzer winners and a Pulitzer finalist, the current U.S. Poet Laureate and a former one, a Carnegie Scholar, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and recipients of the National Medal of Arts, the Booker Prize, the Common-wealth Prize, the Lincoln Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award and the Bancroft Prize, among others.

Read a new CUNY Profile of John Matteson