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Jewett, Sarah Orne

(US 1849–1909)

Jewett lived most of her life in the small town of South Berwick, Maine, and was a popular contributor to magazines such as the Atlantic Monthly. Her collections of linked stories, most famously The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), portray the characters and places of her native state with great sympathy and sly humour. This collection unfolds a writer's summer in the coastal village of ‘Dunnet Landing’, her growing involvement with her neighbours and her landlady's extended family, with comical observations of the social negotiations that occur within women's lives. Jewett's stories are nevertheless elegiac, concerned with time passing and small epiphanies within the everyday. Her first collection, Deephaven (1877), also depicts female friendship, with the story of two young women holidaying on the Maine coast, while the novel A Country Doctor (1884) is her most feminist: Nan Prince rejects marriage to become a physician. The White Heron and Other Stories (1886) contains her much-anthologized fable about a young girl living in the woods who resists the temptation to reveal the nest of a beautiful bird to a handsome hunter. The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Fiction (1996) is a convenient edition of her classic novella and later ‘Dunnet Landing’ stories.

Willa Cather, Kate Chopin  JS

Additional topics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Ha-Ke)