Notes on Jewett Scholarship and Criticism

This file contains a list of secondary materials on Sarah Orne Jewett, with brief summaries or quotations from each item, intended to provide an idea of the content of each piece.

Before 1929

[1] Bentzon, Th. [Marie Thérèse Blanc].  Le Roman de la Femme-MedecinRevue des Deux Mondes (Feb. 1, 1885): 598-632.  English translation of selections from the longer original appeared in Colby Library Quarterly 7 (Sept. 1967): 488-503.  Translation reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Before giving here the analysis of A Country Doctor, we shall make known its author.

[410]  Cone, Helen Gray.  "Woman in American Literature."  Century 40:6 (October, 1890): 921-930.

Sarah Orne Jewett roams the old pastures, gathering many pungent handfuls of the familiar flowers and herbs that retain for us their homely preciousness. She is attracted also by the life of the coast. Without vigorous movement, her sketches and stories have always an individual, delicate picturesqueness, the quality of a small, clear watercolor. "A Country Doctor" is to be noted for its very quiet and true presentation of a symmetrical womanhood, naturally drawn towards the large helpfulness of professional life.

[409] Aldrich, Thomas Bailey.  "Odd Sticks, And Certain Reflections Concerning Them."  Scribner's Magazine 5,1 (January 1889): 124-130.  Reprinted in An Old Town By the Sea (Portsmouth, NH), 1893.

The few old-fashioned men and women -- quaint, shrewd, and racy of the soil -- who linger in pleasant mouse-colored  old homesteads strung along the New England roads and by-ways, will shortly cease to exist as a class, except in the record of some such charming chronicler as Sarah Jewett, on whose sympathetic page they have already taken to themselves a remote air, an atmosphere of long-kept lavender and pennyroyal.

[2] Scudder, Horace E., "Miss Jewett." Atlantic Monthly 73 (Jan. 1894): 130-133.  Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

[O]ur examination of these two books [A Native of Winby and Deephaven] not only discloses a genuineness of gift, which has been developed by conscientious practice into an assurance of artistic power, the more confident in that it recognizes the scope of its effectiveness, but intimates also a widening of the field of vision. It is scarcely to be expected that Miss Jewett will ever attain the constructive power which holds in the grasp a variety of complex activities and controls their energy, directing it to some conclusive end; but her imagination is strong to conceive a genuine situation, to illustrate it through varied character, to illuminate it with humor and dewy pathos; and as she extends the range of her characters, so she is likely to display even more invention in the choice of situations which shall give opportunity to those delightful characters who spring at her bidding from no one class, and even from no one nation. Especially do we hope that she will mark in the art of literature that elusive period of New England life through which we are passing, when so many streams of race are now opposing, now blending, now flowing side by side. She has caught and held firmly some phases of that life which are already historical. Let her record with equal art some phases of that life still in formation, and she will lay the foundations of a fresh fame.

[3] Garnett, Edward. "Miss Sarah Orne Jewett's Tales." Academy and Literature 65 (July 11, 1903): 40-41. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Now this rare poetic breath that emanates from Miss Jewett's homely realism is her artistic reward for caring above all things for the essential spiritual reality of her scenes, and for departing not a hair's-breadth from its prosaic actualities. A word wrong, a note untrue, the slightest straining after effect, and the natural atmosphere of scene and place would be destroyed, and the whole illusion of the life presented would be shattered. Often, of course, this rare poetic breath is not found enveloping Miss Jewett's stories: sometimes her keen sense of humour, as it were, keeps it at a natural distance....

[4] Tutwiler, Julia R. "Two New England Writers -- In Relation To Their Art And To Each Other." Gunton's Magazine 25 (Nov. 1903): 419-425. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Sarah Orne Jewett and Mary E. Wilkins are New England writers in the color, atmosphere, and spirit of their work as distinctively as in their birthplace. They have both chosen to depict New England village and country life and character, they are both realists, both have failed in the historical novel, and both have done their finest work, not on the large canvas that demands a broad brush and bold modeling, but against a background limited to effects produced by low relief in line and color.

[413] McCracken, Elizabeth.  "The American Woman of Letters.  From  The Women of America.  London: MacMillan, 1903, 1905.

... [T]he New England of Miss Jewett's stories is in America, not "somewhere else "? And, however we may chance to differ in that we are Northerners or Southerners, Westerners or Easterners, we are all alike in that we are Americans, possessing more mutual grounds of understanding and sympathy than we always quite realize. If other writers of America are at times prone to forget this, Miss Jewett never is; her exquisite pictures have for us all a sweet and subtle familiarity, whether we see them from the West or from the South, or with native New England eyes.

[5] Thompson, Charles Miner. "The Art of Miss Jewett." Atlantic Monthly 94 (Oct. 1904): 485-497. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

So far as she goes, she tells the absolute truth about New England. There are sides of New England life from which, as a gentlewoman, she shrinks, and which, as an advocate, she finds no pleasure in relating. As an interpreter of the best in New England country character she leaves in shadow and unemphasized certain aspects of the life which she does describe. Hers is an idyllic picture, such as a good woman is apt to find life reflecting to her. Almost all of her characters would merit the Montyon prize for virtue, had we such a thing in America. I always think of her as of one who, hearing New England accused of being a bleak land without beauty, passes confidently over the snow, and by the gray rock, and past the dark fir tree, to a southern bank, and there, brushing away the decayed leaves, triumphantly shows to the fault-finder a spray of the trailing arbutus. And I should like, for my own part, to add this: that the fragrant, retiring, exquisite flower, which I think she should say is the symbol of New England virtue, is the symbol of her own modest and delightful art.    

[6] More, Paul Elmer. "A Writer of New England." Nation 91 (Oct. 1910): 386-387. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

 And so in Deephaven and The Country of the Pointed Firs, which attempt no story in the proper sense of the word, but portray the very soul of fading villages on the sea and the life of people who move as if the motive fire of their hearts had long ago been covered over with ashes, Miss Jewett has almost rivalled the charm of Cranford, would quite have rivalled that charm, one feels, if she had only Mrs. Gaskell’s constructive genius.  On the other hand, in A Country Doctor, as soon as we get beyond first idyllic chapters and enter into the struggles and ambitions of the heroine, there is a flagging of interest and a sense of half-life; the passion and the action are unreal, almost as if imagined in the study of a school-girl.  And this same lack mars many of the short stories.Even when these attempt to convey only a mood or a glimpse into dream-life, they are less successful than the longer idylls.They lack at once the point and dramatic situation needed in the short story and the cumulative friendliness, so to speak, of long association.

[415]  Shute, Katharine H.  from Selections from The Night Before Thanksgiving, A White Heron, and Selected Stories
by Sarah Orne Jewett.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1910.

Many writers -- men and women -- share the honor of interpreting the people of this great land to one another. You will wish to read much that they have written; and if you are the right sort of reader you will be wiser and broader-minded for the reading. But you cannot do better than to begin your acquaintance with these short-story writers by reading one who was so true and loving a student of nature and of human life, so perfect an artist in her mode of telling what she saw and heard, so wise a guide in the "fine art of living" as Sarah Orne Jewett.

[404] Cather, Willa.  From "Willa Cather Talks of Work" [1913]. The Kingdom of Art: Willa Cather's First Principles and Critical Statements: 1893-1896. ed. Bernice Slote.  Lincoln: U of Nebraska Press, 1966.

It is that kind of honesty, that earnest endeavor to tell truly the thing that haunts the mind, that I love in Miss Jewett's own work.

[7] Chapman, Edward M. "The New England of Sarah Orne Jewett." Yale Review 3 (Oct. 1913): 157-172.  Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Like Jane Austen, Sarah Orne Jewett was at her best when thus painting her "two inches square of ivory." She exercised, too, an artist's privilege in choosing subjects that seemed to her worth painting. There is no realistic setting forth of rustic squalor, though degeneracy exists in New England hamlets as in most rural communities. There is nothing either of the grim fatalism which Mr. Hardy has done so much to popularize and which must finally prove to be the element in his work most vulnerable to the tooth of time. But judged by his perhaps involuntary canons, such a story as this with its delineation of New England's summer face, of people who have wrought their lives into its life, and of the established habits of a countryside will go far toward placing Miss Jewett in the front rank of those who have portrayed their native land.

[417]  Spofford, Harriet Prescott.  A Little Book of Friends.  Boston: Little, Brown, 1916.
Biographical sketches of Annie Fields, Sarah Orne Jewett, Anne Whitney, Celia Thaxter, L. Hamilton, Mary Louise Booth, Jane Andrews, Louisa Stone Hopkins, Rose Terry Cooke, and Louise Chandler Moulton.

[8] Shackford, Martha Hale. "Sarah Orne Jewett." Sewanee Review 30 (Jan. 1922): 20-26. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

It is a pity that Miss Jewett's tales are not better known in England. She, in her quiet fashion, has given a truer picture of the fundamental verities of American ideals than have some of our more notorious writers. And to-day, when so many of us are profoundly disturbed regarding the future of humanity, Miss Jewett's stories bring to the world a reassuring faith that man is both intelligent and trustworthy, that what was true in one corner of New England is true of mankind. It must be stated, at once, that she has little appeal to readers bent upon finding 'kinetic characters' and 'emphasis by direct action.' She was not circumscribed by the many rules which guide the present-day writer of short stories. Her tales are disconcerting, tiresome to those whose logical powers are developed at the expense of their imagination and their love of romantic waywardness. The very lack of conspicuous 'efficiency' of method is one of her greatest charms, in this hour when the over-macadamized short story sends the reader smoothly, swiftly, monotonously along, without a bump or a sight of grass-grown irregularity. Doubtless Miss Jewett's work might have been improved by more technique, but she had something better than formal skill, -- wisdom, matured understanding of life, individual insight.

[416]  Howe, Mark M. A. DeWolfe.  from Memories of a Hostess.  Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1922.

   An account of the Jewett's relationship with Annie Fields.

[9] Forbes, Esther. "Sarah Orne Jewett, The Apostle of New England." Boston Evening Transcript 5 (May 16, 1925): 1.  Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

If you have tired of despair and weakness in more recent novels yon will find tonic in Miss Jewett's. It is an interesting commentary on the literary mind that so many of the writers of the skill and realism of Miss Jewett have been more interested in weakness than in strength, and have been overly concerned with the sex motif in life that Miss Jewett eschews. We therefore have come to associate optimism too often with the mediocre, and reticence with stupidity. She has the finesse of the author of Madame Bovary, that curiously French flavor so few Americans have achieved. The beauty of her work is its complete lack of distortion or exaggeration. After reading Miss Jewett, the merely good-enough author seems extraordinarily shoddy, pretentious, and strangely dull. You read, and are conscious of having always known these people. You have that deep and loving understanding of their problems untouched by patronage and cynicism.

[405] Cather, Willa.  "Preface" in The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories by Sarah Orne Jewett.  New York: Doubleday, 1925, 1956.

If I were asked to name three American books which have the possibility of a long, long life, I would say at once, "The Scarlet Letter," "Huckleberry Finn," and "The Country of the Pointed Firs." I can think of no others that confront time and change so serenely. The latter book seems to me fairly to shine with the reflection of its long, joyous future. It is so tightly yet so lightly built, so little encumbered with heavy materialism that deteriorates and grows old-fashioned.

[414]  Sergeant, Elizabeth Shepley.  From Fire Under the Andes.  New York: Knopf, 1927,  pp. 273-275

The one great happiness that she [Willa Cather] found in a magazine assignment came to her in Boston, because her sojourn there brought about a friendship with Sarah Orne Jewett that proved one of the richest of her life.

1929 - 1949

[10] Grattan, C. Hartley. "Sarah Orne Jewett." Bookman 79 (May 1929): 296-298. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Sarah Orne Jewett's art is so quiet and unassuming that it escapes the attention of all but those few who can take pleasure even today in the quiet and unassuming. It is altogether natural that it appeals to but few, for the social situation which Miss Jewett essayed to portray is so far from that which most American readers know. It requires a wrench of the imagination even to comprehend Miss Jewett's world; and with her mode of seeing the world and her literary methods we have but a distant sympathy. She is, in a few words, the sort of artist that can be appreciated only historically. Yet her work is not mere documentation of a vanished epoch. It is art of a true and delicate sort.

[412]  Hunt, Clara Whitehill.  "Introduction." In Betty Leicester: A Story for Girls by Sarah Orne Jewett.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1929 reprint.

This story for the younger readers lives up to Miss Jewett's demands upon herself, always to give her best. Here is a perfect little picture of the New England of her own girlhood. Here is the beauty of style, the human sympathy, the deftness of character sketching, the humor, the keen observation and delicate description that mark the distinction of her writing for her critical adult audience.

[11] Matthiessen, Francis Otto.  Sarah Orne Jewett. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1929.

 The first full-length biography.

[411] Hicks, Granville.  From The Great Tradition. New York: MacMillan, 1933

Her delicate powers of perception, however, give to the best of her work a richness, an authenticity, and a dignity that are too rare to be scorned.  It was precisely because she so placidly disregarded what lay outside her little world that she could concentrate so effectively upon it.  It was because she instinctively rejected characters, situations, and emotions that were not congenial to her that she could let her imagination play so calmly and sympathetically over the lives she chose to record.  We may grant that she is only a minor writer, that the kind of pleasure her work offers only remotely resembles the effect of great literature, that the insight she gives us into men and women is only fragmentary.  We may grant that her attitude is essentially elegiac, and that she writes of a dying world of old men and old women.  We may even grant that her aims were virtually those of the other regionalists.  But there is a difference.  For a moment her people live and breathe.

[374] Floyd, Olive Beatrice. "Sarah Orne Jewett's Advice to a Young Writer."  Yale Review 26 (Winter 1937): 430-32.

These two letters on some of the writer's problems were written by Sarah Orne Jewett to my father, Andress Small Floyd, of New York.
    In Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, Richard Cary reprints these letters in full, noting that Miss Floyd omitted as "merely personal" some of Jewett's harsher comments.

[402] Stern, G. B.  "Sarah Orne Jewett."  Now and Then (Winter 1937): 39-40. 

I have been saying to myself that I prefer these books of Sarah Orne Jewett to Cranford, because Miss Jewett so rarely yields to the temptation of quaintness; or perhaps, indeed, to her it is no temptation. And anyhow, what do we mean exactly when we say a writer is 'quaint' or 'whimsical'? So often we ask our minds for a definition, and promptly get in return a little coloured picture. Thus, when I say 'quaint' to myself, and expect an intelligent reply, I see either a Toby jug in a cottage window or else a little man in a pointed cap sitting cross-legged on a mushroom.

[501] Boleman, Babette Ann.  “Deephaven and the Woodburys.”  Colophon New Graphic Series 3 (August, 1939).  No pagination.

Marcia and Charles Woodbury ... were "such intimate friends of Sarah Orne Jewett's that they could work in the most amicable collaboration with her. Above all, they knew Deephaven -- all the Deephavens of the New England coast."... To ease communication as the Woodburys worked on their engravings, the artists took up residence in South Berwick, just a few minutes walk away from Miss Jewett. The three conferred frequently. Jewett made numerous suggestions which appear to have been acted upon; Miss Jewett's house, a number of local scenes and various relatives became backgrounds or models for the illustrations. Jewett took great pleasure in the book when it appeared, for it had evolved out of a deeply sympathetic collaborative effort. The scenes of the Maine shore are sweetly harmonious with the mood and tone of Deephaven and beautifully render the evocative quality of the text.
   Adapted from a description by Abe Books.

[447] Brooks, Van Wyck.  New England Indian Summer 1865-1915. New York: Dutton, 1940, 347-53. 413-4. 437. 456-7. 464-5.

The result of the confrontation of summer people and country-people was a kind of covert warfare, a real class-war, though the friction never resulted in violence or blood-shed; and the country-people usually triumphed, except in the fashionable colonies where the lackeys abounded, be¬cause, as often as not, the summer people, with their city cheapness, were the true grotesques. If this warfare subsided in time, it was largely because of the writers who acted as interpreters and filled the breach. Howells was one of these. With his knowledge of city and country alike, and his perception and charity, he brought together all sorts and conditions of men; and Sarah Orne Jewett, who knew her Howells, and also knew the natives as a native, established for other interpreters a scale and a standard. Like Howells, she knew the world as she knew the village; and, as an admirable artist, she saw the village in the light of the "scale of mankind." Her vision was certainly limited. It scarcely embraced the world of men, and the vigorous, masculine life of towns like Gloucester, astir with Yankee enterprise and bustle, lay quite outside her province and point of view. She spoke for a phase of New England, a scene that was fading and dying, the special scene her experience presented to her. But her people were genuine Yankees and stood for the rest. They all reflected her own transcendent self-respect and put the summer people in their places.

[12] Anonymous. "A Letter by Sarah Orne Jewett."  Colby Mercury (Colby College) 7 (1942): 82-83.

All Colby Library Jewett letters obtained before 1967 are collected in Richard Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, 1967.

[13] Weber, Carl J. "Whittier and Sarah Orne Jewett." New England Quarterly  18.3 (Sept. 1945): 401-07. 

On Jewett composing "The Eagle Trees" to honor Whittier.    

[14] Weber, Carl J. "Sarah Orne Jewett's First Story." New England Quarterly 19.1 (Mar. 1946): 85-90.

Explains the problems of identifying Jewett's first published story, "Jenny Garrow's Lovers."

[15] Babette, May Levy. "Mutations in New England Local Color."  New England Quarterly 19.3 (Sept. 1946): 338-58.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rose Terry Cooke, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman--their rhythmic names bring to mind a picture of New England and a type of gentle story. These women wrote hundreds of studies of New England life. Mrs. Freeman alone produced over two hundred shorter tales as well as twelve novels and, although her predecessors and fellow-authors did not approach this fertility, their contributions are not meager. But beneath the flood of similar details of local color, including a generous use of dialect, and the more or less conventional story patterns, do these writers see New England with the same eyes?

[16] Weber, Carl J. Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett now in the Colby College Library. Waterville, ME 1947.

All Colby Library Jewett letters obtained before 1967 are collected in Richard Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, 1967.   

[17] Weber, Carl J. "New England through French Eyes Fifty Years Ago." New England Quarterly  20.3 (Sept. 1947): 385-96.    

Recounts Madame Blanc's visit to New England and with Jewett in South Berwick in 1897.  

[433]  Baker, Carolos. "Delineation of Life and Character," in Literary History of the United States, volume 2, ed. Robert E. Spiller et al, (New York: Macmillan, 1948). 845-7.

Sarah One Jewett developed her gifts more rapidly, maintained them at a higher level, and employed them with greater dexterity and control than did any of her
predecessors in the field. After a period of apprenticeship to children's magazines she entered adult fiction at twenty with a story in the Atlantic (December, 1869), and in eight years had accumulated enough others to take Howells' advice and collect them in her first book, Deephaven (1877).... Through the next twenty years she published in the best monthlies, and then collected, a succession of stories which showed a steadily deepening insight into the complexities of
human character, and a steadily growing technical skill. Her masterpiece, The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), is the best piece of regional fiction
to have come out of nineteenth century America.

[18] Jordan, Alice M. From Rollo to Tom Sawyer and Other Papers.  Boston: Horn Book, 1948.  118, 159.
       From a review by Carl J. Weber, Colby Library Quarterly 2:13 (1950): 219.

Also received too late to get into the centennial Bibliography of Sarah Orne Jewett, published by the Colby College Press, is a copy of Alice M. Jordan's From Rollo to Tom Sawyer and Other Papers (Boston, The Horn Book,  Inc., 1948). Miss Jordan writes so charmingly about Sarah Orne Jewett that we are unwilling to allow the fact that the centennial anniversary has now passed to deprive our readers of the opportunity of looking over our shoulder at these words on page 159:         "Looking back at the animated procession of American girls moving through the books of the last quarter of the  nineteenth century, the figure of Betty Leicester stands out in the front rank. Sarah Orne Jewett, to whom we owe her, wrote no other full-length book for girls, but her short stories had been printed in young people's magazines constantly  after their appearance in the Riverside, and older girls had become acquainted with her exquisite cameos in published collections and in the pages of The Atlantic  Monthly. Some of them knew the delicate touch with which the lovely story of Sylvia, in A White Heron, had been etched.
       "Betty Leicester begins and ends with a journey. Tideshead, where Betty Leicester visited with her great-aunts,  becomes a real place before the summer is over. So do the new friends she made there, and the old ones who grew dearer seem real under Miss Jewett's skillful hand. Without excitement, without the accessories of modern invention, she weaves interest and charm into the story of an uneventful summer when a fifteen-year-old girl learned to live with other people and to know herself."   

[19] Weber, Carl J., ed.  Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett. Waterville, ME 1948.

All Colby Library Jewett letters obtained before 1967 are collected in Richard Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, 1967.

[20] Pratt, Robert A. "Two Chaucer Allusions: 1819 and 1899." Modern Language Notes 63.1 (Jan. 1948): 55-56.

Another allusion, eighty years later, is found in "A Dunnet Shepherdess," the second story in Sarah Orne Jewett's volume, The Queen's Twin (Boston and New York, 1899), page 64:
    It was long before my own interest began to flag; there was a flavor of the best sort in her definite and descriptive fashion of speech. It may be only a fancy of my own that in the sound and value of many words, with their lengthened vowels and doubled cadences, there is some faint survival on the Maine coast of the sound of English speech of Chaucer's time.

[21] Weber, Clara and Carl J.  A Bibliography of the Published Writings of Sarah Orne Jewett.  Waterville, ME 1949.

This thorough early bibliography includes six parts.

            1.  Books by Sarah Orne Jewett
            2. Contributions by Miss Jewett to Books by Other Writers
            3.  Contributions by Miss Jewett to Magazines and Newspapers
            4.  Reprintings of Works by Sarah Orne Jewett in the books of Other Authors and Editors
            5.  Translations of Works by Miss Jewett, and Biographical and Critical comments in Foreign Languages
            6.  Reviews of books by, and Biographical and Critical Comments on, Sarah Orne Jewett.

[22] Weber, Carl J. "More Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett." Colby Library Quarterly 2 (1949): 201-206.

Letters to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Underwood Johnson.  All Colby Library Jewett letters obtained before 1967 are collected in Richard Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, 1967.

[23] Trafton, Burton W. Jr. "Introduction" to Verses by Sarah Orne Jewett.  Cleveland: Weave Press, 1949.

       The following poems first appeared as a group in 1916, seven years after Miss Jewett's death, and were for distribution among her friends. Those to her father reflect, in a degree, the tremendous emotional upheaval occasioned by the death of one upon whom she was so emotionally dependent. It was he who she felt first gave her the insight which enabled her to write realistic, sensitive, and wholly quiet descriptions of Maine people and the Maine landscape. Others reflect her attachment to her native town; to the coast at Wells and York and the Isles of Shoals where her friend Celia Thaxter made her home. They are homely poems, often lacking the precision of her prose. One might question, indeed, whether she ever intended they be brought together under one cover. But there is beauty here, and with the re-awakening of an interest in her works on the part of both layman and scholar, it seems entirely appropriate that such an edition be made available to an appreciative audience this centennial year.


[24] Weber, Carl J. "Three More Jewett Letters." Colby Library Quarterly 2:13 (1950): 216-218.

 Letters to Dana Estes, two from 1891 and one from 1895.  All Colby Library Jewett letters obtained before 1967 are collected in Richard Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, 1967.

[25] Weber, Carl J. "Jewett and Charm and Realism." Colby Library Quarterly  2 (1950): 219-221. 

Charm woven into the story of an uneventful summer! Of how much fiction written in mid-twentieth century can that be said? True, there are those who have said that Miss Jewett's charm is directly dependent upon her ignorance of the harsher side of the world. Ludwig Lewisohn is among those who blindly ignore the evidence to the contrary. Says he: "Sarah Orne Jewett's field of observation was excessively limited; the society she had before her to depict was the least fruitful that human artists ever sought to treat." Miss Jewett herself did not think so. . . .
       In the light of these remarks it is safe to conclude that Miss Jewett found charm in the world, or created it in her  pages, not because her field of observation was excessively limited, but because of the restraint she imposed upon her art.

[26] Westbrook, Perry.  Acres of Flint: Writers of Rural New England 1870-1900.  Washington, DC: Scarecrow Press, 1951.
        Reprinted in 1981 with revisions and a new title:  Acres of Flint: Sarah Orne Jewett and her Contemporaries.

[27] Parker, John Austin. "Sarah Orne Jewett's 'Boat Song'." American Literature 23 (1951): 133-136.

Under "Rich. Hoffmann," in the Pazdírek Universal-Handbuch, a "Boat Song" is listed as having been published by G. Schirmer. G. Schirmer now has no record of this publication, but among the uncatalogued collections of the Music Division, Library of Congress, there is a copy of Boat Song, "Words by Miss Sarah O. Jewett. Music by Richd. Hoffman. New York: G. Schirmer, c. 1879."

[28] Weber, Carl J. "Three More Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett." Colby Library Quarterly (1952):106-114.

Letters to Violet Paget/Vernon Lee.  All Colby Library Jewett letters obtained before 1967 are collected in Richard Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, 1967.

[29] Buchan, A. M. "Our Dear Sarah"; An Essay on Sarah Orne Jewett. Washington University Series – New Series Language and Literature – No. 24 (St. Louis, 1953), [3]-48. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

It has taken almost fifty years for Sarah Orne Jewett to emerge from the shadow of her age, her friends, and the reticence of her own temperament. Not that New England in its Indian summer denied recognition to its native writers, but critics who were accustomed to the thunder and whirlwind of Emerson and Lowell were puzzled by the still, small voice of a shy daughter of a doctor from an insignificant Maine village. The editors of the Atlantic welcomed her sketches because they approved of "the simple treatment of the near-at-hand quaint and picturesque"; but they found it easier to think of her as a charming lady with a precious gift than as the great pastoral artist of her generation.

[473] Howe, Irving.  "Review of The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett." (1954). A Voice Still Heard: Selected Essays of Irving Howe, ed. Nina Howe and Nicholas Howe Bukowski. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. 26-28.

At first glace The Country of the Pointed Firs bears a certain structural resemblance to Mrs. Gaskell's Cranford.  In both books a young woman who has tasted urban knowledge returns to a quaint, outmoded village whcih represents pre-industrial society .... But charming as Cranford obviously is, it does not seem to me nearly so good as Miss Jewett's book....  Miss Jewett's "I" registers the meaning of [Dunnet Landing] with an increase of force and insight that is beautifully arranged: for her the experience of arriving and leaving becomes an education in mortality.

[30] Bishop, Ferman. "Henry James Criticizes The Tory Lover." American Literature 27 (1955): 262-264.  Reprinted in Nagel, Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett.

Although Henry James's esteem for the work of Sarah Orne Jewett is well known, none of his actual correspondence with her has ever appeared in print. Their literary friendship, though possibly begun as early as 1881, did not flourish until September, 1898, when Miss Jewett and Mrs. Annie Fields visited James at Lamb House.¹ Soon after, in his notebook entry for February 19, 1899, he acknowledged that her story "A Lost Lover" in the volume Tales of New England (which he described as "charming") had provided him with germ of an idea for a story.² But undoubtedly one of the most interesting documents to pass between them is the following unpublished letter from the Sarah Orne Jewett Collection at the Houghton Library, Harvard University.

[31] Cary, Richard, ed.  Sarah Orne Jewett Letters.  Waterville, ME: Colby College, 1956. All Colby Library Jewett letters obtained before 1967 are collected in Richard Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, 1967.

[32] Weber, Carl J. "'What's in a Name?' -- or in a Signature?." Manuscripts 8 (1956): 185-188.

[33] Smith, Eleanor M. "The Literary Relationship of Sarah Orne Jewett and Willa Sibert Cather." New England Quarterly  29.4 (Dec. 1956): 472-92. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Even in Miss Cather's later periods, when the subject matter seems in direct opposition to Miss Jewett's, a careful reading reveals that basic similarities remain in style, ideals, and choice of protagonists. The emphasis which both place on character and the ennobling values in life overshadows plot, dramatic action, and emotional situations. And the provincial atmosphere of their stories, revealing a discriminating choice of material, sympathetic portrayal of old people, and intimate response to the beauty of nature, is strengthened by their desire for simplicity of effect.

[34] Cary, Richard. "Sarah Orne Jewett and the Rich Tradition." Colby Library Quarterly 4 (1957): 205-217.

By January 1872 the young provincial from South Berwick, Maine, could look back with untainted elation at her literary achievement. Four years ago, her first story had been published under a pseudonym by a magazine of large general circulation. Since then, ten more of her products had appeared in five other outlets, including the short story "Mr. Bruce," accepted by William Dean Howells ("the Editor with the fine handwriting") for that mammoth among periodicals, the Atlantic Monthly. A relatively big frog in a small pond at 22, Sarah Orne Jewett might well have boomed out of tune in her native habitat. But the reticence which impelled her to mask identity in seven of these first eleven printed pieces prevented her from shattering the pattern of her basic attachments. In the newfound dignity of young womanhood, the familial diminutive "Sallie" had become a rarity. Maturity and prestige notwithstanding, to the revered older generation of her intimate circle Sarah remained "Sallie." Rooted by propensity in the traditions of region and clan, she retained to the last of her days the becoming modesty, the immense respect, and the artless interests reflected in this early letter to her vivacious Aunt Lucretia.

[467] Cary, Richard "Jewett, Tarkington, and the Maine Line." Colby Library Quarterly 4 (1956): 89-95.

[Jewett] visualized a time when the "aggressions and ignorances of city and country cousins" would give way habitually to "compliments between the summer boarder and his rustic host."  The sheer optimism of Miss Jewett's view has been demonstrated too unfortunately often over the years .... One of the more prominent exceptions was Booth Tarkington (1869-1946), native of Indiana, who adopted the state of Maine as his alternate home.

[35] Alden, John. "Sarah Orne Jewett to Mellen Chamberlain." Boston Public Library Quarterly 9 (1957): 86-96. 

Transcriptions with connecting narrative of Jewett's letters to friend and, eventually, Boston Public lihrarian, Mellen Chamberlain, spanning 1874 to 1899.  The letters are held by the Boston Public Library.

[36] Short, Clarice. "Studies in Gentleness." Western Humanities Review 11 (Autumn 1957): 387-393. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Mrs. Gaskell's Cranford, published in 1853, and Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, in 1896, have the distinction of being two of the least exciting and most delightful novels written in the nineteenth century. They afford a striking contrast to the novels publicly displayed at present for popular consumption, works whose titles are rarely less sensational than Blind Date with Murder and whose covers are enlivened with shapely bosoms and leveled guns. In these novels of Gaskell and Jewett sexual passion seems nonexistent and violence is only an "old, unhappy, far-off thing." The people who inhabit these novels are curiously and lovably disembodied.

[37] Bishop, Ferman. "Sarah Orne Jewett's Ideas of Race." New England Quarterly  30.2 (June 1957): 243-49.

To the end of her career, then, Sarah Orne Jewett-despite her admiration for Whittier and Harriet Beecher Stowe-maintained an aristocratic emphasis upon the racial inequalities of mankind. It is true that she advocated very little social action based upon her system of belief. And whatever she might have urged would undoubtedly have been balanced by her emphasis on humanitarian sympathy. But after all allowance has been made, she must still be counted a consistent adherent to the ideas of nordicism.

[38] Green, David Bonnell. "Two Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett." Notes and Queries 5 (1958): 361-362.

Transcriptions of an 1876  letter to James Osgood about publishing Deephaven and an 1881 (probable) letter to William H. Ward, probably concerning "Miss Becky's Pilgrimage."

[39] Nye, George P. "Jewett and the Juvenile Critics." Colby Library Quarterly 5 (1959): 45-48.

Two letters written by Sarah Orne Jewett in May 1906 came to my attention about ten years ago at the high school in  Newton, Massachusetts. In them she acknowledged and commented on a sheaf of compositions which had been sent to her by the senior English class of Mr. Samuel Thurber (1879-1943).

[40] Cary, Richard. "Jewett's Cousins Charles and Charlie."  Colby Library Quarterly 5 (1959): 48-58.

 This Exeter branch of the family is of prevailing interest to us in respect to Sarah Orne Jewett. It was, prosperous and prolific, redundant with judges, governors and tycoons, prominent in every phase of community activity, especially during the period when Exeter was capital of the state. Throughout the Revolutionary ado, no committee of public safety or corps of volunteers was without a Gilman on its roster.

[41] Frost, John Eldridge. "The Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett." Colby Library Quarterly 5 (1959): 38-45.

The comprehensiveness of the following checklist of letters written by Miss Jewett now in institutional libraries was greatly enhanced through the kindness of Professor Joseph Jones of the University of Texas who made available to the compiler a supplementary list of institutions which had reported ownership of correspondence. The name of the institution, its location, total number of letters owned, persons addressed and number of letters to each, are listed. Collections of published letters with their contents and letters in periodical articles are first noted.

[42] Green, David Bonnell. "Sarah Orne Jewett's 'A Dark Night'." Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 53 (1959): 331-334.

  A hitherto unpublished letter of Sarah Orne Jewett to Arthur Stedman brings to light one of her stories that has not previously been recorded.

[43] Bishop, Ferman. "The Sense of the Past in Sarah Orne Jewett." U of Wichita Bulletin,  University Studies No. 41 (Feb. 1959), [3]-10. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Yet after Miss Jewett had heard these opinions, she wrote on November 12, 1902, to William Deal Howells: "I wrote that [The Tory Lover] by heart even better than the other [The Country of  the Pointed Firs]: better than Deephaven even, but the two together hold all my knowledge, real knowledge, and all my dreams about my dear Berwick and York and Wells—the people I knew and have heard about: the very dust of thought and association that made me!"   So passionate an insistence on the value of the subject matter of this historical novel suggests at once that its re-creation of the past of Miss Jewett's native Berwick represented something very important to her. But such a fact immediately raises the issue: Why should a local colorist, whose main energy was presumably expended in rendering faithfully an impression of the present, have shown so much interest in the problems of history?

[44] Lucey, William L., S. J. "'We New Englanders': Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Louise Imogen Guiney." Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia 70 (1959): 58-64.

Seven letters from Jewett to Guiney, 1894-1899.  "We are fellow workers in our great craft these many years now, and I like to do you honor and to bless you on your way" p. 59.

[45] Berthoff, Warner. "The Art of Jewett's Pointed Firs." New England Quarterly  32.1 (Mar. 1959): 31-53. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.    

And as in her life she was both native and outlander, so through all her work runs a pattern of contrast between the in-world of the coastal villages, economically atrophied, and the bustling prosperous out-world from which the summer visitors come and into which the young, the active, the ambitious, invariably escape. To compare the initial full statement of this contrast in Deephaven with the more penetrating, and disturbing, intimations of Pointed Firs, twenty years after, gives a measure of her development as an artist.

[46] Waggoner, Hyatt H. "The Unity of The Country of the Pointed Firs." Twentieth Century Literature: A Scholarly and Critical Journal 5.2 (July 1959): 67-73. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Since I am convinced that the work is indeed tightly built, and since no one has ever shown us just how tightly built, I should like to trace some of the aspects of the thematic unity that, as I see it, accounts to a larger extent than we have realized for out impression that the work is truly a classic. It is finally, I think, chiefly unity of theme that transforms a group of semi-autobiographical sketches into a fiction that is at once a tribute to a way of life and an impression of life.


[398] Frost, John E.  Sarah Orne Jewett.  Kittery Point, ME: Gundalow Club, 1960.

Miss Jewett's companions belonged to the historic era of nationalism and self-consciousness that caused America, after the Union had been preserved, to turn its eyes inwardly and examine itself, to discover the richness and variety of its heritage. If, as most critics agree, Miss Jewett stood at the forefront of this movement, her position was due not alone to descriptive capacities and deeply felt sympathies, but to her conviction of a message and to her consciousness of the purpose of regionalism, and to the broad perspective she had reached by widespread and thoughtful reading.  

[47] Cary, Richard. "Jewett and the Gilman Women." Colby Library Quarterly 5 (1960): 94-103.

The background of the Gilman family that departed Hingham, England, and settled in Hingham, America, was recounted  in "Jewett's Cousins Charles and Charlie" in the September 1959 Colby Library Quarterly. More specifically, the relationships of Sarah Orne Jewett with Charles Jervis Gilman--who alone of that expansive clan migrated to Brunswick,  Maine--and with his son Charles Ashburton, were examined through the medium of five letters which Miss Jewett wrote  them. The present essay, which should be read as sequel to the above, turns to Miss Jewett's association with the petticoat  portion of that family, her cousin Mrs. Alice Dunlap Gilman and daughters Elizabeth and Mary.

[48] Bowditch, Mrs. Ernest. "The Jewett Library." Colby Library Quarterly 5 (1961): 357-364.

As we look at a room in a museum, which the guidebook tells us is an example of a French drawing room of the period of Louis XVI, little do we realize how much inferior it is in its present state to the same room in its former proper setting.  A similar situation attaches itself to the books from the Jewett Homestead, South Berwick, Maine, which have recently been received by the Harvard College Library as a bequest from the estate of Dr. Theodore Jewett Eastman, of the Class of 1901.  Though in their present habitat one instantly realizes their age-old beauty, only in the library of that Colonial house did one appreciate the atmosphere they gave and the many interests they represented of several generations of one family. 

[49] Green, David Bonnell. "The Sarah Orne Jewett Canon: Additions and a Correction."  Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 55 (1961): 141-142.

Although most of her contributions to it have been listed, one story "An Every-Day Girl," has hitherto been overlooked. It was never collected by Miss Jewett, and indeed, it is only in part successful. Its theme is a favorite one with Miss Jewett: what counts in life is the spirit and manner in which one performs the tasks and fills the role that are one's lot. Mary Fleming, the heroine of the story, educated to be a teacher, is not sufficiently successful academically to obtain a teaching position. She is discontented with her family, her straitened circumstances, and herself, but by making the most of a job as chambermaid in a summer hotel she rises to a position of trust and future opportunity. The story suffers from melodramatic elements (such as the destruction of Mary's home town by fire), from structural disjointedness, and from a too open didacticism; but the characterization and touches of quiet description provide compensation and prevent the total failure of the story.        A less important but still interesting contribution to the Ladies' Home Journal is Miss Jewett's answer, "The Views of Miss Jewett," to the problem "When Lady: When Woman, A Consensus of Opinion on a Perplexing Question," a question that Margaret Deland and Mrs. Burton Harrison joined her in answering. Her reply follows in part the conventional genteel distinctions, but her stress is on the spiritual or inner rather than external or material qualities.

[50] Fike, Francis. "An Interpretation of Pointed Firs." New England Quarterly  34.4 (Dec. 1961): 478-91. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Thus the book does not portray human life as determined by (although it is accommodated to) the great natural contingencies. These are incentives and means to the refinement of human character, and it is part of Miss Jewett's "imaginative realism" that she is not as interested in portraying the way in which natural forces determine human behavior (as was Zola, whom she had read) as to demonstrate the timeless, universal durability and resourcefulness of human character when confronted with these forces.

[51] Green, David Bonnell. "The World of Dunnet Landing." New England Quarterly  34.4 (Dec. 1961): 514-17.

Two excellent critical articles, Warner Berthoff's "The Art of Jewett's Pointed Firs" and Hyatt H. Waggoner's "The Unity of The Country of the Pointed Firs," that appeared during the fiftieth anniversary of Sarah Orne Jewett's death have done much to enlarge our understanding of her masterpiece. Both critics have in part, however, overlooked one of the central aspects of her achievement. Both are uneasy over the additional stories, "The Queen's Twin," "A Dunnet Shepherdess," and "William's Wedding," that were included in editions of the book published after Miss Jewett's death—and rightly so, for there is no indication that she authorized their inclusion. But the three stories are obviously related to The Country of the Pointed Firs, and a fourth story, "The Foreigner," quite as good as the other three, has an equally close connection with the book, although it has never been absorbed by it. Indeed, we learn more about Mrs. Todd's past in "The Foreigner," than we do anywhere else, even though some of the action takes place beyond the confines of Dunnet Landing.
       The relationship of the four stories to The Country of the Pointed Firs supplies the necessary clue to the central aspect I have referred to, for Miss Jewett's triumph is in her creation of a fictional world, like Trollope's or Thackeray's or Faulkner's, a world that is fully imagined and realized, in its way more "real" than the world of actual experience. Usually, the creation of such a fictional world requires at least a novel, and often a series of novels, but Miss Jewett performs the feat in a volume of twenty-one sketches or episodes—the right term is hard to choose.


[52] Cary, Richard.  Sarah Orne Jewett.  New York: Twayne, 1962.

One of the reasons for this misconception of Miss Jewett's productivity is the paucity of notice accorded by modern critics to her other works. By cleaving to "A White Heron" and "The Dulham Ladies," they and the anthologists perpetuate the impression that she wrote just two short stories. Her superb sketches are referred to with extreme rarity. (Most of these short stories and sketches are available in collected volumes, indicated in the Selected Bibliography at the end of this book.)
       This study is an attempt to redress the balance and to bring back to light the buried excellences of Miss Jewett. Since no full critical review has ever been made of her work, six of the seven chapters are devoted to analysis of her materials, methods, and forms. Each sketch, short story, and novel is examined in relation to the long maturation of her genius and its own place as a work of literature. Each is regarded as a component of the mosaic in which The Country of the Pointed Firs is the principal and culminating motif.


[53] Chase, Mary Ellen. "Five Literary Portraits." Massachusetts Review: A Quarterly of Literature, the Arts and Public Affairs 3 (1962): 511-516.

 SARAH ORNE JEWETT. I saw Sarah Orne Jewett only once. It was when I was twelve years old, and she, a woman of fifty. My father took me to see her at her home in South Berwick, Maine. It was my first literary pilgrimage.
   I remember very little about her, probably because I was overcome by shyness. But I do recall that she wore a lavender dress, which swept the grass of her garden, that she carried her head high, and that she seemed to me lovely to look at, as, indeed, she was with her fine, classical features.
   My father told her that the State of Maine was very proud of her. She said: "Nonsense! Just think what I owe to it." She had already paid that debt a thousand times over in The Country of the Pointed Firs.

[54] Chase, Mary Ellen. "Sarah Orne Jewett as a Social Historian." Prairie Schooner 36 (1962): 231-237.
        Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.
        And in David Bonnell Green, ed. The World of Dunnet Landing: A Sarah Orne Jewett Collection. U of Nebraska Press, 1962: 365-372; which was reprinted by Peter Smith (Gloucester, MA), 1972.
     Had anyone told her that she was the best of social historians, she doubtless could have smiled with that skeptical smile always accorded to praise by others of her work,--as she smiled over a letter from Rudyard Kipling which said: "I don't believe even you know how good The Country of the Pointed Firs is!" She saw herself only as one who described persons and places with accuracy and with affection. And yet in so doing she recorded the roots of their lives, the sources of their speech, the contributions made by them to the story of a nation.

[55] Green, David Bonnell, ed. The World of Dunnet Landing: A Sarah Orne Jewett Collection. Lincoln, NE: U of Nebraska P, 1962.
   See item #51.

[56] Magowan, Robin. "Pastoral and the Art of Landscape in The Country of the Pointed Firs." New England Quarterly  36.2 (June 1963): 229-40. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

 Berthoff subsequently goes on to point out how Jewett solved her problem of the narrator, by in fact dissolving her within a set of framed stories. Yet his theory of an advance in narrative art does not in itself account for her special achievements in Pointed Firs, nor for the qualities of balance and resolution that these sketches possess. It is an achievement that cannot be accounted for unless one hypothesizes the introduction of a suddenly new form—the pastoral—capable of gathering up the several, disparate elements of her craft and of welding them together in a new whole. It will be the purpose of the present essay to show to what extent pastoral concepts have informed the art of Pointed Firs, thereby enabling Jewett to transform attitudes first expressed in Deephaven and give them major value in a concise, pictorial style.

[57] Cary, Richard. "Jewett on Writing Short Stories." Colby Library Quarterly 10 (June 1964): 425-440.

Of more  immediate interest to this paper, however, are those specifically named or alluded to in Miss Jewett's letters below. Late in the spring of 1899 Thaxter solicited her opinion as to the quality of his writings and her advice on how and where to place them.

[58] Magowan, Robin. "The Outer Island Sequence in Pointed Firs." Colby Library Quarterly 10 (June 1964): 418-424.

The juxtaposed histories of Captain Littlepage, Joanna Todd, and the Blacketts (chapters V-XV) form in themselves a  cohesive unit: namely, each man's search for an island able to embody his highest ideals. For Littlepage this is the strange  terrestial Limbo that Gaffett had talked to him about and which in his imagination took on the shape of "a kind of waiting-place between this world an' the next." For Joanna it is the worldly renunciation of Shell-heap Island. And for the Blacketts it is the pastoral haven that is Green Island, a place where the good  life is maintained with an appearance of innocence and youthful joy. To the extent that it succeeds, that the vision is realized, it becomes a counterpart of the Christian paradise, which is, after all, an Eden transfigured. And in these outer island chapters both notions, pastoral and Christian, are brought into close conjunction. Jewett has accomplished this by centering the quest in the other world of the Outer Islands and by taking as people characters so ancient that death and the next world must seem to them but an island away, a gleam on the near horizon. By making this other existence thus immediate Jewett creates for her narrator a situation in which she must confront her own destiny and make a choice of world.

[59] Coyle, Lee. "Sarah Orne Jewett and Irish Roger." Colby Library Quarterly 10 (June 1964): 441-443.

The editors of St. Nicholas, a magazine for children, were enthusiastic about Gertrude Van R. Wickham's idea to write  about the dogs of famous Americans. They commissioned Mrs. Wickham to prepare a three-part article, and the Wickham correspondence began to fly. 

[60] Frost, John E. "Sarah Orne Jewett Bibliography, 1949-1963." Colby Library Quarterly 10 (June 1964): 405-417.

The centennial anniversary of Sarah Orne Jewett's birth was commemorated by the completion and publication of a significant bibliography of Jewettiana, issued by the Colby College Press in Waterville, Maine, in 1949. Appropriately, it was the work of a native of Maine, Clara Carter Weber, formerly of Portland, and of her husband Carl Jefferson Weber, Professor of English at Colby College, and a Hardy and Housman scholar; it was printed at Frederick W. Anthoensen's distinguished press in Portland. The compilation required several years of research, and the bibliography was, as nearly as possible, an exhaustive survey of the subject.
       In compiling a record of the ensuing years for the Colby Library Quarterly, it has seemed wise to make certain changes appropriate to presentation in a periodical rather than in a book, and to a fifteen rather than an eighty-one year scope. With this in mind, new categories have been introduced. Sections of check lists and bibliographies, correspondence, and dissertations have been added. General works on her period that make incidental mention of Miss Jewett (e.g., in literature, those by Van Wyck Brooks and Grant C. Knight, and, in history by Richard B. Morris) have been omitted. So, too, have been the brief biographical accounts given in encyclopedic works, such as Herzberg's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature (1962) and Burke and Howe's American Authors and Books (1943; rev. ed. 1962), and in general biographical dictionaries. It is interesting to note that Miss Jewett appeared in Who's Who in Alnerica during her lifetime, but a citation hardly seems relevant to the purposes of this paper.

[61] Magowan, Robin. "Fromentin and Jewett: Pastoral Narrative in the Nineteenth Century." Comparative Literature 16.4 (Fall 1964): 331-37.      

In attempting to formulate a definition of pastoral that will hold for such works of nineteenth-century fiction as Dominique and Country of the Pointed Firs, it seems best to start with the recognition that pastoral is a narrative form seeking to project within certain arbitrary limits a vision of the good life.

[62] Cary, Richard. "Jewett's Literary Canons." Colby Library Quarterly 7 (1965): 82-87.

From Miss Jewett's letters to Willa Cather, Andress Floyd, and John Thaxter may be extracted enough tenets of  either variety to construct a viable credo. She discoursed unpedantically upon matters of the artistic conscience, the elemental aim of literary effort, the quality of human communion to be sought by a writer, the need of esthetic tranquility; upon character delineation, transfiguration of background, guidance of plot, importance of point of view, the texture of realism, optimum tone; also upon how to choose subject matter, how to mold it to a proper medium, how to gauge the predilections of editors. 

[63] Auchincloss, Louis. Pioneers & Caretakers: A Study of 9 American Women Novelists. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1965. 

Chapter 1 is about Jewett. 
Dunnet may be seen too idyllically, if realism is what one wants, but this is not because individuals are Greenaway ladies or bunny rabbits, but because they have been selected to substantiate the author's thesis that Dunnet is a lovely place, full of integrity, good neighborliness, thrift and industry, as neat as it is honest, as tactful as it is unaffected, as simple as it is profound.  No doubt she could have chosen types to illustrate the contrary; Miss Jewett is too much the doctor's daughter not to have heard of degeneracy in small, isolated New England communities.  But what she chose to depict was the charm of the coastal village, and that such charm exists every visitor can testify.  No other writer has begun to catch it as she did....    

[423]  Howe, Helen.  The Gentle Americans: Biography of a Breed.  New York: Harper & Row, 1965.

Chapter 5, mainly, contains a number of anecdotes about Jewett and Annie Fields.

[64] Boggio-Sola, Jean. "The Poetic Realism of Sarah Orne Jewett." Colby Library Quarterly 7 (1965): 74-81. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Miss Jewett made extensive use of the New England scene as a sort of active setting. Many stories and sketches contain one of these magnificent and skilfully elaborated broad pictures of a landscape or a place that actually materializes the setting in the reader's imagination. Most often they are introduced by the author's will alone, who very deliberately stops a moment to paint a scene she judges striking. Some are essentially pieces of landscape painting, and their titles do not try to hide that fact.

[65] Cary, Richard, ed. Deephaven and Other Stories. New Haven, CT: Coll. & Univ., 1966.   

 Deephaven is Miss Jewett's formative and fundamental book. It stands in relation to the rest of her work as the embryo to the adult organism. Written in parts over a period of five years, it is preceded by a score of unrelated stories and poems, and interspersed by a like number, growing consonant but still peripheral. In "The Shore House" (Atlantic Monthly, September, 1873) she reveals with occasional crudities of style and lapses of judgment the instinctual wisdom about place and people, the motifs and attitudes, the subtle lights and shades that were thenceforth to be her hallmarks. These intuitions and techniques she enhances through "Deephaven Cronies" (Atlantic Monthly, September, 1875), and "Deephaven Excursions" (Atlantic Monthly, September 1876). She continues to ply them in wider and deeper contexts through some hundred other sketches and stories, and two novels, before the final refinement in her masterpiece, The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896).

[66] Thorp, Margaret F. Sarah Orne Jewett. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1966. University of Minnesota Pamphlets on American Writers  61.  Minneapolis, MN.

Among her relatives Sarah Jewett could study most of the New England traits she liked to dwell on: a sense of duty (writing she came to think was her duty), independence, courage, endurance, an enjoyment of work, an imperious conscience.


[67] Pool, Eugene H. "The Child in Sarah Orne Jewett." Colby Library Quarterly 7 (1967): 503-509. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Her life also seems to have been an uneasy middle road between childhood and adulthood, whether or not she was aware of it (although she certainly seems to be conscious of some tension). For this reason she could never really devote her life to the cause of feminism, as she hints of doing through the character of Nan in A Country Doctor, because this would necessitate repudiation of the importance of her father. Yet, neither can she accept a fully masculine world.

[68] Biron, Archille H., tr. "Madam Blanc's Le Roman de la Femme-Medicin." Colby Library Quarterly 7 (1967): 488-503. 

Before giving here the analysis of A Country Doctor, we shall make known its author.

[69] Cary, Richard. "Miss Jewett and Madame Blanc." Colby Library Quarterly 7 (1967): 466-488.

"I owe one of the dearest affections of my life to an article entitled Le Roman de la Femme-Médecin, which appeared in the Revue of February 1, 1885, inspired by Sarah Orne Jewett's Country Doctor." So wrote Madame Marie Thérèse Blanc to a young American who published this statement among others from her series of letters to him. That Miss Jewett reciprocated Madame Blanc's tender feelings has been known only indirectly through comments made by Miss Jewett to mutual friends and to editors. However, with the discovery of five letters by Miss Jewett to Madame Blanc (now in Colby College Library) their relationship comes into finer focus. Obviously a narrow sampling from a substantial correspondence--Miss Jewett speaks of Madame Blanc's "constant letters"--these letters nevertheless enlarge our knowledge of the interplay of their sensibilities, and prompt a deeper scrutiny into the background and personality of the gifted Frenchwoman.

[70] Cary, Richard. "Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)."American Literary Realism 1 (1967): 61-66.      

An introduction to Jewett scholarship.

[71] Cary, Richard, ed. & introd. Sarah Orne Jewett Letters. Waterville: Colby College, 1967.     

Miss Jewett's catalogue of attributes, perceptible in her public writings, becomes more strikingly manifest in these private disclosures. The luminous heart, the discriminating ideals, the profound compassion, and the uncomplicated vision tremble closer to the surface in these unguarded, unaffected personal testaments.

[72] Eakin, Paul John."Sarah Orne Jewett and the Meaning of Country Life." American Literature: A Journal of Literary History, Criticism, and Bibliography 38.4 (Jan. 1967): 508-31.      

An appreciation of Pointed Firs, of the unity of vision which Henry James praised as her "beautiful little quantum of achievement," can be greatly enhanced by an awareness of the persistent and seemingly insoluble difficulties which she encountered in her development as an artist, a subject largely neglected. The moral impulse behind her realism, determined by her conservative view of the village community and of the individual within it, will be considered first, followed by an examination of her struggle with her craft, the development of character, and especially the invention of a form appropriate to the nature of her experience of country life. 

[73] Martin, Jay.  Harvests of Change: American Literature 1865-1914.  Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1967. 142-148.  

One of the most successful chapters, the longest, studies "Paradises Lost" -- a rubric under which regionalism, whether the post-bellum romanticism of Lanier or the prairie realism of Garland can be treated.  Martin sees all regionalist writers, including Robinson and Frost, either responding to the need to "reconstruct a glorious past" or systematically destroying this myth in the "simultaneous recognition that such a paradise never existed."  From a review by James Woodress in American Literature 40 (March 1968): 94-96.

[74] Chase, Mary Ellen, introd. The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories. New York: W. W. Norton, 1968.      

This sensitiveness to people and to places marks all Sarah Orne Jewett's work from her first book, Deephaven, which appeared in 1877 after its earlier publication as a series of sketches in The Atlantic Monthly, until The Country of the Pointed Firs, generally admitted as her highest achievement, marked the year of 1896 as a year crowned by a genuine and unquestionable work of American literary art. It is, indeed, this rare sensitiveness which sets Sarah Orne Jewett apart not only from all other Maine writers, but from many, if not most writers of all time and many a place, gives her an enviable stature, makes her in short, the deeply desired, if unreachable, model for us all.

[75] Hollis, C. Carroll. "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes." Colby Library Quarterly 8 (1968): 97-138.

Their acquaintance might easily have been of the conventional sort that is carried on by occasional meetings at social functions and by the annual exchange of greeting cards, but both young women seem to have welcomed the opportunity to develop their acquaintance through letters. As in most sudden correspondence-friendships, the early letters are devoted to exploring the feelings, tastes, and ideas of the other. Only two of Anna's letters to Sarah have survived, but since these are early in the friendship, I have inserted them in their proper sequence to give some sense of the person to whom Sarah wrote so freely.

[76] Rhode, Robert D. "Sarah Orne Jewett and 'The Palpable Present Intimate'." Colby Library Quarterly 8 (1968): 146-155. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

To understand Miss Jewett's unique contribution to the art of local fiction, it is necessary first to take note of her particular manner of employing setting as an element in narration. Some of Miss Jewett's critics seem to feel that she succeeded as a novelist and story writer without really mastering the art--that she could manage neither characterization nor plot in the usual sense of the terms, and that she could not muster a serious interest in theme--at least not from the standpoint of social criticism or reform. Most critics, on the other hand, credited her with a special sensitivity toward, and an intimate knowledge of, her specialized material. They also recognized her other qualifications: aesthetic taste and judgment, imagination, power of concentration and discipline as a writer. Almost all of the elements of strength in her art, it may be noted, had little to do with character, plot, and theme, but much to do with the fourth quantum of narrative art--namely, setting.   

[77] Cary, Richard. "Some Bibliographic Ghosts of Sarah Orne Jewett." Colby Library Quarterly 8 (1968): 139-145.

The list which follows is not a further updating. It confines itself to the time span already covered by the Webers and Frost, comprising items not recorded in the Bibliography or the supplement, some corrections and adjustments of data therein presented, and some speculative additions to the canon. The approach, in keeping with expressed misgivings, is gingerly.     

[78] Cary, Richard. "The Other Face of Jewett's Coin." American Literary Realism 2 (1969): 263-270.      

[79] Eichelberger, Clayton L. "Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909): A Critical Bibliography of Secondary Comment." American Literary Realism 2 (1969): 189-262.      

[80] Cary, Richard. "More Whittier Letters to Jewett."  ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 58 (1970): 132-39.     

[469] Cary, Richard. "Violet Paget to Sarah Orne Jewett"  Colby Library Quarterly 9 (1970) 235-243.

[Five letters between Paget and Jewett in 1907-8] constitute a unit remarking the death of Madame Blanc and the desire of Miss Paget to market some of her scripts.

[81] Parsons, Helen V. "The Tory Lover, Oliver Wiswell, and Richard Carvel."  Colby Library Quarterly 9 (1970): 220-31.

Miss Jewett's departures from accuracy in her depictions of Berwick, its people, or of Jones, were not the real reasons for the lukewarm reception accorded the novel. The violent temper of the times never explodes in The Tory Lover; the heartbreaking separation of two lovers never develops into a warm love story. Reared in a gentle Victorian atmosphere, Miss Jewett was quite unable to portray an unknown violence; embued with her cameo portraits of the elderly, she did not understand and could not realistically portray youthful love. These faults were the basis for unfavorable criticism of the novel when it appeared in 1901.

[82] Stouck, David. "The Country of The Pointed Firs: A Pastoral of Innocence." Colby Library Quarterly 9 (Dec. 1970): 213-220. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Ever since Willa Cather, in the preface to the 1925 edition of The Country of the Pointed Firs, judged it to be one of three American books which had "the possibility of a long, long life," criticism has been attempting to define more accurately the qualities which make this work a classic of its kind, and which suggested to Miss Cather that it should rank with The Scarlet Letter and Huckleberry Finn in importance. In the light of the present corpus of American fiction her judgment must appear somewhat arbitrary, although it is obvious that she wished, in part, simply to praise a book in which she took particular interest by comparing it with two novels which were then its best-known predecessors. Unfortunately her statement has not always been understood in this context, and Miss Jewett's book has either suffered badly from the comparison, or has profited from it in an equally misleading fashion. Miss Cather's judgment may, however, lead to more profitable approaches in understanding The Country of the Pointed Firs; she may have recognized in all three books the treatment of a mode with which she herself was much concerned, namely the pastoral. Since Miss Jewett's work clearly belongs to this mode, while the other two books use it as a motif, the problem is to discover what distinguishes The Country of the Pointed Firs from other pastorals. 

[324] Cohen, Edward H.  Jewett to Guiney: An Earlier Letter." Colby Library Quarterly, series 9, no.4, December 1970:  231-232.

[T]he letter here recorded is offered as evidence that Sarah Jewett and Louise Guiney may have corresponded and met as early as 1891.

[83] Voelker, Paul D. "The Country of The Pointed Firs: A Novel by Sarah Orne Jewett." Colby Library Quarterly 9 (Dec. 1970): 201-213. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

It seems reasonable to assume that the book has not been denied this stature because of its lack of plot. Today we are  accustomed to "plotless" novels with their emphasis on character. Certainly the fact that the book is episodic in form is not sufficient to deny it the status of a novel either. In this respect, the book could always be related to the picaresque novel form. What does appear to be lacking is one significant element which we have come to expect in the novel--the  growth and development of character. However, I hope to be able to demonstrate that this barrier to The Country of the Pointed Firs attaining the stature of a novel is, indeed, surmountable, and that the character in the book commonly referred to as the narrator is not the static non-participant as she has previously been represented. This is, of course, an unpopular position to take, but I hope the widespread contention that Miss Jewett could not write a conventional novel will leave room for the possibility that she may have been able to write an unconventional one.  

[474] Vanderbeets, Richard and Bowen, James K.  "Miss Jewett, Mrs. Turner, and the Chautauqua Circle." Colby Library Quarterly 9.4 (December 1970): 233-234.

    A hitherto unknown letter of Sarah Orne Jewett, written in response to an essay of appreciation, also previously unrecorded, sheds considerable light on her state of mind during the difficult period when her creative output was severely limited by failing health and provides additional insight into her attitudes toward her fiction.


[84] Cary, Richard. "The Uncollected Short Stories of Sarah Orne Jewett." Colby Library Quarterly 9 (Dec. 1971): 385-408. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.

Thirty-three of these newly assembled stories appeared in newspapers and periodicals between the publication of "Mr. Bruce," her earliest story collected in Old Friends and New (1879) and "A Dunnet Shepherdess," her latest story collected in The Queen's Twin (1899). Some of the thirty-three Miss Jewett on second thought had doubtlessly judged below the standard she wished to present to posterity. The others must have fallen victim to Houghton Mifflin's economic sense of saturation--only so many volumes of warmed-over stories would go down with even a devoted public. One example might be "Peach-tree Joe" (1893), a printed copy of which she diligently modified with evident design to reissue. Eleven additional stories released between 1900 and 1904 could have comprised a tidy volume of creditable quality, but by then the vogue of local color had expired and Miss Jewett, partially paralyzed in an accident on her birthday in 1902, was no longer a factor to be reckoned with.

[85] Toth, Susan A. "The Value of Age in the Fiction of Sarah Orne Jewett." Studies in Short Fiction 8 (Summer 1971): 433-441. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.      

Sarah Orne Jewett, who has been praised for many qualities, has never been given full credit for her wise and sensitive attitude towards the very old. In almost every story, Miss Jewett introduces us to men and women who are seventy or eighty years old or older. These men and women tell us that age should neither be feared nor ignored but rather welcomed as the valuable end of the process of living.

[86] Cary, Richard. "'Yours Always Lovingly': Sarah Orne Jewett to John Greenleaf Whittier." Essex Institute Historical Collections 107 (1971): 412-50.

Transcriptions of 28 letters from Jewett to Whittier, 1877-1890.  Cary says: Besides complementing and enlightening many of Whittier's observations to her, Miss Jewett's letters below have explicit value of their own as building blocks  of literary history and as reflectors of personality.  Moreover, they contain the most graphic account of Miss Jewett's developing attachment to Annie Fields, particularly in the period of inconsolable grief that followed the death of her publisher husband James T. Fields in 1881.

[425]  Edward T. James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S. Boyer, Notable American Women: 1607-1950. P-Z, Volume 2  Cambridge: Radcliffe College, 1971, pp. 274-276.

By an artful balancing of intense and contradictory emotions, and by unfailing clarity of her descriptive vision, Sarah Orne Jewett achieved in The Country of the Pointed Firs one of the unquestionable classics of American prose writing.


[87] St. Armand, Barton L. "Jewett and Marin: The Inner Vision." Colby Library Quarterly 9 (Dec. 1972): 632-43. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.      

Marin was a master watercolorist, and it is this medium which seems to provide right and proper analogies to Jewett's art, rather than the heavier glazes and impastos of Homer's canvases. Homer, too, was a magnificent watercolor artist, originating and in some cases even exhausting the possibilities of the mode, but the brilliancy of his designs, in sharp contrast to the plastic tactility of his oils separates him even further from Jewett's realm of muted values which are composed mostly of earthy umbers and deep sea-greens.

[365]  Pratt, Annis.  "Women and Nature in Modern Fiction."  Contemporary Literature 13 (1972): 477-490.

Sarah Orne Jewett's "A White Heron" (1896) and James Joyce's epiphanic episode in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) describe naturistic visions in the development of a nine-year-old heroine and a sixteen-year-old hero, and although Jewett's piece is not a fully developed novel there are a number of points which afford a striking comparison to the episode in Joyce. In both there are a girl, a boy, nature represented in a real or figurative water bird; in each case the youthful self has turned aside from the normal expectations of parents and peers in quest of a special identity. The epiphanic moment for both Sylvia and Stephen is accompanied by a view of the ocean, a sense of soaring aloft, an apparition of a hawk or hawks, and an identification with the vehicle of the vision—bird and bird-girl—with a passage through that identity to a fuller understanding of the self.

[88] Wood, Ann Douglas.  "The Literature of Impoverishment: The Women Local Colorists in America 1865-1914."  Women's Studies, 1 (1972): 3-45.

It cannot be too much stressed that the narrator of The Country of the Pointed Firs is very clearly an author in search of material. This search, and the resulting self-consciousness, are major, although subtle themes in the book. We watch her quite literally interviewing candidates for characterization, we hear her test out descriptions, we see her secluding herself to write. She cannot stay in Dunnett Landing, but she can write about it. She cannot become Mrs. Todd, but she can possess her by using her life as the vital center of her story. And this is what she does. Jewett herself, unlike her narrator, lived most of her adult life in the retired New England town of which she wrote, yet who can doubt that her dependency on it stemmed in part from the resources if offered her as subject matter?

[89] Noyes, Sylvia G. "Mrs. Almira Todd, Herbalist-Conjurer." Colby Library Quarterly 9 (1972): 643-49.

The romantic aspects of The Country of the Pointed Firs in no way detracts from its realism. The humanitarian herbalist is also a woman who has lived bravely, and, at sixty-seven, can walk miles across Maine's open fields, shake and beat her own rugs, drive a team of horses, and "land" a haddock for dinner
while sailing to Green Island. It is the complete reality of the woman which provides the artistic experience and accounts for the durability of this story in American literature.

[90] Horn, Robert L. "The Power of Jewett's Deephaven." Colby Library Quarterly 9 (Dec. 1972): 617-631. Reprinted in Cary, Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett.      

The cloying narrative frame and the obvious technical unevenness of Deephaven too often obscure the fictive power of Sarah Orne Jewett's first book. The precious young Boston visitors - Helen Denis, the narrator and her friend, Kate Lancaster - must be relegated to their deserved status as an awkward
vehicle for the exposure of the world of Deephaven before the reader can fully appreciate how compelling that world is. Miss Jewett herself, in the Preface to the 1893 edition of Deephaven, begs the reader's indulgence for the youthful excesses of the work. If her advice to smile at these flaws is taken, a view
of Deephaven emerges that reveals some of the most devastating portrayals of isolation, frustration, self-delusion, human dry-rot, and, at times, indomitability in all of Jewett's fiction.

[91] Cary, Richard. "The Rise, Decline, and Rise of Sarah Orne Jewett." Colby Library Quarterly 9 (1972): 650-63.

She transcribes existence in a minor key to which most of us are by daily iteration attuned. If serenity, reticence, guarded optimism, simplicity, honesty, tragedy without hysterics, and dispassionate self-knowledge are the realities Miss Jewett strove all her life to demonstrate, it would serve well that they regain posture in a society too long obsessed by their opposites. For her arc in the eonian cycle affirms nature and man and morality.

[92] Toth, Susan A. "Sarah Orne Jewett and Friends: A Community of Interest." Studies in Short Fiction 9 (1972): 233-41.

While comparisons of Mmes. Jewett, Freeman, Cook and Miss Brown cannot lead to definite conclusions about who might have learned from whom, making such comparisons and tracing these writers' personal connections lead to one important conclusion.  They must have formed a genuine community of interest that was valuable to all of them.  For too long Sarah Orne Jewett has been considered in isolation from her fellow writers and friends, whom she personally knew, whose stories she read, and whose criticism she welcomed and returned.

[93] Westbrook, Perry.  Seacoast and Upland: New England Anthology.  South Brunswick: A. S. Barnes, 1972.    

New England authors from 1800 till the middle of the present century make up a delightful collection of relatively unfamiliar material, but material with real literary merit. Unlike a great many anthologies, Westbrook's deals solely with the literature inspired and produced by the New England countryside and seacoast away from the large cities. The contributors - familiar names - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emily Dickinson, and Robert Frost --  either participated in or were highly conversant with a distinctive village culture of which they became the literary voices.  [From a review in Saturday Evening Post, May/June 1973, p. 82.]



[94] Cary, Richard, ed. & forward.  Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett. Waterville, Maine: Colby College Press, 1973.   

A "brief mention" notes that the foreword is a "concise survey of the critical reception of Miss Jewett."  American Literature 45 (November 1973): 491.

[95] Humma, John B. "The Art and Meaning of Sarah Orne Jewett's 'The Courting of Sister Wisby'." Studies in Short Fiction 10 (1973): 85-91.

"Sister Wisby" is not the loosely knit "sketch-anecdote" that it seems. The framework is not "extraneous," but rather artistically tight; there is a sustained, internal spark; the flora and fauna are subtly, but cohesively, integrated into the story as are the fences the narrator jumps and the pastures she climbs; finally, the two stories that Mrs. Goodsoe tells (as well as many of her most offhand remarks) are directly related and subservient to the central theme—the narrator's unfolding vision of the continuity of life amidst suffering and death--that knits the several parts of the story into an artistically coherent whole. 

[96] Vella, Michael W. "Sarah Orne Jewett: A Reading of The Country of the Pointed Firs." ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 73 (1973): 275-82.

Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs is the product of a sensibility poised at a moment in literary history offering the advantages of contemporaneity with realist and local colorist writers along with immersion in the rich new England tradition of such works as Nature, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, and Walden.  With attention to the realist and the vision of the Transcendentalist, Jewett manages to create in Pointed Firs a symbolic novel which fulfills the Emersonian dictum that "words are signs of natural facts,' and that "particular natural facts are symbols of particular spiritual facts."  The Country of the Pointed Firs becomes in this context a novel whose descriptive details are nearly as inherently symbolic as those of Walden, and whose literary technique carries it beyond the category of local color.

[97] Cary, Richard. "The Sculptor and the Spinster: Jewett's 'Influence' on Cather." Colby Library Quarterly 10 (1973): 168-78.

Suppositions aside, Willa Cather persevered in her own voice, Jewett notwithstanding. A nameless critic in the Nation cunningly dubbed the collection Youth and the Bright Medusa, "the triumph of mind over Nebraska," and that seems to pry at the lock of Cather's commitment. She was a woman of tender properties and robust will. She certified several mutualities of taste, feeling, and apperception with Jewett, but she did not admit of being led by the nose into vacant imitation. She partook of Jewett's fare when it suited her. When it did not she remained unimpeachably Cather, for better or worse.      

[98] Woodress, James.  "Sarah Orne Jewett and Willa Cather: 'Anti-Realists.'"  English Studies Today 5 (1973): 477-88.

What I want to do in this paper is to take a look at Sarah Orne Jewett and Willa Cather, two writers who often have been classed as realists, but whom I believe to be romantics.  If the dominant literary mode of the period between the Civil War and World War I is realistic, then these two excellent writers may be said to be swimming against the current.  I should like to isolate some of the elements in their work which seem to me to link them to the great romantics rather than the realists.


[99] Thorp, Margaret F.  "Sarah Orne Jewett." American Writers.  New York: Scribner's, 1974, 2010. 391-414. 

Anyone from another part of the United States, anyone from another part of the world, who wants to understand New England might do well to begin with the stories of Sarah Orne Jewett. These subtle "sketches," as she called them, do not contain the whole of New England but they distill its essence. Here are the qualities which made New England great, which spread its influence across the continent, which had so much to do with the shaping of those midwesterners who, Miss Jewett herself thought, would be the typical Americans of the future.

[100] Forrey, Carolyn. "The New Woman Revisited."  Women's Studies 2 (1974): 42-44.   

Literature -- written by women about feminine experience -- can provide a level of insight into the historical condition of women which studies of events and statistics rarely attempt to reach.  For literature gives access to those most elusive yet important realities of human existence: feeling and fantasy.

[101] Jobes, Katharine T. "From Stowe's Eagle Island to Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Colby Library Quarterly 10 (1974): 515-21.

I wish to point out another way in which The Pearl of Orr's Island seems to have influenced Jewett's developing art, which she and her critics have not noted: besides showing her the general material which would prove congenial to her, it provided -- in the Eagle Island episode of Chapter 16 -- specific
material which she would use in working out her self-definition as an artist. The Eagle Island episode expresses Stowe's conception of the nature of the artist. It does so through a brief narrative in which a sensitive girl demurs at a boy's plundering a birds' nest at the top of a tall tree and in an authorial explanation of the narrative. Evidently stirred by the episode to express her own conception of the nature of the artist, Jewett rewrote it twice -- in "The Eagle Trees" (1882) and "A White Heron" (1886) -- discovering in the process her own increasingly clearly defined artistic nature.

[102] Willoughby, John W. "Sarah Orne Jewett and Her Shelter Island: Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford." Confrontation (Long Island University) 8 (1974): 72-86.

14 letters 1880-1906. 

[103] Monteiro, George. "Addenda to the Bibliographies of Conrad, Cooke, Damon, Ford, Glasgow, Holmes, Jewett, Lewis, Mumford, Robinson, and Scott." Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America  (1975): 273-75.

[104] Stevenson, Catherine Barnes. "The Double Consciousness of the Narrator in Sarah Orne Jewett's Fiction." Colby Library Quarterly 11 (1975): 1-12.    
However, Jewett's fiction is not simple, unqualified pastoral. No matter how nostalgic or naive her personal statements may be, Jewett in her most successful works creates a narrator whose perceptions and emotions are far more complex than has generally been recognized. Despite the attractiveness of the unchanging past to the narrator, her desire to retreat, to "fix" time, is undercut by the recognition - conveyed through the imagery - that change is often both necessary and salubrious.

[105] Cary, Richard. "Jewett to Dresel: 33 Letters." Colby Library Quarterly 11 (1975): 13-49.
    A sheaf of letters written by Jewett to Dresel recently acquired by Colby College Library help to rectify this oversight and place the quality of their relationship in proper focus. The thirty-three presented here (plus one by Dresel, permission of Harvard College Library) attest the frequency of their meetings in the Boston area during fall-winter and along the North Shore of Essex County in spring-summer, also the frequency of their communication between Maine and Massachusetts or when either was abroad. In addition to recertifying the power of personal, social, and cultural affinity that bound the two women, these letters intensify or add valuable new facets to our knowledge of Jewett's life and works.

[106] Bender, Bert.  "to Calm and Uplift 'Against the Dark': Sarah Orne Jewett's Lyric Narratives. Colby Library Quarterly 11 (1975): 219-29.
    The consoling vision that calms and uplifts Mrs. Todd is, of course, beyond reason, despite her urgent denial. At least it is beyond the kind of reason expected in normal prose fiction, whose conventions are rooted in the writer's efforts to understand the logic and the chronology of his or her fictional material. In "The Foreigner," the sounds of the wind, the sea, and the guitar linger with the thought of Mrs. Tolland's loneliness to give the story a lasting quality. It is more than a ghost story, which it is sometimes called. The ghostly figure appears only after the main note of loneliness has been repeatedly struck; and when death comes with the ghost-mother, the lyric reaches a characteristic New England resolution that echoes from Walden through the pointed firs of Dunnet Landing and on through Wallace Stevens's black hemlocks to the calm knowledge of his "Sunday Morning" that "Death is the mother of Beauty." 

[107] Morgan, Ellen. "The Atypical Woman: Nan Prince in the Literary Transition to Feminism." Kate Chopin Newsletter 2.2 (1976): 33-37.  

    I think the explanation is that transitional writers and heroines are brinkswomen. They address themselves to a society that does not approve of their nascent feminism . Often they must also cope with conflicts between their new ideas about women and whatever anti-feminist ideas are still active in their own minds and emotions.
       A Country Doctor is a transitional work which seems to me to shed light on how the special situation of the transitional writer creates in the transitional work the strange civil war which is at once its essence and its curse.   

[108] Mawer, Randall R. "Classical Myth in Jewett's A Marsh Island." American Notes and Queries 14 (1976): 85-87.

In Chapter 10 of this chronicle of life on a Massachusetts farm [A Marsh Island], similarities are suggested between elements of the novel's plot and two interlocking Homeric myths, and, though not very apt in themselves, these comparisons reveal a good deal about Jewett's methods, both in general and in this particular tale.

[109] Eppard, Philip B. "'Dan's Wife': A Newly Discovered Sarah Orne Jewett Story." Colby Library Quarterly 12 (1976): 101-02. 

    Although the vast array of American periodicals publishing short fiction in the late nineteenth century may have been gratifying to authors seeking to sell their stories, it has caused endless problems for bibliographers. Even though much bibliographical work has been done to track down all the stories of Sarah Orne Jewett, Richard Cary has noted, "It is conceivable and highly probably that others appeared in obscure sources and have not yet been recovered." "Dan's Wife" was published in Harper's Bazar, not a particularly obscure source. It was, however, an outlet which Jewett rarely used. The pages of Harper's Bazar during the 1880's and 1890's were filled with distinguished New England stories, principally from the pen of Mary E. Wilkins, but also by Rose Terry Cooke, Annie Trumbull Slosson, and Alice Brown. Besides "Dan's Wife," however, there is only one other recorded appearance by Sarah Orne Jewett in Harper's Bazar.
       "Dan's Wife" is a story of domestic conflict and its ultimate resolution. Ann Parish has sacrificed throughout her life for her two children. Her daughter is dead and now her son Dan is bringing home his new bride Hannah. Ann Parish is unprepared to surrender any of her household duties and authority or to see Hannah assume the place held by her daughter. The strain of sharing the housework and of striving constantly to please her mother-in-law is too much for Hannah. Taken seriously ill, she lies near death deliriously wondering what she has done to displease Ann Parish. The harshness of Dan's mother melts in the face of Hannah's delirium. Her recovery finds a new relationship established between the two women.
       Despite the title, the story is really about Ann Parish, a strong-willed country widow unable to adjust to sharing the house and her son's affections with another woman. The title of the story, however, emphasizes the point of conflict, for it is as Dan's wife that Hannah is found to be objectionable. Throughout the story there are suggestions that Ann Parish is genuinely fond of Hannah. But her past misfortunes have caused her affections to atrophy or to be restricted only to the narrow channel that flows toward herself and her son. The interjection of town comment reinforces this view of Ann. It is the crisis of Hannah's illness that proves sufficient to break the blockade of affections, however. Ann Parish redeems herself in the eyes of her daughter-in-law and also in the eyes of the community as represented by the two women gossips. By viewing the new relationship between Ann and Hannah through their eyes, Jewett escapes the maudlin sentimentality with which the scene might have been drawn, yet still succeeds in showing the resolution of the conflict with a characteristic touch of warmth.

[110] Mawer, Randall R. "Setting as Symbol in Jewett's A Marsh Land." Colby Library Quarterly 12 (1976): 83-90.

Just as the likening of Almira Todd to Antigone demonstrates that universal lessons about pride, courage, and steadfastness may be learned in the most out-of-the-way corner of Gilded Age America as well as from the hallowed myths of Greece's Golden Age, so the comparison of Dan Lester, Doris Owen, and Dick Dale to the points of an antique triangle emphasizes the persistence of love's trials in every place and time.


[111] Leder, Priscilla. "The Gifts of Peace: Sarah Orne Jewett's Vision of Romance." Gypsy Scholar: A Graduate Forum for Literary Criticism 4 (1977): 27-39.

Romance adheres less strictly to reality than does the noel: characters are flatter and tend to be "abstract and idea"; action is preferred over character; astonishing events may occur; and, overall, the work "will more freely veer toward mythic, allegorical, and symbolistic forms" (Richard Chase, p. 13).  If this tendency to "incorporate" elements of romance is indeed closely related to an anti-cultural and consequently anti-female bias in the American novel, what can be expected of an American novel written by a woman?    On the one hand, we might expect a woman novelist to maintain what Chase, Fiedler, and other critics have seen as the "anti-normative" tradition of her native literature; on the other, we might expect her to write out of her role as "Aunt Sally" – mediating the extremes and "sivilizing" the unruly, unrealistic American novel.  I want to begin to answer this question by examining a novel by a woman, The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett with particular attention to how it differs from the American novel as Chase and Fiedler characterize it.

[112] Ellis, James. "The World of Dreams: Sexual Symbolism in 'A White Heron'." Nassau Review: The Journal of Nassau Community College Devoted to Arts, Letters, and Sciences 3.3 (1977): 3-9.

... to lead the young man to the dead hemlock that serves life as the nest of the heron is to bring death to the while heron .... This Sylvia cannot do, for she has chosen to preserve and maintain her ancient role of Siilvanus rather than to surrender the white heron and herself to the scientific collection of the young man.


[403] Nagel, Gwen and James Nagel.  Sarah Orne Jewett: A Reference Guide.  Boston: G. K. Hall, 1978. 

    A chronological review of the history of scholarship on Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) and her works reveals a progressive sophistication of insight within a relatively narrow range. Save for a recent development of interest in the roles of Pastoralism and Literary Impressionism in her fiction, most of the major areas of critical thought on Jewett were established early, soon after the publication of Deephaven in 1877 and, interestingly, before the appearance of her most important book, The Country of the Pointed Firs, in 1896. That Jewett wrote with considerable artistic control about basically regional subjects; that a persistent theme in her works was the decline of stature of South Berwick, Maine, and the surrounding area; that her characters tend to be elderly, mostly female, and rarely dynamic young men; and that her principal artistic skills are in style and characterization rather than in plot are all matters established well within her lifetime. That nearly seven hundred additional scholarly works published since her death in 1909 have done little to broaden the scope of scholarship suggests something of the limited range of her literary production and of the redundancy of modern scholarship.    

[113] Hovet, Theodore R. "America's 'Lonely Country Child': The Theme of Separation in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Colby Library Quarterly 14 (1978): 166-71.   

    When she was forty-eight years old, Sarah Orne Jewett thought back to 1857 and wrote, "This is my birthday and I am always nine years old." As F. O. Matthiessen shows, the "whole fading world" of pre-Civil War America as it was manifested in Maine continued to hold "the center of her affections." But Jewett's love of her childhood and the past grew into much more than an astute observation of regional characteristics and the delicate rendering of a vanishing people and culture. As "A White Heron" reveals, Jewett discovered in the contrast between the distant world of the nine year old girl and the immediate industrial America of her adulthood the social enactment of the psychological drama of separation, the separation from bodily union with a nurturing environment which each individual must undergo in the process of maturation.

[114] Pry, Elmer. "Folk-Literary Aesthetics in The Country of the Pointed Firs." Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 44 (1978): 7-12.

[There are] … four distinct (though sometimes overlapping) ways in which folklore functions in a literary text: (1) the reconstruction of a folk community …. (2) folk speech provides poetic, realistic or humorous modes or idioms…. (3) typical folklore forms and structures … adapted to belletristic purposes may provide desired tones or structures …. (4) folklore items may be transformed into literary symbols or analogues to give the literary work a primitive universality….  Ms. Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs … enjoys the strengths of each of these techniques….

[115] Brenzo, Richard. "Free Heron or Dead Sparrow: Sylvia's Choice in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Colby Library Quarterly 14 (1978): 36-41.

     The use of a juvenile narrator or a child's point of view seems especially common in American literature (What Maisie Knew, Huckleberry Finn, "I Want to Know Why"). This technique provides a unique, often humorous view of the foibles of adult society, and, more profoundly portrays the struggles of the child as he or she grows and tries to form a relationship with that society. In this tradition is one of Sarah Orne Jewett's finest stories, "A White Heron," a thoughtful portrait of a nine-year-old girl who is suddenly forced to make a very difficult choice between a young man's approval and loyalty to herself and to nature. Because of the striking nature images—the forest, the pine tree, the heron, the hunted birds—and because of Sylvia's intense emotional response to the young hunter, a symbolic reading of the tale is inevitable, as most critical interpretations attest. Sylvia feels but cannot, of course, verbalize her awakening sexuality and growing self-awareness. However, Jewett's symbolic treatment universalizes and enriches the meaning of the girl's inner experiences.

  [427]  Hovet, Theodore R. "'Once upon a Time': Sarah Orne Jewett's 'A White Heron' as a Fairy Tale." Studies in Short Fiction 15 (1978): 63-68.

     Sarah Orne Jewett's "A White Heron" is one of the most admired of nineteenth-century American short stories. It has frequently been praised for its delicate artistry and, more recently, for its treatment of the heroine. In spite of its enduring critical reputation, however, the structure of the story has not been carefully analyzed. As a result Jewett's use of the fairy tale form has been neither recognized nor appreciated. The application of "the morphology of  the fairy tale," to use Vladimir Propp's phrase, not only describes the artistic structure of the story but also reveals how Jewett turned to the fairy tale in order to explore the mythic roots of the conflicts generated by the encounter of modern social forces with provincial America. 

[117] Auerbach, Nina.  Communities of Women: An Idea in Fiction.  Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1978.  9-12, 99-1. 
In this classic work of feminist and literary criticism, Auerbach explores how the fellowship of sisterhood as it occurs or fails to occur in historical reality is reflected in famous novels such as those of Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), Charlotte Bronte (Villette), Henry James (The Bostonians), Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice) and Muriel Spark (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie). This is a fascinating study of the complex attitudes of communities of women which are distinct from the long honored traditions of the banding of "brothers." "However prized friendship has been in our philosophical has been the exclusive privilege of men... Communities of Women: An Idea In Fiction is the first book I know of that ventures into the domain of the novel to explore this particular inequity..." Francine du Plessix Gray The New York Times Book Review.  A description from Google Books.


[118] Solomon, Barbara H.  "Introduction" to Short Fiction of Sarah Orne Jewett and Mary Wilkins Freeman.  New York:  New American Library, 1979.

     1-19. In this, as in most of Jewett's fiction, the incidents are not world-shaking. Typically the author records the way in which an old woman carefully wears a mended glove so that the tear will not be too noticeable, or the way in which a long afternoon may be pleasurably shortened by a visit from an acquaintance who can produce a bit of gossip or a shrewd observation about family relationships. The lives of the characters are never lived out on a grand scale. Yet there is much that we recognize and enjoy of enduring human nature, which the author so meticulously and tenderly renders for us.    

[119] Kraus, Mary C. "Sarah Orne Jewett and Temporal Continuity." Colby Library Quarterly 15 (1979): 157-74.

Sarah Orne Jewett views time as a continuum, rather than as disjunctive moments of past and present. Time, in her view, is simply permanence incomplete, still in the process of achievement. She sees the past as dependent upon the present for its significance and meaning, since only in retrospect can the past be understood and interpreted. She sees the present as dependent upon the past insofar as it is enriched and stabilized by past values which must not be repudiated. Her view of the interdependence and continuity between past and present time dictates the characterization, themes and techniques of her entire work. This view of temporal continuity differs substantially from the twentieth-century view which sees time as a series of disjunctive moments without interconnection or direction.   

[120] Donovan, Josephine. "The Unpublished Love Poems of Sarah Orne Jewett." Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 4.3 (1979): 26-31.
    Reprinted in Nagel, Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett.

Sarah Orne Jewett is not known as a poet; it is safe to say that she did not think of herself primarily as a poet. She published thirty-six poems in her lifetime. Most of these were printed in her early years—before 1884. The only collection of her poetic works, Verses, which contains nineteen poems (twelve of which had been previously published), was published posthumously. Nevertheless, among unpublished Jewett materials, there are 140 verse compositions, seventy-three of which are complete or nearly finished poems. The rest are fragments or unfinished, heavily reworked verses. Thirty of these compositions are love poems, or fragments thereof, and appear to have been written to women.
       It is upon these love poems that I wish to concentrate, for they, together with early diaries, provide important new biographical information about this distinguished writer.

[121] Petry, Alice Hall.  "Universal and Particular: The Local-Color Phenomenon Reconsidered."  American Literary Realism 12 (1979): 111-126.

The local colorists' works deserve a deep and sincere reappraisal if we are to perceive them accurately as possessing that which grants any piece of writing the title of true literature--namely, that the values and qualities embodied in local-color writing are (when one overlooks their often "odd" manifestations in local behavior) emphatically conventional and positive. They are the very values which all Americans--indeed, which all humans--regard as not simply good, but vital for human existence. Likewise, behavior patterns (again, although they superficially may seem "odd") are generally handled in such a way as to emphasize the universality of the behavior inasmuch as it reflects these positive values. And the universality of both of these overlapping factors (values and behavior) is presented as a result of the fact that there is a core of human nature which is constant for all men; which is the same regardless of one's geographical, temporal, or cultural co-ordinates; and which naturally gravitates towards "the good."      

[122] Westbook, Perry.  "Sarah Orne Jewett." Novelists and Prose Writers, ed. James Vinson and D. L. Kirkpatrick.  New York:  St. Martin's, 1979. 653-655.

A reference book article from a "survey of major writers in the English language," according to the back flap.


[123] DaGue, Elizabeth. "Images of Work, Glimpses of Professionalism in Selected Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Novels." Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 5.1 (1980): 50-55.

In her portrait of Nan [in A Country Doctor]… Jewett clearly shows that the talented woman must not abnegate her ambitions and devote herself to homemaking merely out of a negative sense of duty.  To such a talented woman, her profession is her life.

[124] Romines, Ann. "In Deephaven: Skirmishes near the Swamp." Colby Library Quarterly 16 (1980): 205-19. Reprinted in Nagel, Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett.

       In The Country of the Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett traces a woman's education by ritual, a coherent education in her connections to and distance from the circular life of a seaport town. Jewett's first book, Deephaven, published twenty years earlier, in 1877, is usually viewed as her initial attempt to grapple with the themes of her mature masterpiece, where "every element broached in Deephaven is . . . augmented and brought to highest pitch." Yet when I look again at this early book, built from sketches which Jewett began publishing in her twentieth year, I discover that Deephaven-despite its delicately elegiac tone-records a series of abrupt, abortive encounters with ritual. Again and again, the two young protagonists quietly crash into a transparent, unbreakable partition which protects them from the power, danger, and meaning of life in the village of Deephaven-which protects them, in fact, against fully experiencing their own lives. The older narrator of The Country of the Pointed Firs, of course, has an opposite experience: in ritual after ritual (funeral, visit, reunion, departure), partitions fall, and she must claim her kinship to the community of solitaries which she has entered as a visitor and which she must leave as a communicant.

[125] Hobbs, Glenda. "Pure and Passionate: Female Friendship in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'Martha's Lady'." Studies in Short Fiction 17 (1980): 21-29.
    Reprinted in Nagel, Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett.

"Martha's Lady," (1897) one of her best and most frequently anthologized short stories, focuses on one of these intense female friendships, which were, as Henry James notes, "so common in New England." Unique among Jewett's stories for depicting both the passion (itself rare in her fiction) and the spirituality that marked many of these friendships, "Martha's Lady" also provides a fictional counterpart to the many historical friendships recent scholarship has unearthed. Jewett's story testifies to their singular importance in women's lives and helps to clarify their nature.

[126] Donovan, Josephine. Sarah Orne Jewett. New York: Ungar, 1980.  Revision published by Cybereditions in 2002.
An updated and revised edition of a classic study, this widely cited book presents a lucid review of all of Jewett's work, which includes nearly 200 stories and novels. In a new preface Donovan discusses the "culture war" that has recently erupted over Jewett.  Description from


[127] Snow, Malinda. "'That One Talent': The Vocation as Theme in Sarah Orne Jewett's A Country Doctor." Colby Library Quarterly 16 (1980): 138-47.

Traditionally, if women appeared in "calling" literature as principals, they played the role of spoiler. Cleopatra and Dido have no callings. They are (wittingly or unwittingly) temptations set in the paths of those who do. The occasional woman who does feel a calling—Joan of Arc, for example—is treated in literature as her own spoiler. The majority of strong-willed, decisive woman in such literature appear on the side of love; their goal is marriage, not Hesperia. In this sense they resemble the heroine of the novel of manners, whose ultimate goal also is marriage. Nan Prince is neither a spoiler nor a traditional heroine who seeks and attains marriage. She is the Aeneas-like figure with special gifts, who gradually understands her vocation and attains it after a struggle. There is a potential spoiler in the novel, but he is a man. Jewett has inverted the traditional roles and led her heroine away from marriage. Thus the narrative resembles other literary treatments of the theme of the vocation more closely than it resembles the novel of manners.

[128] Donovan, Josephine. "A Woman's Vision of Transcendence: A New Interpretation of the Works of Sarah Orne Jewett." Massachusetts Review: A Quarterly of Literature, the Arts and Public Affairs 21 (1980): 365-80. 

    A central concern in Jewett's work issues, therefore, from her intimate awareness of the limited emotional and social condition of women; most of her stories deal with women's efforts to transcend their condition. One may identify several ways that Jewett's women do cope, the ways in which the theme of transcendence is handled.


[129] Westbrook , Perry. D.  Acres of Flint: Sarah Orne Jewett and Her Contemporaries. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1981.  Revision of the 1951 book, with a new title.

[130] Faderman, Lillian.  Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love between Women from the Renaissance to the Present.  New York: William Morrow, 1981. 186, 197-203, 213.

This classic cultural history draws on a rich variety of sources -- from the writings of Casanova and Henry James to Ladies Home Journal and Adrienne Rich, along with trial records, love letters, pornography and more to explore 500 years of friendship and love between women. Lillian Faderman sheds new light on shifting theories of female sexuality and the changing status of women over the centuries. Surpassing the Love of Men demonstrates how nascent feminist values have always played a role in women's passions for one another and in men's reactions to them, from revulsion to ridicule to admiration.  Description from  In the passages specified, Faderman discusses the relationship between Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields.

[131] Watanabe, Kazuko. "Dunnet Landing no Sekai: Jewett no The Country of the Pointed Firs." Yamakawa Kōzō Kyōju Taikan Kinen Ronbunshū. Toyonaka: N.p., 1981. 511-524.

[132] Mayer, Charles W. "'The Only Rose': A Central Jewett Story." Colby Library Quarterly 17.1 (Mar. 1981): 26-33.
Such approaches, invaluable when showing how a sense of the past was crucial to the success of her regional pictures, seldom make allowances for her highly developed sense of the destructive or debilitating powers of the past over those who live for it or in it and are unable, as a result, to live vitally in the present. Nor do they always recognize how surely she knew that, although the past is dead, the memory of it is not, and may enrich life by helping us to seal the bond between generations and make commitments of the heart. This vision of the past, dependent on Jewett's appreciation of the act of living, is important in The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) and in the chapters added after her death. The same vision, too, is very evident in the decade of achievement leading up to that book when nearly all of her finest stories were written. It is illustrated best, perhaps, by "The Only Rose" (1894), one of the last things published in that culminating decade.

[133] Nagel, James. "Sarah Orne Jewett Writes to Hamlin Garland." New England Quarterly  54.3 (Sept. 1981): 416-23.      

Examines a brief correspondence between Jewett and Garland, having only Jewett's letters as evidence.

[134] Erisman, Fred. "Literature and Place: Varieties of Regional Experience." Journal of Regional Cultures 1.2 (Fall-Winter 1981): 144-153.

A fruitful source for the study of the multi-leveled influence of place is regional literature….[which] focusing as it does upon a limited geographic area, deals with that life within the context of both time and place, so that the reader comes away with a  heightened appreciation of the effect of setting upon action.  Different areas perceive in different ways, and in those differences is valuable information for the historian.  The manner in which these perceptions differ and the ways in which they can be of use to the historian are handily illustrated by a group of works spanning roughly seventy years and dealing with three of the several regions of the United States: Sarah Orne Jewett's stories of rural Maine )1896-1910; Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men (1946) and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), both of which deal with the South during the 1930s; and Owen Wister's Virginian (1902) and A. B. Guthrie's Arfive (1972), which tell of the West of Wyoming and Montana.

[135] Hirsh, John C.  "The Non-Narrative Structure of The Country of the Pointed Firs." American Literary Realism 14.2 (Autumn 1981): 286-288.

Jewett has carefully allotted an identical number of chapter[s] to certain incidents, and alternated between the Todds and the outsiders. The tension in the novel arises not from a continuous narrative, but from this double movement. For while the chapters concerned with the Todds delineate a growing awareness of the depth and warmth of familial attachments, those which treat the other inhabitants, whom I have called the outsiders because of their isolation from the close world of Dunnet Landing, create an opposite impression.   


[136] Chase, Mary Ellen, ed. The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories. Introduction by Marjorie Pryse. New York, NY: Norton, 1982.
The world of Dunnett Landing is, above all else, a world in which women learn to belong again. They cease to be foreigners. They meet, in Mrs. Todd and Mrs. Blackett, living examples of what women might once have been and might again become. In portraying a world in which most of the men have left, are dead, or have become silent, Jewett reveals a world of women, every bit as ancient and unchanged as the world of the self-contained old fishermen, but a world of which only the memory has been lost. Pointed Firs reminds us that there still exists a country—and a world—where the vision of women is not only vital, but can be shared.

[137] Westbrook, Perry.  The New England Town in Fact and Fiction.  Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1982. 187-93.

The author examines the institution and mystique of the New England town as it has impinged upon and molded the American imagination for two hundred years through the works of such writers as Thoreau, Dickinson, Cheever, and Updike.  Google Books description.   

[138] Bader, Juli. "The Dissolving Vision: Realism in Jewett, Freeman, and Gilman." American Realism: New Essays. ed. Eric J. Sundquist. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1982. 176-198.     

[139] Nagel, Gwen L. "Sarah Orne Jewett." American Realists and Naturalists. ed. Donald Pizer and Earl N. Harbert. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1982. 326-37. Dictionary of Literary Biography 12.

[140] Tarr, Rodger and Carol Anita Clayton. "'Carlyle in America': An Unpublished Short Story by Sarah Orne Jewett." American Literature: A Journal of Literary History, Criticism, and Bibliography 54.1 (Mar. 1982): 101-15.   

… Jewett had carefully worked out Carlyle's secretive visit to America and the repercussions it had upon the intellectual climate of Boston.  Aside from the obvious humor of the situation, especially Carlyle's confrontations with the abolitionists and evangelicals …, the detailed descriptions of Emerson and Thoreau are especially noteworthy.  Jewett became a pilgrim in her own story, an uneasy interloper whose narrative cleverness allows the reader easy passage to nineteenth-century Boston.

[141] Held, George. "Heart to Heart with Nature: Ways of Looking at 'A White Heron'." Colby Library Quarterly 18.1 (Mar. 1982): 55-65.
     Reprinted in Nagel, Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett.

Though " A White Heron" has been among Sarah Orne Jewett's most admired stories since its publication in 1886, its richness and strength may appear even greater today in light of a feminist perspective. This tale of nine-year-old Sylvia's encounter with a young male ornithologist reverberates with meaning for such issues as the socialization of girls, the balance of power between the sexes, and the need for a woman to be true to her nature. In the heroine's conflict over revealing the heron to the young man, the story also concerns the need for mankind to resist the erosion of our integrity with the natural world.

[142] Folsom, Marcia McClintock. "'Tact Is a Kind of Mind-Reading': Empathic Style in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Colby Library Quarterly 18.1 (Mar. 1982): 66-78. 
    Reprinted in Nagel, Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett.

This capacity to anticipate and grasp another's feelings which the narrator values in Mrs. Blackett is exactly what distinguishes her own style and approach to Dunnet Landing. Mind-reading requires intelligent curiosity, mental activity, specific knowledge; sympathy depends on thinking as well as feeling. "Self-forgetfulness" allows the narrator freedom to enter other lives even as it denies her full fictional presence in the book.  

[143] Pryse, Marjorie. "Women 'at Sea': Feminist Realism in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'The Foreigner'." American Literary Realism 15.2 (Autumn 1982): 244-252.
    Reprinted in Nagel, Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett.

With the understanding that criticism itself often functions as hindsight, an occasion for a culture to revise its evaluation of a writer and to confess that we know the characters in a writer's world (just as we know ourselves) better than we once did, I take this opportunity to redress the neglect we have accorded one of Jewett's finest stories and to place it within a context of the growing body of criticism which finds in the fictions of women writers what Warner Berthoff has been the first—and only—critic of this Jewett story to describe as "peculiarly American" resonances.  In giving the reader Jewett's revision, a second comprehensive "view," of Mrs. Todd, "The Foreigner" effectively offers an introduction to The Country of the Pointed Firs and to Jewett's finest work.

[144] Portales, Marco A. "History of a Text: Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." New England Quarterly  55.4 (Dec. 1982): 586-92.
Since 1925, most students of American literature have been reading a text of The Country of the Pointed Firs that Sarah Orne Jewett apparently did not authorize. The first, 1896 edition of Pointed Firs was published without three sketches that were added to the editions of the book following Jewett's death in 1909. "A Dunnet Shepherdess" and "William's Wedding," Warner Berthoff noted, were first added after "The Backward View" (the last sketch in the 1896 text) in a 1910 edition copyrighted by Mary R. Jewett, Jewett's elder sister and life-long companion. These two sketches followed by "The Queen's Twin" were then placed before "The Backward View" in the Visitors Edition of 1919, published, like the previous other versions of the book, by Houghton Mifflin. Six years later, in preparing the Mayflower Edition, a two-volume compilation of Jewett's best work, Willa Cather not only included these three sketches in Pointed Firs, too, but she went a step further and reversed the order of "William's Wedding" and "The Queen's Twin." Since then, most editions have continued, almost all without comment, to publish Pointed Firs with "A Dunnet Shepherdess," "The Queen's Twin," and "William's Wedding" silently nestled between the first twenty chapters and "The Backward View."
       Barring the unlikely discovery of a Jewett directive, it now seems impossible to state definitely on what grounds, and on whose authority, the three sketches were added to Pointed Firs.  

[145] Atkinson, Michael. "The Necessary Extravagance of Sarah Orne Jewett: Voices of Authority in 'A White Heron'." Studies in Short Fiction 19.1 (Winter 1982): 71-74.
"A White Heron" seems a simple story of simple people, in a simple time. Seems. But if we look more closely, we see that Jewett has used diverse and unusual devices to give this much anthologized story the satisfying impact which puts us so at rest at its conclusion. In the next to last scene, for example, she uses authorial voice and privilege in genuinely extravagant ways: a tree's thoughts are reported and given weight, and the author not only urgently whispers counsel to the main character but later exhorts the very landscape and seasons of the year in pantheistic prayer. But these departures from "common sense" seem perfectly natural to us as we read the story, because they contribute so directly to the effect of the tale, the sense of which is a little uncommon. In fact, the work demands these extravagances. 


[146] Eppard, Philip B. "Local Colorists: Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, and Mary N. Murfree." American Women Writers: Bibliographical Essays. ed. Maurice Duke, Jackson R. Bryer, and M. Thomas Inge. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1983. 21-46.    

[147] Smith, Gayle L. "The Language of Transcendence in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Colby Library Quarterly 19.1 (Mar. 1983): 37-44.
    Reprinted in Nagel, Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett.

While virtually every modern critic of Sara Orne Jewett's work is moved to comment on the close connection she depicts between man and nature, few have investigated just how this connection is forged in her language and how it informs the overall effectiveness of her fiction. In "A White Heron" it is especially clear that his connection is but part of a larger, truly transcendental vision uniting man not only with green nature but with animal life as well, the past with the present, and one human sensibility with another.  

[148] Bailey, Jennifer. "Female Nature and the Nature of the Female: A Re-Vision of Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Revue Française d'Etudes Américaines 8.17 (May 1983): 283-294.
This feminist textual reading of Jewett's novel demonstrates, I think, how she partakes of and then re-invents dominant literary structures. Domestic reality is conjoined with a timeless ideal realm; selfhood is both prosaic and archetypal; it unifies with a primal nature that is not abstract and ubiquitous like Emerson's, nor does it eschew community in the manner of Thoreau. Selfhood, in this context is located quite literally, in a no man's land.

[149] Crumpacker, Laurie. "The Art of the Healer: Women in the Fiction of Sarah Orne Jewett." Colby Library Quarterly 19.3 (Sept. 1983): 155-166.
In 1884 Sarah Orne Jewett described the life of a female doctor as both "blessed" and "useful." She added that doctors and other healers should be "fitted by nature with a power of insight" into the human spirit and also a "God-given" talent for discovering and using proper remedies. Throughout her later works, from 1884 to 1900, Jewett was frequently preoccupied with the question of what is true healing and who is gifted with the talent of caring for other human beings, whether healthy or ill.

[150] Ammons, Elizabeth. "Going in Circles: The Female Geography of Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs." Studies in the Literary Imagination 16.2 (Fall 1983): 83-92. 
 Jewett's structure in The Country of the Pointed Firs is, in contrast, webbed, net-worked. Instead of being linear, it is nuclear: the narrative moves out from one base to a given point and back again, out to another point, and back again, out again, back again, and so forth, like arteries on a spider's web. Instead of building to an asymmetric height, it collects weight at the middle: the most highly charged experience of the book, the visit to Green Island, comes at the center of the book (in the eighth through eleventh of twenty-one chapters), not toward the end. And instead of being relationally exclusive, it is inclusive and accumulative: relationships do not vie with but complement each other. The narrator does not go through a series of people; she adds new friendships onto her life multidirectionally.

[151] Donovan, Josephine.  "Sarah Orne Jewett and the World of the Mothers." New England Local Color Literature: A Women's Tradition, by Josephine Donovan.  New York: Frederick Ungar, 1983. 99-118.

A critical study of 19th century women writers of New England, (orig. pub. 1983) evaluates the originality of the group that included Harriet Beecher Stowe, Annie Fields, Rose Terry Cooke, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary E. Wilkins [Freeman].  Google Books description.

[152] Donovan, Josephine.  "Annie Adams Fields and her Network of Influence." New England Local Color Literature: A Women's Tradition. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1983. 38-49.

A critical study of 19th century women writers of New England, (orig. pub. 1983) evaluates the originality of the group that included Harriet Beecher Stowe, Annie Fields, Rose Terry Cooke, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary E. Wilkins [Freeman].  Google Books description.


[153] Patnode, Lynne M. "The Compensations of Solitude in the Work of Emily Dickinson and Sarah Orne Jewett." Colby Library Quarterly 19.4 (Dec. 1983): 206-214.

     Probably the most comprehensive creation of a world populated by solitary, sometimes anguished, but always triumphant women is Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs. Jewett's gallery of valiant widows and spinsters portrays the many possible choices for the woman isolated from a powerful masculine world. Most of these characters represent attitudes which are adopted, at one time or another, by a persona, that "supposed person" of Dickinson's poetry which, in her lyric style, comes dangerously close to revealing the poet herself. In their exploration of loss, loneliness and compensation, Jewett and Dickinson often reach the same conclusions about female spiritual survival in an uncompromising social environment.


[154] Roman, Judith. "A Closer Look at the Jewett-Fields Relationship." Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett. ed. Gwen L. Nagel.  Boston: Hall, 1984. 119-134.

 A closer look at the lesser known member of this couple, Annie Fields, and a careful reading of the Jewett-Fields correspondence, reveals a complex relationship in which there was an easy exchange of roles that fostered both freedom and security for the two women. A reading of two of Jewett's works, the short story "Tom's Husband" and The Country of the Pointed Firs, shows how Jewett used her life with Fields, or what she learned from it, to create some of her most interesting fictional relationships.

[155] Nagle, Gwen L., ed. & intro. Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett. Boston: Hall, 1984.        

[156] Ammons, Elizabeth. "Jewett's Witches." Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett. ed. Gwen L. Nagel. Boston: Hall, 1984. 165-184.

 In Jewett woman's power as a healer and her connection to the spirit-world, traditionally the province of witchcraft, correspond: witches and healing go together. That conviction, as I explain in this essay, was basic to her lifelong interest in the relation between women and the occult.

[157] Cary, Richard. "The Literary Rubrics of Sarah Orne Jewett." Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett. ed. Gwen L. Nagel. Boston: Hall, 1984. 198-211. 
The object of this essay is to identify the main routes Jewett followed and the touchstones she picked up along the way to this enviable high station. Mindfully skirting the quicksands of psychobiography, I propose herewith that the most potent influence on her sensibility was hereditarian, and that its mate and abettor was her community, natural and human. From this improportionable mix of race and place she derived elements of amplitude and balance that fetched her through ignorance to excellence.

[158] Eppard, Philip B. "The Lost Stories by Sarah Orne Jewett: 'A Player Queen' and 'Three Friends'." Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett. ed. Gwen L. Nagel. Boston: Hall, 1984. 225-248.
Our knowledge of the extent of Sarah Orne Jewett's publishing activities is still incomplete. American short story writers in the late nineteenth century had an extremely large number of outlets for the products of their pens. Although Jewett naturally favored the high prestige monthlies such as the Atlantic and Harper's, she was clearly not above submitting her work to lesser publications. Here are two such stories, "A Player Queen" and "Three Friends," recently discovered in obscure and short-lived periodicals. Although the stories are not major works, they are not without some interest for the ways in which they show Jewett handling certain familiar themes in her fiction.        

[159] Johns, Barbara A. "'Mateless and Appealing': Growing into Spinsterhood in Sarah Orne Jewett." Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett. ed. Gwen L. Nagel. Boston: Hall, 1984. 147-165.

In particular, the truth Jewett tells through her New England old maids is that women need not be trapped by the popular fictions of either wifehood or spinsterhood. On one level, by having her spinsters craft productive, rich, self-affirming lives for themselves, Jewett gently subverts the cultural piety that women's fulfillment depended on the presence of men. On another level, her old maids resist the conventional image of the spinster: they are not angular, excessively plain, or "sharp-set"; they do not wear black dresses or keep their hair tied up in neat buns; they are not housebound or possessed of a rage for order; they are neither cruel witches nor pitifully weak, childish figures. Rather, most of Jewett's spinsters are both "mateless" and "appealing" because they are able to find emotional satisfaction and integrity in nature, in each other, in their homes, and in a female tradition of productive work. At the same time, Jewett recognized that single women can become grotesque, but they become so not when they adventure beyond the broad, common path (spinsters do this by definition), but when they fail to explore the boundaries of their own freedom. In Jewett, the growth into true spinsterhood and the growth into true adulthood are synonymous: both are lifelong tasks whose rewards transcend the limited expectations inherent in the phrase "merely a New England old maid."

[160] Donovan, Josephine. "Sarah Orne Jewett's Critical Theory: Notes toward a Feminine Literary Mode." Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett. ed. Gwen L. Nagel. Boston: Hall, 1984. 212-225. 
Two central problems of the scholarship on Sarah Orne Jewett have been whether she is a realist and how to explain the "plotless" structure of her short stories and such longer works as Deephaven and The Country of the Pointed Firs. An examination of Jewett's critical theory sheds considerable light on these problems, even thought Jewett never formally articulated her critical ideas; they are found scattered through her correspondence, mainly in the form of advice to such younger writers as Willa Cather, John Thaxter, and Andress S. Floyd. Comments she made on works she was reading and on her own work appear primarily in letters to Annie Adams Fields. Early letters to editors and early diary notations, still unpublished, are further sources of her critical theory.

[161] Nail, Rebecca Wall. "'Where Every Prospect Pleases': Sarah Orne Jewett, South Berwick, and the Importance of Place." Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett. ed. Gwen L. Nagel. Boston: Hall, 1984. 185-198.

Jewett herself faced the choice of the place she would belong, whether to South Berwick, the beloved but limited country town, or to Boston, the cosmopolitan city. Unlike most who made this choice she was able to find a compromise, but her experience made her aware of the importance place has for human beings, and her remarks to Cather that her sketches began "when an old house and an old woman came together in her brain with a click" suggests that she used this insight in the creation of her fiction. The skillfully depicted interaction of setting and character that provides much of the interest of Jewett's work is thus more than a technique; it is, instead, the matrix from which her art begins.

[162] Renza, Louis A. "A White Heron" and the Question of Minor Literature. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1984.    

Sarah Orne Jewett has generally been dismissed as a New England regionalist writer and the author of one minor classic. In this critical tour de force, Louis A. Renza, using Jewett and her short story "A White Heron" as his starting point, offers a far-reaching, theoretical interpretation of "minor" literature—its meaning, function, and capacity as a tool of literary resistance. In the process he provides a fresh view of contemporary criticism and its preoccupations, and a new sense of how much has been distorted, homogenized, and repressed in American literary history.


[163] Masteller, Jean Carwile. "The Women Doctors of Howells, Phelps, and Jewett: The Conflict of Marriage and Career." Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett. ed. Gwen L. Nagel. Boston: Hall, 1984. 135-147. 
Howells' Dr. Breen's Practice was published in 1881, Phelps' Doctor Zay was issued in book form in 1882, and Jewett's A Country Doctor followed in 1884. . . .        But for Howells, Phelps, and Jewett, the choice and the problems were central. Is the woman strong enough to be a doctor? Can she combine her career with a marriage? If she must choose between marriage or career, which will she choose? Despite the similarity of their subject matter, Howells, Phelps, and Jewett each offer a different solution to the woman doctor facing the conflict between marriage and career.

[164] Mack, Tom. "A Note on Biblical Analogues in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'Miss Tempy's Watchers'." American Literary Realism
17.2 (Autumn 1984): 225-227.
[N]o one has actually demonstrated how Sarah Orne Jewett's gentle faith is operative in matters of plot and character development. This article hopes to redress that deficiency by exploring the parallels between Christ's ministry and resurrection and those of Miss Tempy Dent in Jewett's often-anthologized tale "Miss Tempy's Watchers.

[165] Nagel, Gwen Lindberg. "Sarah Orne Jewet: A Reference Guide: An Update." American Literary Realism 17.2 (Autumn 1984): 228-263.

There are no startling changes in the direction of Jewett scholarship. Feminist issues have predominated in the last few years, with critics exploring both Jewett's works and biography. The Country of the Pointed Firs and "A White Heron" persist in attracting the most critical commentary; the latter work was even the subject of a film produced by Jane Morrison. And Jewett continues to find readers in Japan.


[166] Toth, Susan Allen. "'The Rarest and Most Peculiar Grape': Versions of the New England Woman in Nineteenth-Century Local Color Literature." Regionalism and the Female Imagination: A Collection of Essays. ed. Emily Toth. New York: Human Sciences, 1985. 15-28.

Among fictional representations of this new woman, New England local color literature presents a fascinating composite of the various directions in which women seemed to be heading. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rose Terry Cooke, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Alice Brown are among the best guides to follow down these bumpy paths.     

[167] Griffith Jr., Kelley. "Sylvia as Hero in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Colby Library Quarterly 21.1 (Mar. 1985): 22-27.
Sylvia, the protagonist, becomes a traditional hero who makes a quest after a much desired object. The Atlantic editors probably did not know what to make of this work of fantasy from a normally down to earth local color realist. But the story is much more than a simple fantasy. For Jewett, it seems to have been a personal "myth" that expressed her own experience and the experience of other women in the nineteenth century who had similar gifts, aspirations, and choices. And for modern readers its implications are even broader. 

[168] Johnson, Robert. "Jewett's 'The Flight of Betsy Lane'." Explicator 43.3 (Spring 1985): 22.     

Jewett's point seems to be that "women's work," properly executed, and in the hands of someone as bright as Betsy, is not to be dismissed as wholly ineffectual.  In Betsy Lane's case, it is the source of her freedom.

[169] Ackmann, Martha. "Legacy Guide to American Women Writers' Homes (II)." Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 2.1 (Spring 1985): 10-12.
Although many of the original Jewett furnishings have been lost, the house does contain period pieces including an assortment of the Jewetts' furniture, photographs, and paintings. Jewett's own small bedroom is still as it was at her death in 1909, displaying many personal belongings includ ing her writing desk, bed, and riding crops. During her lifetime, the home's large library was a room of special significance for Jewett. Here she read so voraciously that, writing to Annie Fields, she observed that she felt as if she had been "overeating" with her head. All of the family's books were be queathed to Harvard, her nephew and heir's alma mater. However, one thou sand of those books are loaned to the house and provide some idea of the scope of the Jewett library.

[170] Piacentino, Edward J. "Local Color and Beyond: The Artistic Dimension of Sarah Orne Jewett's 'The Foreigner'." Colby Library Quarterly 21.2 (June 1985): 92-98.
Sarah Orne Jewett's "The Foreigner," published initially in the Atlantic Monthly in August of 1900, is the best of four additional stories she wrote focusing on the Dunnet Landing subject matter, a subject matter she first treated extensively in The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), her best crafted and most highly acclaimed work of fiction. Even though the story uses Dunnet Landing as its principal setting and the plot, in part, involves several characters, Almira Todd and her mother, Mrs. Blackett, previously prominently featured in The Country of the Pointed Firs, "The Foreigner" has been given only general and cursory notice by Jewett's critics.    

[171] Carson, Richard G. "Nature and Circles of Initiation in The Country of the Pointed Firs." Colby Library Quarterly 21.3 (Sept. 1985): 154-160. 
In The Country of the Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett presents one such summer visitor. The narrator of the book travels to the Maine coastal town of Dunnet Landing and, in a most profound sense, discovers her "rustic antecedents." As she studies the curious folk of the village and the natural surroundings they inhabit, the narrator achieves a "mystical communion" of sorts with the tiny community's present secrets and mythological past. The natural surroundings she observes unfold into five distinct circular enclosures which the narrator, carefully guided, must pass through to reach the "secret center" she desires to transcend. Like Theresa of Avila's seven mansions of the soul, these five circles provide The Country of the Pointed Firs with a subtle organization as they show the reader the progress of Jewett's pilgrim into the sacred sanctuaries of Dunnet Landing.  

[172] Boyum, Joy G. and Ann R. Shapiro.  Introduction.  A Country Doctor. By Sarah Orne Jewett.  New York: New American Library, 1986. vii-xix.
     It is evident that in A Country Doctor Jewett has much to say about what was known in her time as "the woman question," just as it's equally evident that because of this, her work has considerable social and historical interest. But A Country Doctor is more than mere sociological document, more than mere polemic, more even than only disguised autobiography. It is first and foremost a work of literary art and one that can serve as effective introduction to the very particular art of Sarah Orne Jerwett.

[173] Baum, Rosalie Murphy. "The Parkman Dexter Howe Library: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Sarah Orne Jewett Collection." The Parkman Dexter Howe Library, Part III. ed. Sidney Ives. Gainesville: U of Florida, 1986.

"The Howe Library contains all except two of the works Jewett published during her lifetime -- her history of the Normans and the collection entitled Strangers and Wayfarers -- in addition to her contributions to The Atlantic Monthly."
Contains: 40 printed titles; 1 manuscript.  The catalogue provides detailed descriptions of each item.

[174] Donovan, Josephine. "Nan Prince and the Golden Apples." Colby Library Quarterly 22.1 (Mar. 1986): 17-27.
  The motif of the golden apples provides us with a useful thread by which to reanalyze this important Jewett novel, which expresses so directly the central theme of late nineteenth-century women's literature: whether to leave the mother's garden, the female world of love and ritual, for the new realms of patriarchal knowledge that are opening up to women, thanks largely to the gains made by the nineteenth-century women's rights movement.      

[175] Sutherland, John H. "Papers from the Jewett Conference at Westbrook College." Colby Library Quarterly 22.1 (Mar. 1986): Special Issue.

[176] Singley, Carol J. "Reaching Lonely Heights: Sarah Orne Jewett, Emily Dickinson, and Female Initiation." Colby Library Quarterly 22.1 (Mar. 1986): 75-82.
Although Sarah Orne Jewett and Emily Dickinson were contemporaries, they exerted little influence on each other's writing. Jewett could not have read Emily Dickinson's poetry before the Higginson-Todd edition in 1890, by which time she had published all of her work except The Tory Lover. Dickinson's most creative period (1858-65) was over before Jewett published her first short story in 1868. Yet in the work of these two writers we see portrayals of individual female growth that are strikingly similar. Both writers make use of initiation motifs in ways that are distinct from those commonly found in nineteenth-century literature. Their impulses toward self-definition were executed with a radical, quietly rebellious spirit that challenges our conceptions of initiation literature and female growth in the nineteenth century. Jewett and Dickinson, both innovators, posit a type of female initiation that may lead us to modify our definition of that literary subgenre.

[177] Mobley, Marilyn E. "Rituals of Flight and Return: The Ironic Journeys of Sarah Orne Jewett's Female Characters." Colby Library Quarterly 22.1 (Mar. 1986): 36-42.

The most significant of these patterns -- the flight from one's environment to the outside world and the inevitable return home -- has the mythic characteristics of ritual and reveals Jewett's complex response to this region, to its women and to her own role as a regional writer. Although inevitable, the return is not a resignation to limitations or failure, but a heroic expression of the desire to remain connected to one's cultural roots; thus, like flight, it is an act of self-affirmation.

[178] Hohmann, Marti. "Sarah Orne Jewett to Lillian M. Munger: Twenty-Three Letters." Colby Library Quarterly 22.1 (Mar. 1986): 28-35. 

As critics eager to restore Jewett to more syllabi and reading lists, eager for her to transcend the limits of the label "local colorist" or "regionalist writer" in the minds of our colleagues, we'd like to overlook Betty Leicester and the philosophy of writing that lies behind the Munger letters. There is a tendency in modern criticism to sneer at the efforts of the nineteenth-century artist who would use her fiction to improve and instruct. When William Dean Howells insists that "people now call a spade an agricultural implement," and that "a faithful record of life ... could be made to the exclusion of guilty love and all its circumstances and consequences," we can't help but smile a little at the distance between our respective critical theories. Reading the Munger letters with the balance of Jewett's correspondence, though, has made me think about how seriously we fail to serve her with that smile. I cannot argue strongly enough for an edition of collected letters that will draw on the resources available to us in Charlottesville, in Boston, in Cambridge, in Waterville, in Portland, in St. Louis, and in other libraries across the country. Until we present this Jewett -- the author of Betty Leicester, the patient guide to women such as Lillian Munger, the woman of a fairly conventional Victorian morality bent on passing it on to others -- we struggle with an incomplete understanding of her critical method and enjoy only a fragmented glimpse of the artist we celebrate today as "a writer for our time." 

[179] Ammons, Elizabeth. "The Shape of Violence in Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Colby Library Quarterly 22.1 (Mar. 1986): 6-16.
Specifically, after talking briefly about "A White Heron" as creation myth and as historical commentary, I will be arguing three things: that "A White Heron" is a story about resistance to heterosexuality; that the form Jewett adopts to express her idea is, quite appropriately, the fairy tale; and that despite her protests to the contrary Jewett shows in this fiction her ability to create conventional "plot"—that is, to use inherited masculine narrative shape—when she needs to.    

[180] Nagel, Gwen L. "'This Prim Corner of Land Where She Was Queen': Sarah Orne Jewett's New England Gardens." Colby Library Quarterly 22.1 (Mar. 1986): 43-62.
The role of the garden in Local Colorism in general is related to a traditionally emphatic sense of place. Although Jewett used such things as manners, dialect, folklore, and local history to portray the character of her region, she also presents in her works an accurate articulation of the New England landscape, including the gardens. One only has to peruse the essays in Country By-ways to discover that Jewett sees and experiences intensely the natural landscape of Maine. Her letters as well as her poetry suggest her intimate knowledge of the flora of her region and the role that gardens played in her life.

[181] Sherman, Sarah W. "Victorians and the Matriarchal Mythology: A Source for Mrs. Todd." Colby Library Quarterly 22.1 (Mar. 1986): 63-74.
In his essay, "The Poet," Emerson asserted that the seer is also a sayer, but women did not always possess names for what they saw . . . and sometimes the ability to say determines the ability to see. At the heart of The Country of the Pointed Firs is the narrator's recognition of Mrs. Todd, her growing reverence for the other woman's power and numinous presence. Over and over the narrator names that power, that presence. She describes Mrs. Todd as a "sibyl," as a "priestess of experience," as a "personification of some force of Nature." She compares her to Antigone, to Medea, and finally to "the ancient deities" themselves. Many critics have pointed out a mythic quality in Mrs. Todd. What I would like to do here is to trace some sources of this characterization, and to show how Sarah Orne Jewett's vision of her countrywoman drew on a highly self-conscious literary, even religious tradition: a tradition which gave Jewett the words to say it.

[182] Donovan, Josephine. "Silence or Capitulation: Prepatriarchal 'Mothers' Gardens' in Jewett and Freeman." Studies in Short Fiction 23.1 (Winter 1986): 43-48.

[During the 19th century, the] generation gap between mothers and daughters was… one of the most acute in history.  As seen in the fiction of Sarah Orne Jewett and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, the mothers held to the traditional roles…. The daughters … were being lured out of this traditional feminine sanctuary, which was typically associated in Jewett's and Freeman's fiction with nature and with rural life….  Sarah Orne Jewett's "A White Heron" (1886) and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's "Evelina's Garden" (1896) symbolize significant aspects of this extraordinary transition.


[183] O'Brien, Sharon. "A Gift from Heart to Heart." Willa Cather: The Emerging Voice.  New York: Oxford UP, 1987. 334-363.
A close look at the personal and artistic relationship between Jewett and Willa Cather.

[184] Boone, Joseph Allen. Tradition counter tradition : love and the form of fiction. Chicago : U of Chicago P, 1987.       

Boone's well-argued and thorough study traces two complementary paths in the history of British and American fiction from its beginnings to the present. The first, concerned with the "stranglehold of literary convention" associated with the romantic love plot, explores the complex ways in which ideology is translated into narrative structures that both encode and perpetuate it. Boone examines three basic narrative patterns: courtship narratives (Pamela and Pride and Prejudice); seduction plots (Clarissa and Tess of the d'Urbervilles); and domestic dramas (Amelia and A Modern Instance). The second path uncovers "a simultaneous counter-narrative" that either explodes the ideal of romantic wedlock from within by following the events into "marital stalemate and impasse" or finds alternatives to marriage for the single protagonist. [From a review by Jean E. Kennard, Modern Fiction Studies 34 (Winter 1988): 743.]

[185] Terrie, Philip G. "Local Color and a Mythologized Past: The Rituals of Memory in The Country of the Pointed Firs." Colby Library Quarterly 23.1 (Mar. 1987): 16-25.

While Martin and others have been correct in asserting the two-sided nature of Jewett's narrative of Dunnet Landing, The Country of the Pointed Firs is far more than an intelligent account of a rural village with some unhappy inhabitants. Besides being a town where we encounter a mythologized and then debunked past, Dunnet Landing is a place where  memories of the past often define present reality, where the translation of memory into myth is the predominant social activity. In this way it refers to regional writing itself, especially that which obsessively idealizes or relives the past to the point of perverting the realities of the present.  Jewett does not imply that there is anything inherently wrong with revising  and reinterpreting the past. For both individuals and nations memories of the past provide important psychological sustenance. She does suggest, however, that there are different ways to use the past.  

[186] Goheen, Cynthia J. "Rebirth of the Seafarer: Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Colby Library Quarterly 23.3 (Sept. 1987): 154-164.
Thus we are given a hint that the narrative to follow is in some way about a process of growth which the narrator undergoes. In the course of this process, what was perceived "at first sight" changes.
       Indeed, the growth of true friendship between the narrator and various inhabitants of the Dunnet region provides the storyline. And yet the novel is more than a story of friendship. "When one really knows a village like this and its surroundings, it is like becoming acquainted with a single person" (p. 1). Not only is there a similarity between the way one knows a place "like this" and the way one knows a person, there is also a vital connection between person and place. Somehow region and inhabitants embody one another.   


[187] Anderson, David D. "Sarah Orne Jewett." American Short-Story Writers before 1880. ed. Bobby Ellen Kimbel and William E. Grant. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1988. 208-31.     

[492] Magowan, Robin. "Jewett." Narcissus and Orpheus: Pastoral in Sand, Fromentin, Jewett, Alain-Fournier, and Dinesen. New York: Garland, 1988, pp. 68-90.

Country of the Pointed Firs has long been recognized as Sarah Orne Jewett's masterpiece, and that of the American local color movement.... [T]he reader may well inquire, hearing Jewett's "limits" thus referred to [by F. O. Matthiessen], in what way do these limits reinforce, or even determine the style Jewett achieved in these sketches?  By viewing her achievement biographically as a certain maturing ... Matthiessen overlooks the central question: what did Jewett in Pointed Firs achieve that she had been unable to previously?  And did it involve any new elements not previously present in her work?

[188] Christensen, Sandra O. "Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs: People and Trees." Encyclia: The Journal of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters 65 (1988): 112-17.
This novel is called The Country of the Pointed Firs because of the people, not the trees, although the people become like the trees, giving off warmth and acceptance. Nature does not accept a person because of money or status, and neither do the people of Dunnet Landing. Jewett carefully matches trees and people to give a beautiful description of the Country of the Pointed Firs, but she also forces us to see the value of trees and people together in earth's great ecosystem.     

[189] Burns, Chester R.  "Fictional Doctors and the Evolution of Medical Ethics in the United States, 1875-1900." Literature and Medicine 7 (1988): 39-55. 

    Jewett's Nan Prince, unmarried, can be a good physician. Phelps's Dr. Zay, married, can be one also. As novelists of the 1880s, Sarah Jewett and Elizabeth Phelps rejected the demeaning characteristics attributed to Grace Breen by Howells and the disvalues implied in the silence of the codes. They portrayed women as competent doctors.  

[190] Romines, Ann. "Domestic Troubles." Colby Library Quarterly 24.1 (Mar. 1988): 50-60.
However, the ultimate antidote to indiscriminate acceptance or rejection of the seductive, perpetuating powers of domestic literature is offered by that literature itself. The finest domestic fiction by American women offers a rich and complex scrutiny of what housekeeping has meant and can mean to women. It perpetuates a revealing, troubling, and liberating meditation on the making and keeping of shelters. In The Country of the Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett makes such a meditation the center of an American masterpiece.

[191] Bell, Pearl K. "Kate Chopin and Sarah Orne Jewett." Partisan Review 55.2 (Spring 1988): 238-253.

In the waning years of the nineteenth century, two remarkable women, exact contemporaries living at the opposite ends of the immense American diversity, dissented from the cultural shibboleths and popular taste of their time in the way they wrote about the life they knew best. Kate Chopin (1851-1904) was consciously defiant of the decencies and sexual prudery of the 1890’s, and sought to uncover the sensuality and discontent of women which the stultifying conventions of the age refused to acknowledge. Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) preferred to look back rather than forward to the emancipated future envisioned by Mrs. Chopin; her sensibility and values were deeply anchored in the past of a rural New England that was rapidly disappearing in her lifetime, but she, too, shunned the idealized versions of actuality which a culture dedicated to gentility demanded of its literature.

[192] Zagarell, Sandra A. "Narrative of Community: The Identification of a Genre." Signs 13.3 (Spring 1988): 498-527.       
Reprinted in Narratives of Community: Women's Short Story Sequences. ed. Roxanne Harde. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, 2007. 449-479.

       I call this tradition the narrative of community. Works belonging to this "department of literature," like Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, take as their subject the life of a community (life in "its everyday aspects") and portray the minute and quite ordinary processes through which the community maintains itself as an entity. The self exists here as part of the interdependent network of the community rather than as an individualistic unit. Writers of narrative of community give literary expression to a community they imagine to have characterized the preindustrial era. Narrative of community thus represents a coherent response to the social, economic, cultural, and demographic changes caused by industrialism, urbanization, and the spread of capitalism.

[193] Holstein, Michael. "Writing as a Healing Art in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Studies in American Fiction 16.1 (Spring 1988): 39-49.
These versions of Jewett, however, betray a misguided equation of regionalism if not with provinciality, then at least with particularity. Jewett was not regional in this sense, a point F. 0. Matthiessen makes when he observes that "a quiet humanism, a devoted tenacity to broadly representative qualities, were what distinguished . . . Sarah Jewett from most of the other local colorists." Jewett strove to be accurate to the "individual and local" and at the same time to depict what Wordsworth terms the "general and operative" truth that characterizes true poetry. But to imply that Jewett is "minor" because she does not take up large issues or sufficiently grapple with her art or that her writing is qualified because it is rooted in regionalist themes, contexts, and characters ignores her transcending and generalizing imagination and her struggle to evolve an original style carefully fashioned to carry the freight of universal themes.

[486] Miller, Elise. Jewett's "The Country of the Pointed Firs: The Realism of the Local Colorists." American Literary Realism 20.2 (Winter 1988): 3-20.

Local color was a distinctly feminine tradition. But because of Jewett's, [Constance Fenimore] Woolson's, and [Mary Wilkins] Freeman's conscious and unconscious accommodation of their culture's fantasies about women, local color was also a distinctly realistic tradition. By redefining the categories usually used to denigrate or dismiss their art, the local colorists revealed that the feminine sensibility was realistic not despite but because of its passivity, its formlessness, its receptivity to environment. The realism of local color thus cannot be distinguished from the feminine sensibility that shaped and inspired it.


[194] Sherman, Sarah Way. Sarah Orne Jewett, an American Persephone. Hanover: U of New Hampshire, 1989.
At the last, Jewett approached her literary materials much as Temperance Dent approached her one quince tree. As Mrs. Crowe remembers, Tempy would "go out in the spring and tend to it, and look at it so pleasant, and kind of expect the old thorny thing into bloomin'." Sarah Ann Binson recalls that Miss Tempy "was just the same with folks. . . . And she'd never git more'n a little apernful o' quinces, but she'd have every mite o' goodness out o' those, and set the glasses up onto the best-room closet shelf, so pleased." While New England was a very thorny old tree, Jewett's secret, as Edward Garnett intuited, was this maternal power of transformation: the nurturance, release, and preservation of a sweetness at the core. Jewett's art offers a vision of transcendence so embedded in everyday use, so incarnate in the particular, that our sense of its power comes upon us suddenly, rising out of its ground, then just as suddenly fading back. She is kin to the anonymous artist who reproduced the Bowden homestead in gingerbread. Like that "renowned  essay in cookery," sacramentally shared at the feast's end, Jewett's landscapes, houses, and people fall into ruins at her story's end. But if Jewett's fiction carefully acknowledges death's power, it also affirms love's endurance. Like Miss Tempy's watchers, Jewett's readers may find these preserves still sweet though their maker lie in "ceaseless rosemary." And that, of course is the mystery.

[195] D'Amico, Diane. "The Significance of the Dunnet Shepherdess to Jewett's Matriarchal Christianity." University of Dayton Review 20.1 (Summer 1989): 33-38.
Pursuing this concept of a women's religion, what Donovan calls "a sort of matriarchal Christianity " ("A Woman's Vision" 367), I would like to demonstrate the function of Esther Hight, a patient and self-sacrificing daughter.  In "A Dunnet Shepherdess," a sketch published three years after Pointed Firs, Jewett depicts Esther as a type of female Good Shepherd. In the last Dunnet Landing sketch, "William's Wedding," posthumously published, Esther is portrayed as the second Christ-Mother of Green Island, able to succeed the aging Mrs. Blackett as the community's spiritual mother.

[196] Subbaraman, Sivagami. "Rites of Passage: Narratorial Plurality as Structure in Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." The Centennial Review 33.1 (Winter 1989): 60-74.
Jewett's narratorial structure is, surely, much more literary, subtle, craftsmanlike and self-conscious then either she would admit, or critics would have us believe; surely the Pointed Firs is readable as a conscious attempt to counter certain narratorial problems, rather than a simple-minded solution by a writer for whom plot was not a strong suit. I suggest that the embedded narratives have a multiple and dynamic function a propos the main narrative: they mirror, reflect, and refract the narrator's sea-change which involves a change in perception and perspective.
       I would argue that each one of these tellers of tales (who make up the embedded narratives) is but a splitting of the main narratorial voice, and that they constitute vicarious possibilities of existence, escape, and temptation to the narrator as she voyages inland and out to the open sea. Each is a tale of solitude, escape, discovery, and compromise, and in and through their telling and sharing the narrator works out her own voyage of discovery. They constitute the givens of the narrator's perception that must change in her rites of passage seaward. Thus, as this essay argues, each relationship signifies a watermark in the narrator's sea-change as she moves from the "affectional realm of women" into open waters—with each interstice making the next possible. Her passage then becomes a succession of brief, amazing moments of insight and knowledge, that spin out at the breaking open of the shell that encloses her understanding.

[197] Fryer, Judith. "What Goes on in the Ladies Room? Sarah Orne Jewett, Annie Fields, and Their Community of Women." Massachusetts Review: A Quarterly of Literature, the Arts and Public Affairs 30.4 (Winter 1989): 610-628.   
Annie Fields and Sarah Orne Jewett entered, in 1881, into what Lillian Faderman and Josephine Donovan have called a "Boston marriage." ... The union between Fields and Jewett lasted for nearly three decades, during which they lived together part of each year, corresponded daily when apart, travelled together, shared interests in books and people, provided each other with a sense of love and security, and became a kind of "ark," to use James's word, for a nexus of women writers.
   To understand this friendship, it is necessary to place it in its late nineteenth-century context. 

[430] Roman, Judith A.  Annie Adams Fields: The Spirit of Charles Street.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.

        Chapters 8-12 deal substantively with the relationship between Jewett and Annie Fields.

[198] Romines, Ann. "The Hermit's Parish: Jeanne Le Ber and Cather's Legacy from Jewett."  Cather Studies 1 (1990): 147-58.
Sarah Orne Jewett, in the famous 1908 letter that was so [en]duringly important to Cather, had enjoined her younger friend that "to work in silence and with all one's heart . . . is the writer's lot; he is the only artist who must be a solitary, and yet needs the widest outlook upon the world" (Letters 250). As Cather left journalism and began to write about her "own country," she was putting into practice Jewett's uncompromising advice. But it took longer for her to come to terms with Jewett's most stringent condition: that the writer, while amassing worldly experience and knowledge, must also, in some essential sense "be a solitary." Cather's personal difficulties with that condition may explain some of her apparently abrupt alternations in domicile and life style. And in the fiction of the 1920s she began to turn to worldly characters, all artists in some sense, who found themselves contending with solitude: Marian Forrester, Godfrey St. Peter, Myra Henshawe. In the mid-1920s, she also edited a collection of Jewett's fiction, for which she wrote a critical preface. Thus, when she began Shadows on the Rock in 1928, Jewett's work as well as her advice were relatively fresh in Cather's mind. Shadows, published in 1931 as her tenth novel, is the first in which she attempts a central examination of domestic ritual as practiced by a female protagonist, twelve-year-old Cécile Auclair, in seventeenth-century Quebec. This book is Willa Cather's first full exploration of a world that was central to Jewett's fiction: the parish of conventional women.        

[199] Fisher, Marilyn M. "Community and Earthly Salvation: Christian Intimations within the Setting of Jewett's Pointed Firs." Literature and Belief 10 (1990): 67-77.

Jewett's subtle treatment of setting—its transcendent meaning, its Chrisitan significance—shapes Pointed Firs' central theme of community and earthly salvation. Biblical images in the setting elicit Christian associations. They transform Dunnett Landing into a world infused with religious meaning, and establish the coastal settlement as an ideal Christian community where the inhabitants, bonded by shared spiritual values, regularly renew their communal ties and practice a collective ministry of works. These activities suggest that the members of the community are seeking earthly salvation.
       Jewett does give her world a dark side, which corresponds to the real world in its examples of human suffering. Joanna Todd, Captain Littlepage, Mrs. Begg, Abby Martin, Elijah Tilley, the pale girl, and others represent religious fanaticism, the clouded mind, painful death, eccentricity, pervasive loneliness, and terminal disease. But in Jewett's Christian world, Mrs. Todd and others minister to the sufferers. Thus Jewett demonstrates the Christian community in action: its inhabitants are seeking salvation by providing a ministry of love and care for others.  

[200] Ziff, Larzer. "Literature and Politics: 1884." American Literature, Culture, and Ideology: Essays in Memory of Henry Nash Smith. ed. Beverly R. Voloshin. New York: Peter Lang, 1990. 219-233.      

When we look back at [Helen Hunt Jackson's] Ramona, [John Hay's] The Bread-Winners, and [Jewett's] A Country Doctor… and try to picture where the literary culture would have gone from them without the presence of Huckleberry Finn, we can only say that our literature today would not resemble what it is; that America would be a different place.  The life of the nation in the succeeding century was far more powerfully shaped by a novel published in 1884 than it was by the outcome of the great presidential election of that year.

[201]  Colquitt, Clare. "Motherlove in Two Narratives of Community: Winesburg, Ohio and The Country of the Pointed Firs." New Essays on Winesburg, Ohio. ed. John W. Crowley. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990. 73-97.

Where Jewett's Country celebrates the universality -- and necessity -- of thinking back through our mothers, of recognizing even in departure healing community ties, Anderson's Winesburg ends with no such backward view commemorating the artist's enlarged understanding of his place within the natural or social order.

[202] Church, Joseph. "Absent Mothers and Anxious Daughters: Facing Ambivalence in Jewett's 'The Foreigner'." Essays in Literature 17.1 (Spring 1990): 52-68.
But from a psychoanalytical standpoint Jewett's narrative indicates another possible motive for desiring the return of the mother. The desire may well be an effect of mourning. When Mrs. Tolland sees the ghost, she has just suffered the death of her second husband, and not long before that, the deaths of her first husband, all her children, and her parents. According to the psychoanalytical theorist Melanie Klein, mourning involves a difficult coming to terms with guilt and anxiety that result from conscious but mostly unconscious feelings of hostility toward the lost loved one. Using Klein's theories, we can begin to understand how an anxious mourner such as Mrs. Tolland might desire the presence of the absent one in order to end her anxiety.         

[203] Maik, Thomas A. "Reclaiming Paradise: Role Reversal as Liberation in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'Tom's Husband'." Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 7.1 (Spring 1990): 23-37.

Between the two poles Donovan identifies—one, the independent, usually single, and self-reliant female of the earlier works and the other, the supportive and regenerative matriarchal community of her later works—Jewett offers a transitional pattern with "Tom's Husband," a little-known short story that appeared in the Atlantic in 1882. In aspects of theme but particularly in terms of character, "Tom's Husband" recalls Jewett's more widely known and popular novel, A Country Doctor (1884), and one of the earliest novels about a female physician, Dr. Zay, (1882), by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps. Both works deal with single women entering a traditionally male occupation.

[204] Rohloff, Jean. "'A Quicker Signal': Women and Language in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'The Country of the Pointed Firs'." South Atlantic Review 55.2 (May 1990): 33-46.
I, too, find the "doubleness" of The Country of the Pointed Firs compelling and the narrator's role crucial. Even more to the point, I, like Bader, see the narrator as strategically poised between the women and men in the novel. However, in offering the following reading, which proposes that the narrative can be seen as a model of female-centered psycholinguistic myth, I see the narrator as representing women's ambivalent position in terms of gendering and language within that myth. The basis for this reading comes from two sources: the alternative to the Freudian account of psychosexual development offered by Nancy Chodorow in The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender and the psycholinguistic application of that theory proposed by Margaret Homans in Bearing the Word: Language and Female Experience in Nineteenth-Century Women's Writing.

[317] Marchand, Mary V. "Cross Talk: Edith Wharton and the New England Women Regionalists." Women's Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 30.3 (June 2001): 369-95.

In Ethan Frome and almost all of her first-person narratives, [Edith] Wharton wrote as a man.  Unlike Jewett, who would advise Willa Cather that "when a woman writes in a man's character, -- it must always, I believe be something [of] a masquerade" ([Fields] Letters 246), Wharton apparently felt one could successfully mask one's presence in a text as male.

[205] Kadota, Linda K. "Woman, Linguistics, and 'A White Heron'." Chu-Shikoku Studies in American Literature 26 (June 1990): 21-26.
The title I have chosen for this essay may indicate that I have three separate subjects to discuss; however, they are all closely related in that male linguistic assumptions and female linguistic restrictions are clearly evident and excellently portrayed in Sarah Orne Jewett's story, "A White Heron," first published in the 1870's. Although fiction may be an idealization and condensation of what occurs in actual conversation, it offers us a glimpse of psychological realities that go beyond the conversation—realities such as sex-role expectations. Since an understanding of the role the character Sylvia was expected to play depends upon an understanding of status relationships among males and females, my essay will examine in detail Jewett's use, and ultimate reversal of normal male female verbal patterns as the major element of plot and character development in the story.  

[206] Zanger, Jules. "'Young Goodman Brown' and 'A White Heron': Correspondences and Illuminations." Papers on Language and Literature: A Journal for Scholars and Critics of Language and Literature 26.3 (Summer 1990): 346-357.

A comparison of these stories reveals a series of shared elements: themes, settings, narrative sequences, images, and dynamics….  [It is] possible to read "A White Heron" as a personal variation upon the Hawthorne story:  in the variations and transformations performed on "Young Goodman Brown" Jewett's particular vision is most fully revealed; at the same time, Jewett's story helps illuminate certain obscure elements in "Young Goodman Brown."

[207] Westra, Helen. "Age and Life's Great Prospects' in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Colby Quarterly 26.3 (Sept. 1990): 161-170.
Like the sentinel evergreens pointing skyward, Jewett's fiction points to matters of the spirit, and one of the most carefully developed subjects in The Country of the Pointed Firs is old age as a vital stage in the continuum of life. Jewett's  celebration of age appears not only in her positively presented elderly characters but also in the setting, events, and details she selects to underscore advancing years as a stage of life that can offer "the sense of liberty in time and space which  great prospects always give."

[208] Oakes, Karen. "'All That Lay Deepest in Her Heart': Reflections on Jewett, Gender, and Genre." Colby Quarterly 26.3 (Sept. 1990): 152-160.
Jewett makes me worry about the convenience of genre, like the convenience of all boundaries. Such boundaries--whether those of ethnicity, gender, class, race, age, or sexual orientation--are like convenience food. Not only do they exclude texts, writers, voices, nuances which can't be packaged into a shiny container, they also reify texts, privileging product (interpretation) over process; they enable us to remove literary voices from their social and historical contexts and place them in the stainless steel refrigeration unit of formalist literary criticism, deskinned and deboned. On a still larger scale, these boundaries enable the compartmentalization of the academy into those convenient and competing units, departments. In contrast, Jewett imagines for us the interconnection, multiplicity, and intangibility of knowledge. As one of my students once said after reading The Country of the Pointed Firs, "I can't tell you what this book means to me."  

[209] Durso, Patricia Keefe. "Jewett's 'Pointed Firs': An 'Index Finger' to Character Development and Unity of Vision in The Country of the Pointed Firs." Colby Quarterly 26.3 (Sept. 1990): 171-181.

 In an 1897 review of The Country of the Pointed Firs, Alice Brown wrote: " ... the title is exacting, prophetic.... For it takes hold of the very centre of things. The pointed firs have their roots in the ground of national being; they are index fingers to the stars." This reviewer points to one very important aspect of Sarah Orne Jewett's book--its title and the pointed firs in it. For the firs are not just "index fingers to the stars," they are also index fingers which point to the growth and development of the narrator in The Country of the Pointed Firs. Following these "index fingers," one may also observe that the passages which bring the firs directly into the narrator's sight contain language which imposes a certain unity of vision on the narrator, the characters, and the reader. This vision, when guided by the image of the firs, attains an interpretive distance--endowing the narrator, her companions, and the reader with the ability to see, as it were, from the very tops of the tall, pointed firs themselves.   

[210] Heller, Terry. "The Rhetoric of Communion in Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Colby Quarterly 26.3 (Sept. 1990): 182-194.
"A White Heron" is a great story in part because Jewett found a rhetoric that could overcome the pretenses of separation between narrator, reader, and character that are characteristic of realistic fiction. Like the great American transcendentalists, Thoreau in Walden and Whitman in "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," she sought and found means of using language to stimulate something like visionary experience in the reader.        

[211] Pennell, Melissa McFarland. "A New Spiritual Biography: Domesticity and Sorority in the Fiction of Sarah Orne Jewett." Studies in American Fiction 18.2 (Autumn 1990): 193-206.

In Jewett's fiction, sorority, the bonding together of women in an acknowledged sisterhood, becomes a manifestation of spiritual union and fulfillment, and it allows Jewett to shift the means of establishing the identity of women away from their relationships with men and patriarchal institutions and center it instead in ties to other women and to a female heritage and tradition.    


[212] Amy Kaplan, "Nation, Region, and Empire," The Columbia History of the American Novel. ed. Emory Elliott (New York: Columbia UP, 1991. 240-156.
In many cases the "region" first appears as the projection of a desire for a space outside of history, untouched by change, but this projection is always challenged by a counter story and a prior history. Jewett's narrator is disappointed to find her hoped-for retreat at Mrs. Todd's too noisy, too cluttered with a complex society and social intercourse, so she retreats farther to the isolated schoolhouse to write. But she ends up abandoning her writing in order to adopt the role of listener and participant, which cedes to the local the authority to define itself through its vernacular history, conversation, natural rhythms.Yet this movement from outsider to insider oversimplifies Jewett's complex narrative, which charts a struggle between the inhabitants, who have a highly particularized cosmopolitan view of their own history based on international trade, and the narrator, whose desire it is to turn Dunnet's Landing into a place both outside history and at the origin of human history. She sees eternal childhood in the aging inhabitants, in whose lives she finds vestiges of ancient Greek myths and Norman conquerors. In these premodern analogies she can posit a common inheritance, more ennobling than the alternative view of the countryside she momentarily grasps as "a narrow set of circumstances [that] had caged a fine able character and held it captive." Yet to view the rural life as entrapping, as do Garland and Freeman, is not simply more realistic than idealizing it; such a response could also be seen as the projection of the outsider's desire to view his or her life as less confining, more sophisticated and "adult." Tourists, after all, do go home.

[213] Mobley, Marilyn Sanders. Folk Roots and Mythic Wings in Sarah Orne Jewett and Toni Morrison: The Cultural Function of Narrative. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1991.    

At the center of Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs is the story of Mrs. Almira Todd, an herbalist and conjure woman. Her expertise with various herbs brings her in contact with village neighbors who come to her, rather than to the village doctor, for physical and spiritual healing. Not only is Mrs. Todd central to the life of her village, but the stories she shares with the narrator acquaint her with the region and transform the narrator's naïve perceptions of country people and country life. Described as a "simple-hearted woman" in whom "life was very strong . . . as if some force of nature was personified in her . . . and gave her cousinship to the ancient dieties," Mrs. Todd represents the female archetypal hero among Jewett's fictional characters.

[214] Leder, Priscilla. "Living Ghosts and Women's Religion in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." ed. Carpenter, Lynette and Wendy Kolmar.  Haunting the House of Fiction: Feminist Perspectives on Ghost Stories by American Women.  Knoxville, U of Tennessee P, 1991. 26-40.
Like other realist writers of her generation and the succeeding one, Sarah Orne Jewett found ghosts to be a fascinating part of real experience and a suitable subject for fiction. Their presence in her fiction, although rare, provides occasions for contrasting male and female perspectives on the nature of reality and for developing a religious vision that is uniquely feminine.

[215] Donovan, Josephine. "The Pattern of Birds and Beasts: Willa Cather and Women's Art." Writing the Woman Artist: Essays on Poetics, Politics, and Portraiture. ed. Suzanne W. Jones. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1991. 81-95.

Unlike [Edith] Wharton, Cather did not reject the nineteenth-century New England local color women writers, Jewett and Freeman, as sentimentalist.  On the contrary, she turned to Jewett as a literary mentor, and the Jewett influence was decisive in moving Cather away from the masculinist identification manifest in her early years, toward a re-vision of women's artistic traditions and toward a more feminine conception of artistic practice.

[216] Loges, Max. "A Collection of Great Souls: Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Mount Olive Review 5 (Spring 1991): 43-47.
It is not uncommon for authors to include as a part of their fiction, a depiction of private faith. Almost any undergraduate English major can reel off the tenets of the 'Code Hero' in Hemingway's work. Sarah Orne Jewett likewise weaves the tenets of a private religious faith into the pages of The Country of the Pointed Firs. For example, Almira Todd, in a conversation she has with the narrator, draws an analogy between plants and people. She observes as she describes a hardy fir growing out of a rock: "Every such tree has gat its own livin' spring; there's folks made to match them" (92).  Mrs. Todd is later described by the narrator: "Life was very strong in her, as if some force of nature were personified in this simple-hearted woman and gave her cousinship to the ancient deities . . . She was a great soul" (199). There are a number of  'great souls' in The Country of the Pointed Firs. Questions, however, come to the reader's mind:  What makes these souls great? What are the sources of the spring of inspiration that feeds them? It would appear that life has carefully blended the forces of nature, social interaction, memory, and love in such a way as to create a truly unique and worthy individual.

[217] Orr, Elaine, "Reading Negotiation and Negotiated Reading: A Practice with/in 'A White Heron' and 'The Revolt of Mother'." CEA Critic: An Official Journal of the College English Association 53.3 (Spring-Summer 1991): 49-65.      

In viewing Sarah Orne Jewett's and Mary Wilkins Freeman's stories as "compromising" texts, I am suggesting that each discloses a pattern of negotiation characterized by feeling and interconnection rather than reasoning and antagonistic calculation.  Learned … in moments of flux when boundaries are crossed, momentarily dissolved, and re-created as flexible and porous networks, the pattern is multipositional and open-ended.  Reading Jewett's "A White Heron" and Freeman's "The Revolt of 'Mother'" … I will suggest that the texts explore and revise concepts of negotiation and compromise, concomitantly performing ontological shifts that have implications for feminist theory.

[218] Moreno, Karen K. "'A White Heron': Sylvia's Lonely Journey." Connecticut Review 13.1 (Spring 1991): 81-85.
In her short story "A White Heron," Sarah Orne Jewett presents the quest myth in feminist terms. Since Sylvia, the protagonist, lives with her grandmother in the country, her bond with nature and the maternal is continually being formed and strengthened. Until the boy stranger, an ornithologist, enters the woods near her grandmother's farm, Sylvia's life is virtually devoid of male contact. (One previous encounter she had with a boy, "the great red-faced boy" of the city, was frightening to her.) But the young Sylvia is lured by the prospect of love and trusts the boy stranger. In an attempt to please him, she journeys alone into darkness in search of the elusive white heron, a symbol of spiritual transcendence. As Sylvia has no desire to dominate or destroy, she ultimately chooses to join nature instead of man. Through this journey, which may be seen as psychological, physical, and spiritual, Sylvia becomes one with the realm that the ornithologist endeavors to master through aggression but cannot.

[219] Church, Joseph. "Fathers, Daughters, Slaves: The Haunted Scene of Writing in Jewett's 'In Dark New England Days'." American Transcendental Quarterly 5.3 (Sept. 1991): 205-24.
Although it has received little critical attention, Sarah Orne Jewett's "In Dark New England Days" (1890) seems pertinent to current theoretical interest in representation, particularly as it involves gender and, surprisingly, race. Like several of Jewett's narratives, most notable her novel A Country Doctor (1884), "In Dark New England Days" examines a woman's struggle to represent herself in a decidedly patriarchal world, and concentrates its inquiry on the relationship between daughters and fathers. Unlike the novel, however, "In Dark New England Days" not only emphasizes an antagonistic relation between daughter and father but also probes the culture's underlying representational field—the discursive practice within culture (in Lacanian terminology, the Symbolic register or "Law of the Father")—that establishes relations between genders and, many would argue, helps main patriarchal supremacy.

[220] Wittenberg, Judith Bryant. "Re-Vision and Transformation: Deephaven and Cranford." Colby Quarterly 27.3 (Sept. 1991): 121-31.
A consideration of this transformative operation at work and of "intersections,"  specific intertextual resonances, is of particular interest in a text such as Sarah Orne Jewett's Deephaven, published in 1877. The first book in a significant but critically marginalized oeuvre, Deephaven has multiple connections to prior and subsequent texts that are rendered more complex by issues of gender, genre, and canon. While it is impossible in a short space to explore the entire range of these, an assessment of Deephaven in terms of the ways in which it absorbs and revises one important antecedent work--Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford--assists in our understanding of both the dynamism of intertextuality and the nature of Jewett's originality.     

[221] Wittenberg, Judith Bryant. "Deephaven: Sarah Orne Jewett's Exploratory Metafiction." Studies in American Fiction 19.2 (Autumn 1991): 153-63.
She modestly referred to it as "little Deephaven" and deprecated it in her preface to the 1893 edition, noting the work's "youthfulness," admitting it contained "sentences which make her feel as if she were the grandmother of the author of 'Deephaven' and her heroines," and inviting readers to "smile with her" at its "callow" quality. Nevertheless, although critics have overlooked these authorial judgments and have paid tribute to the work's strengths, many have found it of interest primarily as a precursor to Jewett's masterpiece, The Country of the Pointed Firs. However, what also makes Deephaven significant is its status as a metafiction, a work in which the author overtly considers various aspects of her narrative craft, exploring such basic artistic issues as the posture of the writer vis-à-vis her material and the psychosocial function of narrative. As Michael Holstein points out, the first issue, that of writerly "stance," lies behind what he calls the "secondary narrative" in Jewett's culminating 1896 work, yet in the much earlier Deephaven one can see her contemplating not only this but several other metafictive topics. In this regard, Jewett's inaugural work has special implications for all of her subsequent fiction; at the same time, it anticipates important twentieth-century American novels that also investigate the process of fictional creation.      


[401] Ammons, Elizabeth.  "Finding Form: Narrative Geography and The Country of the Pointed Firs."  In Conflicting Stories: American Women Writers at the Turn into the Twentieth Century.  New York: Oxford, 1992.  44-58. 
Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs is so matrifocal that it is easy to forget that it takes its shape from a myth about a daughter living not in one but in two worlds, one mother-defined, the other male-defined; and in fact it is in the second of these worlds that Persephone, like Jewett's woman writer, spends most of the year. Mysterious, dark, ruled by a sexually powerful male, it is a world that Persephone gladly escapes each June to join her mother, Demeter, in a region of light and renewal. Some versions of the myth stress masculine violence and brutality as the cause of the daughter's separation from the mother. They show Persephone raped and forcibly dragged off to the male-dominant world where she spends the winter of each year. Others emphasize the erotic appeal of the world to which she goes. Persephone falls in love with Pluto and comes within only a few pomegranate seeds of total and permanent exile from Demeter before realizing how profoundly she needs to stay connected to her mother. Whichever version Jewett had in mind (and it is possible, of course, that she had both), she constructed her fable of mother-daughter yearning and reunion in The Country of the Pointed Firs on a well-known myth about the daughter's permanent separation from her mother's world. The daughter might go back for a while, but she would never live there again.

[222] Roman, Margaret.  Sarah Orne Jewett: Reconstructing Gender.  Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1992.
In her book Sarah Orne Jewett: Reconstructing Gender, Margaret Roman argues that one theme colors almost every short story and novel by the turn-of–the-century American author: each person, regardless of sex, must break free of the restrictive, polar-opposite norms of behavior traditionally assigned to men and women by a patriarchal society. That society, as seen from Jewett's perspective during the late Victorian era, was one in which a competitive, active man dominates a passive, emotional woman. Frequently referring to Jewett's own New England upbringing at the hands of an unusually progressive father, Roman demonstrates how the writer, through her personal quest for freedom and through the various characters she created, strove to eliminate the necessity for rigid and narrowly defined male-female roles and relationships.  

[223] Romines, Ann. The Home Plot: Women, Writing & Domestic Ritual. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1992.

 Such passages reveal that Jewett's concerns with domestic ritual and with a writer's relation to her materials are not two discrete themes of the book and later stories, as it may at first appear. Instead, they are parts of the same process. By discovering domestic cadences in the only possible way—by sharing them—the narrator has achieved Jewett's goal, to write "la vie ordinaire" with the authority of "histoire." By this process, Jewett subverts the limited dimensions of the "cold page," the little page of patriarchy to which the old captain confined himself. Instead, her pages become a living, livable text, inhabited by women and men who are fluent in domestic culture.   

[224] Levy, Helen F.  Fiction of the Home Place.  Oxford: UP of Mississippi, 1992.

In the growing social organization of the later nineteenth-century America, impersonal rules enforced be faceless, distant administrators increasingly controlled the individual; Sarah Orne Jewett detailed the effects of these changes on small New England towns during the final twenty years of the nineteenth century . . .
       As Jewett understood, the ideas and more of the city had changed small-town "rustic" New England irrevocably. The single human being now associated with strangers, as customers or competitors in the same occupation, instead of daily encountering a wide range of familiar members of a tightly bounded social order.

[225] Fetterley, Judith and Marjorie Pryse, ed.  American Women Regionalists: 1850-1910.  New York: Norton, 1992, 185-253.
In most of her work, and in each of the sketches included in this volume, Jewett demonstrates the importance of empathy to the development of the regional character and perspective.  

[226] Oakes, Karen. “’Colossal in Sheet-Lead’: The Native American and Piscataqua-Region Writers.” ed. Sarah L. Giffen and Kevin D. Murphy.  A Noble & Dignified Stream.  York, ME: Old York Historical Society, 1992. 165-176.
In contrast to [Aldrich], whose pioneer women seek to civilize a wild nature -- or Jewett, whose female characters finally accomplish an appropriation of that nature -- Thaxter accepts nature’s wildness and seems to locate a more brutal savagery in Euro-American gender relations.

[227] Sedgwick, Ellery. "Horace Scudder and Sarah Orne Jewett: Market Forces in Publishing in the 1890s." Ellery Sedgwick. American Periodicals: A Journal of History, Criticism, and Bibliography 2 (1992): 79-88. 
"Of Miss Jewett's numerous relationships with editors," Richard Cary notes, her relationship with Horace Scudder, editor-in-chief of Houghton Mifflin (1887-1901) and of the Atlantic Monthly (1890-98) "was the longest and most fruitful" (Letters 17). The personal relationship, which had been an important source of encouragement and advice early in Jewett's career, had become attenuated and strained by the time of Scudder's Atlantic editorship in the 1890s. But Scudder still represented a changing publishing market for literature during the nineties to which Jewett, like Henry James and other major writers, responded and adapted. In fact, during this decade, Scudder apparently initiated and influenced the form of Jewett's best work, The Country of the Pointed Firs, through an experiment in replacing the long serial novel, which seemed to be losing favor among magazine readers, with more short stories and shorter serials. Unfortunately, by promoting the new vogue of historical romance toward the end of the decade, he also directly influenced the writing of the work generally acknowledged to be her worst, The Tory Lover.

[228] Huff, Randall. "Sarah Orne Jewett's Tolstoyan Stories." International Fiction Review 19.1 (1992): 23-27. 
In a letter of December 1888, the American writer Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) announced that a story of Tolstoy's was so exciting that she could not sleep until almost morning, for she "never felt the soul of Tolstoy's work until last night, something of it in Katia, but now I know what he means." Startled because she was "simply feeling the same kind of motive" while writing "The Gray Man," she claimed that a half dozen of her stories, including "Lady Ferry" and "Beyond the Tailgate," gave her the feeling that she was doing "something of what Tolstoy has been doing all along". Not only were the stories she indicated decidedly non-Tolstoyan, they were published between 1878 and 1886, years before she experienced Tolstoy's art in 1888. Her comments are nevertheless valuable in establishing the chronology of her reading and its impact on her subsequent work.

[480] Apthorp, Elaine Sargent. "Re-Visioning Captivity: Cather, Chopin, Jewett." Legacy 9.1 (1992):  1-22.

The present essay will explore the possibility that this poignantly present absence, this painful blank and gap to be filled by the sensitive reader, is an alternative practice of art, a creativity which is intersubjective, which dissolves boundaries in erotic fusion between self and other -- a kind of creativity which Lucy Gayheart [Cather] and Edna Pontellier [Chopin, The Awakening] struggle incoherently to express in an environment which has no language and offers no models for such a way of being. A model for such creativity did exist, however, in the work of Sarah Orne Jewett, the regional writer who so influenced Cather in what Sharon O'Brien defines as her transition from male identified to female-identified creativity.

[229] Kelchner, Heidi. "Unstable Narrative Voice in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Colby Quarterly 28.2 (June 1992): 85-92. 
 I believe that, indirectly, "A White Heron" says as much about narrative presence and disposition as it does about the themes of nature or female consciousness. However, I offer a different conclusion. I would like to attempt to show that narrative voice in the story is in constant flux, producing an instability that problematizes, if not undermines, the effect of a perceived advocacy for any thematic issue. I believe these incongruities also inhibit the story's rhetoric of "communion" or "transcendence" that others have suggested.        

[230] Eden, Ted. "A Jewett Pharmacopoeia." Colby Quarterly 28.3 (Sept. 1992): 140-43.

There are many other subtle ways Jewett uses references to herbs and flowers (or the symbolic connotations of their names) to set a mood, to communicate an insight, or to help her reader understand one of her Maine characters. To help readers understand these moments, I have compiled a dictionary (or, technically speaking, a "pharmacopeia") of all the herbs and flowers Jewett mentions in The Country of The Pointed Firs and her four other Dunnet Landing stories: "A Dunnet Shepherdess," "The Foreigner," "The Queen's Twin," and "William's Wedding." In the interest of helping readers unfamiliar with gardening, I have defined some herbs and flowers which many will already recognize.   

[231] Hobbs, Michael. "World beyond the Ice: Narrative Structure in The Country of the Pointed Firs." Studies in Short Fiction 29.1 (Winter 1992): 27-34.   

My intention here is to argue that Captain Littlepage does, in fact, provide a "satisfactory model" for the narrator. The captain's name does not suggest mediocrity or pettiness of vision; instead, Littlepage implies that the old man's tale reproduces, in ironic miniature, a unifying narrative structure for Jewett's work. Though Captain Littlepage's story is full of wild, unascertainable notions, somehow it manages to create an "air of truth" that the narrator recognizes.


[232] Tripathi, Vanashree. "Initiation Male/Female: Volitional Consciousness in Nineteenth Century American Fiction with Reference to Sara Orne Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Mark Twain and Nineteenth Century American Literature. ed. E. Nageswara Rao. Hyderabad: Amer. Studies Research Centre, 1993. 110-20. Seminar Proceedings Series, Hyderabad.    

     Section II will discover within the mythical-religious paradigms of a female child pervading the modes of innocence-initiation-experience and transcendence of corporeal concepts and ideas. A structuralist, archetypal and psychoanalytical reading intends to reveal that the story in a microcosmic form not only gives us a glimpse of the pattern of the nineteenth century American mystic imagination, but also draws the reader’s attention to its affinities with the quality of imagination in the English Romantic literature. The mode of perceptions of Hawthorne, Melville, Twain and James could not be recognized as a kind of displacement from a “supernatural to a natural frame of reference.” The archetypal problems, terminology and way of thinking about human nature and history are structured and reconstituted in their art. The bond of man with the cosmic forces, the nature of the life-force within, embody the experiences of the wood girl in “A White Heron.” In the sense M. H. Abrams implied, in Natural Supernaturalism, Jewett naturalizes the supernatural and humanizes the divine. The experience of Romantic mysticism could be seen as a corollary to the erotic mysticism that the teleological relations of the wood girl with nature describes. It is the experience of the erotic that means more than physical sexuality, it includes also a fully sensuous and predominantly aesthetic, pleasurable experience of reality, where life is not perceived as divided into subject and object, self and non-self, man and nature.

[233] Brodhead, Richard.  Cultures of Letters.  Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993.

Using a variety of historical sources, Richard H. Brodhead reconstructs the institutionalized literary worlds that coexisted in nineteenth-century America: the middle-class domestic culture of letters, the culture of mass-produced cheap reading, the militantly hierarchical high culture of post-emancipation black education. He describes how these socially structured worlds of writing shaped the terms of literary practice for writers like Stowe, Hawthorne, Fanny Fern, Louisa May Alcott, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Charles Chesnutt.  [From Google Books description.]

After "The Reading of Regions," one is not surprised to find Jewett rescued from her rescuers to be recreated as a supreme instance of literary privilege.  While it might seem hard to reconcile this notion of privilege with Brodhead's view of her as, in effect, an automatic writer who "by chance of birth" (p. 151) found "her lived world presented to her as a literary subject" (p. 152) at just the moment of writing, such contradictions are common to entrenched habits of thinking about gender.  Nor should we be surprised at finding Jewett figured as a tourist in her own hometown, determined through her art to carry "the good of the place out of the place" in the service of the imperialist and nativist projects of the postbellum American upper class (p. 148).  Brodhead's particular antipathy toward Jewett can perhaps be traced to his view that she marks a moment of "immense historical resonance: the moment when a publishing American woman author first claims the duty (hence the right) to take her art seriously, and to define her proper self as the maker of her art" (p. 169).  [From a contesting review by Judith Fetterley in Modern Philology 93 (1996) p. 399.]

[400] Silverthorne, Elizabeth.  Sarah Orne Jewett: A Writer's Life.  Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1993.
Sarah Orne Jewett explored the ethos of New England and preserved forever an important segment of its history along with the homely details of a vanished life, including patterns of speech, behavior, and thought. In her writing and in her life she exemplified qualities of simplicity, serenity, sincerity, and sympathy, along with a wise optimism. She was secure in her belief that after the long chill of winter, the warmth of spring will follow in the lives of men as in nature.

[234] Fetterley, Judith. "Reading Deephaven as a Lesbian Text." Sexual Practice, Textual Theory: Lesbian Cultural Criticism. ed. Susan J. Wolfe and Julia Penelope. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1993. 164-83.

In Sexual Practice, Textual Theory, Susan Wolfe and Julia Penelope point out the historical coincidence -- a coincidence which is, they suggest, no accident -- of poststructuralism with the emergence of identity politics: 'Just as women, lesbians, gay men, and racial minorities rose to challenge their marginalization and to define themselves as subjects, the white male intelligentsia declared that subjectivity was a fiction' (p. 8). Wolfe and Penelope suggest the vested interest present in that declaration: the insistent emphasis by Foucault, for example, on abstract and impersonal, discursive structures of power rather than on individual agency obscures the social and gendered realities of power relations between men and women. 'As Lesbians', they argue, 'we cannot allow our concern with the politics of sexuality under patriarchy to become absorbed in the study of mere textuality. Nor can we afford to allow privileged patriarchal discourse (of which poststructuralism is but a new variant) to erase the collective identity Lesbians have only recently begun to establish' (p. 5). Against the poststructuralist impossibility, indeed the undesirability, of saying T, Wolfe and Penelope pit the importance of saying 'we'.   [From a review by Caroline Gonda in Journal of Gender Studies 4 (1995), p. 238.]

Fetterley argues that exploring the characters and customs of Deephaven serves as “an acceptable narrative frame for the text of Helen and Kate’s relationship,” but the novel really “takes its shape from [Helen’s] desire for Kate and expresses the anxieties as well the pleasures attendant upon that desire”  [From Kelley, Lauren-Claire M. (2010) "The Mind-Body Split: Toward a Queer Temporality in Sarah Orne Jewett's Deephaven," Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Journal: Vol. 1, Article 12, p. 1.]

[484] Karpinski, Joanne B. "The Gothic Underpinnings of Realism in the Local Colorists' No Man's Land." Frontier Gothic: Terror and Wonder at the Frontier in American literature. ed. David Mogen, Scott P. Sanders, and Joanne B. Karpinski.  Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 1993. 140-155.

William Dean Howells praised the women writers of the Local Color school for their "solidity" and "honest observation."... [T]his essay will show that the Local Colorists also incorporated gothic motifs into their honestly observed depiction of the female-dominated communities of post-Civil War New England. These gothic elements expose the threat to female autonomy posed by male desire and by the gender-role constraints of nineteenth-century social order that translate such desire into power....  The possession of her own home as much as her professional skill enables Almira Todd [The Country of the Pointed Firs] to overcome the double loss of Captain Littlepage, and an island heritage enables Joanna Todd to undertake her confrontation with the Absolute and emerge as herself.

[235] Pryse, Marjorie. "Archives of Female Friendship and the 'Way' Jewett Wrote." New England Quarterly  66.1 (Mar. 1993): 47-66.
Sarah Orne Jewett's diaries, written between 1867 and 1879, as well as an unpublished holograph titled "Outgrown Friends," undated but apparently written during the same period, record the context within which Jewett first began to conceive of herself as a writer. Although the diaries are fragmentary and the essay unfinished, they show Jewett turning to writing initially as a way of exploring female friendship, then, in the process, discovering writing as her vocation.

[236] Church, Joseph. "Transgressive Daughters in Sarah Orne Jewett's Deephaven." Essays in Literature 20.2 (Fall 1993): 231-50.
If we allow that in Deephaven the young women engage psychologically archaic issues involving progenitors, then we should expect the narrative's involvement with oedipal configurations. Put simply here but elaborated below, the argument runs that a daughter's maturation typically involves a conflict with and provisional rejection of the mother (for some, it is claimed, based on their sense of having been deprived by way of the anatomical difference, cut off or castrated by her) and a consequent turn toward the father as an ally, toward a more or less fantasized union with him as the exclusive bearer of value and affection. It is pertinent, then, that Helen several times speaks fondly of her father (an officer at sea) but never mentions her mother. More convincing, if still appropriately disguised, is Kate's story of her relation with her youthful uncle.     

[237] Donovan, Josephine. "Jewett and Swedenborg." American Literature: A Journal of Literary History, Criticism, and Bibliography 65.4 (Dec. 1993): 731-50.

This article first traces new biographical information that documents Swedenborg's influence on the young Jewett and then explores the evolution of her symbolism from its didactic, overtly Swedenborgian form in Deephaven (1877) to the unique symbolist use of realism (or what she called "imaginative realism") in The Country of the Pointed Firs, where metonymy becomes metaphor.

[466] Bender, Bert.  "A Country Doctor." The Descent of Love: Darwin and the Theory of Sexual Selection in American Fiction.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996. 174-80.  Appeared originally as part of "Darwin and 'the natural history of doctresses': the Sex War between Howells, Phelps, Jewett, and James." Prospects  18 (1993): 81-120.

    The story of Nan Prince [A Country Doctor] ... traces her progress toward her goal of being a country doctor.  The final obstacle she must overcome is "the premeditated war which [is] waged against her" by a lover in league with members of her family who want her to marry; but the outcome of this struggle is never seriously in question.  Jewett emphasizes instead Nan's natural "variation" ....  Jewett is more subtle and less militant than Phelps [Doctor Zay] ... never mentioning Darwin or Wallace by name....  But she does appear to rest her case upon a Darwinian text -- not The Origin of Species or The Descent of Man (as had been the case with Howells [Dr. Breen]), or The Power of Movement in Plants (as with Phelps), but The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication (1868).


[399]  Blanchard, Paula. Sarah Orne Jewett: Her World and her Work.  New York: Addison-Wesley, 1994.
After the criticism of the last two decades, it is no longer possible to describe them merely as quaint depictions of rural folk whose way of life has become extinct. Nor is it possible to see them as disparate and accidental. Thematically Jewett's stories form a coherent whole, expressing concerns about spiritual alienation, social fragmentation, commercial exploitation, and the failure of the national memory that not only are still relevant but are increasingly so. In works from Deephaven on, she recalls us to a sense of community: not only the obvious kind of neighbor-helping-neighbor community but the larger family that includes all living things, as well the forebears who have shaped our society and the children who will inherit it. And her characterizations of strong women, old women, strong old woman are unique in American literature.

[238] Howard, June, ed.  New Essays on The Country of the Pointed Firs.  New York: Cambridge UP, 1994.    

The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett is one of the most important works of New England local color fiction. This collection of essays builds on feminist literary scholarship that affirms the value of Jewett's work, but goes beyond previously published studies by offering an analysis of how race, nationalism, and the literary marketplace shape her narrative. The volume constitutes a major rethinking of Jewett's contribution to American literature, and will be of interest to the fields of American literary studies, feminist cultural criticism, and American studies.  Google Books description.

[239] Howard, June.  "Introduction: Sarah Orne Jewett and the Traffic in Words." New Essays on The Country of the Pointed Firs. ed. June Howard. New York: Cambridge UP, 1994. 1-37. 

The book we examine here is not a timeless masterpiece. It is precisely because this is a moment when women reading as women are prominent in literary scholarship, and when the construction of racialized nationality has assumed a new significance and urgency in our thinking, that Jewett's work is more legible now than just a few years ago. The Country of the Pointed Firs appears today as fully the equal in craft and resonant substance of the novels to which Cather compared it and as one of the most rewardingly complex American narratives we have.

[240] Bell, Michael Davitt. "Gender and American Realism in The Country of the Pointed Fires." New Essays on The Country of the Pointed Firs. ed. June Howard. New York: Cambridge UP, 1994. 61-80.
Still, there are problems with classifying Jewett as a Howellsian realist—problems raised by her subject matter, her style, and perhaps above all (in spite of Howells's praise for women's stories) her gender, her status as a woman writer. These problems, quite closely interrelated, do not matter because of some inherent significance in the allocation of such labels as "realist." They matter, rather, because they point to issues and themes of considerable significance in The Country of the Pointed Firs. Reexamining the terms that have secured and sustained Jewett's place in the canon might help us understand why so many of her admirers have insisted on the supposedly diminutive dimensions of this place.

[241] Ammons, Elizabeth. “Material Culture, Empire, and Jewett’s CPF” New Essays on The Country of the Pointed Firs. ed. June Howard. New York: Cambridge UP, 1994. 81-99.
The fact is that Dunnet as represented in Jewett's text is built on the ruins of American Indian civilization (no live Indians appear in the book), and it is decorated by the trophies of empire: baskets from the Caribbean, tea from China, mugs from South America. All those tiny, tidy, white, fenced, tree-nailed, and wedged houses staring up and down the coast do articulate a vision of preindustrial matrifocal harmony, health, and happiness. But they also stand for white colonial settlement and dominance. When we take communion with Mrs. Todd and the narrator, we are swallowing not just the former but also the latter.

[242] Gillman, Susan. “Regionalism and Nationalism in Jewett’s CPF” New Essays on The Country of the Pointed Firs. ed. June Howard, New York: Cambridge UP, 1994. 101-117.
Jewett's local-color participates in the double-edged nostalgia characteristic of so much American literature of this period, devoted to enshrining the Civil War and the history of slavery in order to defuse their fratricidal energies and underwrite a new era of national reunion—and of new racial and ethnic divisions.

[243] Sandra Zagarell, "Country's Portrayal of Community and the Exclusion of Difference."  New Essays on The Country of the Pointed Firs. ed. June Howard, New York: Cambridge UP, 1994. 39-60.
The central concern of Country is the construction of community. And it seems to me impossible to understand what "community" in the book is without exploring the racial attitudes, nativism, and exclusionary impulses that inflect the narrative's graceful, appealing depiction of community.

[244] Bell, Michael Davitt, ed. Novels and Stories: Deephaven; A Country Doctor; The Country of the Pointed Firs; Dunnet Landing Stories; Selected Stories and Sketches. New York, NY: Library of America, 1994.

Here is the first collection to include all of her best fiction: all three novels and 28 funny, satirical, and poignant stories.  [From the back cover]

[245] Sawaya, Francesca. "Domesticity, Cultivation, and Vocation in Jane Addams and Sara Orne Jewett." Nineteenth-Century Literature 48.4 (Mar. 1994): 507-28. 
Adapted to her later book:  Modern Women, Modern work: Domesticity, Professionalism, and American Writing, 1890-1950.  (Penn, 2003).   In this essay, I will show how Jewett's notions about regional misunderstanding and her role as mediator are part of a progressive discourse about woman's labor.      

[246] Smith, George. "Jewett's Unspeakable Unspoken: Retracing the Female Body through The Country of the Pointed Firs." Modern Language Studies 24.2 (Spring 1994): 11-19.

If we look at the question of regionalism from an intertextual viewpoint, Sarah Orne Jewett comes out as one of the least heard and most radical voices in nineteenth-century American literature. This is to say that while Jewett articulates a covert feminist realism in a quaint Down East voice, her narrative representation of coastal Maine village life speaks also to big name nineteenth-century American novelists through a close dialogical exchange with their phallocentric fictions. Indeed, Jewett carries on several dialogues at once. Picking bones with Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville about the phallic claims of American romance, she argues at the same time with the 'chief exemplars' of the new realism that had replaced romance as the conventional discourse of American patriarchy.

[247] Strain, Margaret M. "'Characters … Worth Listening to': Dialogized Voices in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Colby Quarterly 30.2 (June 1994): 131-45.
I would argue that Bakhtin's notions of dialogism and heteroglossia suggest methods which not only establish Pointed Firs as a novel but also move us to a closer examination of the ways in which the dialogic confrontation located in competing characters' voices and within the language of a single character bring the psychical and physical realities constitutive of the Dunnet Landing community into sharp relief. I would like to pursue this latter point in more detail, investigating first the narrator's initial resistance to and gradual assimilation of the languages of the rural New England community. I will then show how Bakhtin's notion of heteroglossia operating within the languages of Captain Littlepage and Elijah Tilley reflects the refracted speech of absent characters. And finally, by suggesting that heteroglossia operates along with an encoded text, I would like to read examples of heteroglossia alongside a semiotic notion of text to expand the possibilities for refracted speech as they are realized by the narrator in the personas of Sarah Tilley and Joanna Todd.

[248] Fulton, Valerie. "Rewriting the Necessary Woman: Marriage and Professionalism in James, Jewett, and Phelps." The Henry James Review 15.3 (Fall 1994): 242-56.
 I will argue that the presumed aesthetic superiority of James's novels has given them a cultural authority that has served in turn to undermine the existence of other alternatives for nineteenth-century women, notably as these are inscribed within the narratives of women's fiction. In order to demonstrate this assumption, I will focus on two narrative alternatives to James's The Bostonians, a novel that reconstitutes the idea of "necessary" marriage by presenting marriage and professionalism as mutually exclusive options for women. By foregrounding James's characterization of the "lady doctor" and combining the successful professional status of this figure with the marriageability of the conventional nineteenth-century sentimental heroine, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps and Sarah Orne Jewett revise the root assumptions that inform James's examination of this "most salient . . . point in [nineteenth-century] social life"—"the situation of the women" and "the agitation on their behalf" (CN 20). Moreover, I suggest that their novels Doctor Zay and A Country Doctor have escaped critical attention precisely because the positive view of social change to which they subscribe works against received notions of canonicity, even in scholarship that presumes to challenge the traditional American literary canon.

[249] Welburn, Ron. "The Braided Rug, Pennyroyal, and the Pathos of Almira Todd: A Cultural Reading of The Country of the Pointed Firs." Journal of American Culture 17.4 (Winter 1994): 73-78.

The braided rug with its rings and the herb pennyroyal are two symbolic materials associated with mysterious powers and secrecy in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs. Both rug and pennyroyal are identified with Almira Todd, the book's dominating figure who invokes our compassion despite her sibylline presence. Both materials are inextricably a part of the cultural and folk histories of northern New England and Jewett seems to have utilized them for structural and spiritual value. They serve as powerful intangible forces in her Dunnett Landing community as they are woven into the story with great skill and relied on by the characters and by the reader in ways too subtle to ignore.

[269] Fetterley, Judith. " 'Not In the Least American': Nineteenth-Century Literary Regionalism as UnAmerican Literature."  College English 56 (Dec., 1994): 877-895.  Reprinted in  Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Critical Reader. ed. Karen L. Kilcup. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1998. 15-32.    

We suffer today from a national narrative that valorizes violence, that defines masculinity as the production of violence and defines the feminine and the foreign as legitimate recipients of such violence. We need different narratives and different identities, whether we locate these in a field named "American literature" or "writing in the U.S." or "the literatures of America"-or "the Americas" -- or "postcolonial writing." It is my argument here that we can find such narratives and such identities in certain texts, of which the work of nineteenth-century literary regionalists serves as one instance, that have been systematically excluded from the definition of American literature precisely because they do not reproduce the national narrative of violence or the definitions of masculine and feminine, American and foreign, which such a narrative presents as our national interest. It is time, then, to take treason as our text and to begin reading "unAmerican" literature.


[254] Joseph, Sheri.  "Sarah Orne Jewett's White Heron: An Imported Metaphor."  American Literary Realism 27:3 (1994) 81-84.

This "queer tall white bird" (p. 10) is not drawn from the natural fauna of New England but is instead imported from the Florida Everglades as a metaphor for the vulnerability of the natural world to man's careless predation. Its presence in the story creates an additional tension that undermines attempts to read the story as an example of local color fiction. It also imbues the story with a message of social reform that is lost to modern readers unacquainted with contemporary controversy over the plume trade.

[250] Easton, Allison.  "The Country of the Pointed Firs: History and Utopia." Introduction to The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories. New York: Penguin, 1995. vii-xxii.
Jewett wants to relate New England to the rest of America, not simply set them in opposition. In subtle ways she takes up and challenges the view prevailing among the new urban middle-class who believed New England to be in irrecoverable decline, and who as a result cultivated highly romanticized collective memories of an old-fashioned participatory democracy and a lost world of neighbourly small townships amid farming country. 

[251] Church, Joseph. Transcendent Daughters in Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs. Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1995.
Adopting a psychoanalytic approach, Joseph Church's Transcendent Daughters proposes that the narrator's venture among these people in fact allegorizes an anxious daughter's return to familial origins and dramatizes her reengagement with and effort to transcend unconscious constituents of the self established during early maturation, specifically androgynous composites of an internalized hostile mother and idealized father that now severely constrict her world, most of all, her access to beneficent women.       

[395]  Hild, Allison.  "Narrative Mediation in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs."  Colby Quarterly 31:2 (June 1995): 114-122.
It is not my intention to refute these later critics who have done much to advance studies of women's communities, but I think the stress on the narrator's intimacy with the region's inhabitants overlooks important acts of mediation in which the narrator engages. As a mediator between the urban, modernized world and that of Dunnet Landing, the narrator must maintain the distance necessary to relate to both her textual object and her audience. Jewett's fiction is more solidly grounded in the genre of local color propagated by, for example, Hamlin Garland and Mark Twain. Jewett explores female spaces within the larger frame of authentic regional detail, local dialect and local customs. As typically occurs in local colorist fiction, her narrator remains somewhat separated from the culture she writes about, identifying not only with the local residents but simultaneously with the readers to whom she relates her adventures. The balance is difficult to achieve, for the narrator must gain a foothold in the community to experience their "local color" firsthand, yet retain enough separation to communicate her experiences to a predominantly urban, middle-class audience.

[252] Wesley, Marilyn C. "The Genteel Picara: The Ethical Imperative in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Colby Quarterly 31.4 (Dec. 1995): 279-91. 
    Reprinted in Secret Journeys: The Trope of Women's Travel in American Literature. By Marilyn C. Wesley. Albany: State U. of New York Press, 1998.  67-79. 
 "In the light of Sarah Orne Jewett's expressed affection for the rural villagers of Maine, it might seem inconsistent that she so often uses  flight imagery" (36), observes Marilyn E. Mobley. But The Country of the Pointed Firs, while celebrating the intensely local, is dominated by the formal and thematic trope of travel which foregrounds movement as a means of  constructing a dynamic female ethic that bridges domestic and public experience. What is remarkable about all the "dear old women" in all the "dear old  houses" of The Country of the Pointed Firs is their refusal to relinquish the larger community beyond the home. While honoring the codes and arrangements of domesticity, each is also significantly defined by travel. Jewett's "Angels in the House" simply do not stay put! 

[253] Graham, Margaret Baker. "Visions of Time in The Country of the Pointed Firs." Studies in Short Fiction 32.1 (Winter 1995): 29-37.

One feminist perspective that has not been fully addressed in discussions of The Country of the Pointed Firs is time, a concept that elucidates both structure and theme in Jewett's work.  The feminist theory of time as articulated by the French postructuralist Julia Kristeva suggests that Jewett offers a vision of life that includes the masculine, linear time and the feminine, cyclical time, yet ultimately transcends both to achieve monumental time.


[255] Morgan, Jack and Louis A. Renza. ed. The Irish Stories of Sarah Orne Jewett. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP,1996.
As noted earlier, Sarah Orne Jewett deserves credit for having represented the Irish in ways remarkably novel in her cultural context and at odds with its standard discourse. At the very least, the stories in this collection, written by a significant American writer, provide a valuable study of the post-Famine, New England Irish population, one all the more valuable since firsthand Irish accounts of the period are less than abundant. These stories carry out this study with obvious sensitivity and openness toward their ethnic subject, which they imaginatively engage as much as record.

[256] Neinstein, Raymond L. " Loaded Guns: Place and Women's Place in Nineteenth-Century New England." 'Writing' Nation and 'Writing' Region in America. ed. Theo D'haen and Hans Bertens. Amsterdam, Netherlands: VU UP, 1996. 85-94.
From Emily Dickinson's metaphor of her own sense of herself as a loaded gun serving the interests of "the Owner"—variously identified as her sense of her own poetic power, or an actual person, or perhaps God—to Sarah Orne Jewett's gentle parody, in the person of "Miss Dan'el Gunn," of another famous American hunter named Daniel, turning the mythic mighty hunter into a "lady" who is, in fact, a slightly crazed cross-dresser, to the silence of a little girl frustrating or deflecting the loaded gun of a male quester after scientific knowledge, we have seen imagery of guns, hunting, woods and mountains used by two American women writers as metaphors both of place and gender. Sylvy's ascent of the landmark pine is as sexually charged as is the narrative in Dickinson's poem about visiting the sea. But in both cases, sexuality itself is a metaphor for a kind of initiation into Experience, an experience that dwarfs mere genital sexuality as the landmark pine dwarfs the hunter's gun. Sylvy sees the ocean for the first time, as does, presumably, the speaker in Dickinson's poem. And the "oceanic experience" puts into perspective specific social constructs and definitions. Having shared the golden dawn with the white heron from atop the highest tree in the region, Sylvy has no need to betray her new-found knowledge for ten dollars, a jack-knife, and the approval of the young hunter.

[116]  Fetterley, Judith.  "Review of Cultures of Letters: Scenes of Reading and Writing in Nineteenth-Century America by Richard H. Brodhead."  Modern Philology. 93:3 (Feb., 1996), pp. 396-400. 

Since I wish to see the work of women writers integrated into stud-ies that deal generally with American literature and culture, I greeted the publication of Cultures of Letters with enthusiasm. Unfortunately my enthusiasm was premature. I now believe Brodhead includes these writers only to orchestrate their redismissal from American literary history. One can only regret that a model with such potential for illuminating the situation of American women writers in the nineteenth century has been put to such a use…. Brodhead's particular antipathy toward Jewett can perhaps be traced to his view that she marks a moment of "immense historical resonance: the moment when a publishing American woman author first claims the duty (hence the right) to take her art seriously, and to define her proper self as the maker of her art" (p. 169).

[257] Howard, June. "Unraveling Regions, Unsettling Periods: Sarah Orne Jewett and American Literary History." American Literature: A Journal of Literary History, Criticism, and Bibliography 68.2 (June 1996): 365-84.
This essay is concerned with region, period, and the relation between those two categories in the narratives of American literary history. Both contemporaneous and later scholarly stories about local-color fiction bind concepts of place and nation with temporal categories, particularly notions of modernity, in ways that repay examination. I begin with a somewhat tendentious outline of literary historians' differing accounts of local-color fiction, sketching in the process what both received and revisionary approaches imply for our understanding of the work of Sarah Orne Jewett. Why, I ask, should the two strongest, most interesting lines of interpretation currently being pursued be not merely divergent but opposed? The essay goes on to work through these issues in a reading of Jewett's story "A Late Supper." 

[258] Foote, Stephanie. "'I Feared to Find Myself a Foreigner': Revisiting Regionalism in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory 52.2 (Summer 1996): 37-61.  Reprinted in Regional Fictions: Culture and Identity in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 2001, pp. 17-37.

In this first chapter, I use a single regionalist text, Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), to examine how regionalism rehearses historical and cultural issues concerning identity, community, and citizenship.  Specifically, I look at how representations in The Country of the Pointed Firs of folk and folk community thwart its ostensible project of constructing a culturally homogeneous region as the source of the nation's childhood.

[259] Pryse, Marjorie. "'Outgrown Friends,' by Sarah Orne Jewett." New England Quarterly  69.3 (Sept. 1996): 461-72.     

"Outgrown Friends" is an unfinished holograph published here for the first time by permission of the Houghton Library at Harvard University. As I have argued in "Archives of Female Friendship and the 'Way' Jewett Wrote" (NEQ 67:1 [March 1993]), although the manuscript is undated, Jewett apparently wrote it during the early 1870s, just prior to the sketches that began appearing in the Atlantic Monthly in 1873 and that would form her first published book, Deephaven (1877). Jewett's essay continues a dialogue between friendship and fiction that she initiated in her diary entries, particularly between 1867 and 1873, and extended into Deephaven; "Outgrown Friends" is thus a transitional tex.

[260] Church, Joseph. "A Woman's Psychological Journey in Jewett's 'The King of Folly Island'." Essays in Literature 23.2 (Fall 1996): 234-50.

Most see her [Jewett's] writing as skillfully depicting provincial life--"local color"--in nineteenth-century America, but accomplishing little more. I believe this view overlooks evidence of Jewett's using her narratives to pursue larger, more fundamental questions, particularly with respect to the psychological and sociological conditions of woman in a patrilineal world. Her stories often proceed by way of a cultured, usually middle-aged, protagonist's travelling into a remote region and coming to know its curious inhabitants and their history: such narratives, I think, in fact allegorize a woman's risking a redemptive venture to the psyche's unconscious realms, there to bring to light and, it is hoped, to transcend archaic and predominantly patriarchal constituents. One such tale, "The King of Folly Island" (1886), written in mid-career, offers an especially instructive example of her working toward greater understanding of the way cultural formations and psychology intersect in woman's development. Before summarizing this little-known story's principal events, I must first ask the reader to indulge temporarily a claim I will attempt to substantiate below, namely that Jewett uses the experiences of the tale's protagonist, John Frankfort, a man, to represent a woman's interests.

[396] Heller, Terry.  "Introduction."  The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Fiction.  New York: Oxford UP, 1996.  vii-xxv.
Much of Jewett's most impressive fiction gains its power to move by taking the reader along with the discovering character through the seemingly common-place incidents that change the meaning of a space and a time, making it seem sacred, or outside of normal time and space. Such eternal moments usually climax in an epiphany.

[495] Toth, Susan Allen  "A Visit to The Country of the Pointed Firs." Victoria 10 (1996): 80-6; reprinted in Sharing the Journey: Women Reflecting on Life's Passages from the pages of Victoria Magazine. Katherine Ball Ross, editor. New York: Sterling,  2007, 244-7.

When I discovered Sarah Orne Jewett, I was a graduate student immersed in Hawthorne, Melville, Faulkner, Hemingway among many male writers in the accepted grand tradition of American literature.... What struck me as so remarkable was the material Jewett chose to write about with such lucid elegance.... the seemingly ordinary, small events of women's lives....


[261] Sherman, Sarah Way.  "Introduction." The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1997. vii-lviii.

The ground of Jewett's art was in many ways her relation to the country life she described. Its people and their ways not only gave her literary material, but shaped her understanding and treatment of that material. Looking to the pastoral world that Jewett celebrated can give us insight into the power and endurance of her writing, and its possible limitations as well. Her relationship to this world, however, was not simple. She was in no way an unsophisticated writer.

[262] Davis, Cynthia J. "Making the Strange(r) Familiar: Sarah Orne Jewett's 'The Foreigner'." Breaking Boundaries: New Perspectives on Women's Regional Writing. ed. Sherrie A. Inness and Diana Royer. Iowa City, IA: U of Iowa P, 1997. 88-108.

What happens, then, when someone of "foreign blood" moves into the village?  How are nto only the community but the narrative and, more broadly, regionalism as a genre disrupted as a result of this intrusion?  The essay attempts to answer these questions -- and to complicate them -- through an exploration of Sarah Orne Jewett's "The Foreigner" ....

[263] Meisenheimer, D. K., Jr. "Regionalist Bodies/Embodied Regions: Sarah Orne Jewett and Zitkala-Śa." Breaking Boundaries: New Perspectives on Women's Regional Writing. ed. Sherrie A. Inness and Diana Royer. Iowa City, IA: U of Iowa P, 1997. 109-23.

As I will show, identifying various topoi of radiance/convergence in regionalist texts helps differentiate various writers' reactions and resistances to the genre's expectations. In Jewett's fiction, for example, we witness the assembly of a regionalist body, a body that takes firm root in nature, in place. In Zitkala-Sa's autobiographical work, on the other hand, we can trace the elaboration of a complement to this regionalist body: the embodiment of a region. Zitkala-Sa's paradoxically movable rootedness takes its cue not only from nature, from place, but from Native American culture as well. Furthermore, although Jewett tends to represent the radiance/convergence of body and region in terms of transcendence, a union achieved outside or beyond culture, Zitkala-Sa imagines a bond between people and place that is much more culturally (and spiritually) immanent.

[264] Westbrook, Perry D. "Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)." Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. ed. Denise D. Knight and Emmanuel S. Nelson. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1997. 270-80.   

The perception of Jewett as primarily a local colorist has long been abandoned in favor of her recognition as a nineteenth-century author of important psychological and spiritual insights.

[464] Pryse, Marjorie. "Writing out of the Gap: Regionalism, Resistance and Relational Reading. " A Sense of Place: Re-evaluating Regionalism in Canadian and American Writing. Christian Riegel, Herb Wyile, Karen Overbye and Don Perkins, eds. Edmonton: University of Alberta, 1997.  Co-published as Textual Studies in Canada 9 (Spring 1997). pp. 19-34.

In "contrapuntal reading," we can examine regionalist texts for evidence of an American historical frame of reference, which establishes ideologies of gender, race, class, and region; and at the same time we can examine canonical texts for evidence of the existence of an alternative vision, even if such vision is mocked or parodied in the canonical text.  I will illustrate this point by setting in counterpoint and reading "contrapuntally" two American fictions from the 1880s, James's canonical novel The Portrait of a Lady, and Sarah Orne Jewett's regionalilst story, "A White Heron."  When we characterized Pansy as a girl with a measure of independence, we are examining James's novel in the historical context of late nineteenth-century movement on behalf of women's civil rights in the U.S.; when we understand Sylvie as resisting the cultural script that creates American girls as players in heterosexual romance, we are also reading out from Jewett's story to a larger social and ideological context, here the context over which values come to represent American vision and culture.

[265] Johanningsmeier, Charles. "Sarah Orne Jewett and Mary E. Wilkins (Freeman): Two Shrewd Businesswomen in Search of New Markets." New England Quarterly  70.1 (Mar. 1997): 57-82.

In 1886, for example, Wilkins ... confided to her friend Mary Louise Booth, "I wouldn't write these stories if I did not like the money. . . . But it does not seem to me just right, to write things of that sort on purpose to get money, and please an editor." Jewett, expressing herself even more strongly, à la Emily Dickson, once wrote to Annie Fields, "Sometimes, the business part of writing grows very noxious to me. . . . It seems as bad as selling our fellow beings." Such a gynocentric view of  Jewett and Wilkins can be comforting to those who themselves reject a male, urban, capitalist culture. One might even hypothesize that this desire helps drive the choice of works to be anthologized, collected, and written about: most are about women from rural areas who disdain material wealth and wish either to live without men or to transform them. Yet evidence abounds that Jewett and Wilkins were not at all shy about forwarding their own interests in the world of print, and nowhere is their business acumen more apparent than in their relationships with two men who occasionally appear on the periphery of scholarship about the writers: Irving Bacheller and S. S. McClure.  

[266] Groover, Kristina K. "The Wilderness Within: Home as Sacred Space in American Women's Writing: Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, Morrison's The Bluest Eye and Gibbons' Ellen Foster." MAWA Review 12.1 (June 1997): 13-29.

The Wilderness Within opens with an admirably lucid overview of contemporary theological and psychological feminist theory, solidly grounding Groover's argument that women, unlike men, find revelation in commonplace, interpersonal experience rather than in the unique, solitary quest. Groover argues that the experiences of domestic practice, participation in community, and storytelling create sacredness by effecting positive transformation. Each of the subsequent chapters opens with a discussion of Groover's exemplary text, Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, and then provides readings of numerous twentieth-century writers, from Katherine Anne Porter to Toni Morrison, from Harriet Arnow to Gloria Naylor. At times this study's labor to locate textual evidence for its identified metaphors feels laborious, as in the effort to assign a sacred function to family storytelling in Porter's Old Mortality; however, at other times Groover's metaphors illumine her subject matter, as in her sensitive reading of domestic ritual and sanctuary in Kaye Gibbons's somewhat neglected novel Ellen Foster. In a last chapter, Groover briefly explores a fourth metaphor, the garden. Rather than the untamed frontier where men find spiritual freedom in flight from domesticity, gardens unify the natural and the domestic and so embody the community and connection Groover finds characteristic of women's spiritual experience.       Review by Mary Titus. American Literature, Jun 1, 2000, Vol. 72, p438-439.    

[267] Zagarell, Sandra A. "Crosscurrents: Registers of Nordicism, Community, and Culture in Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs." Yale Journal of Criticism: Interpretation in the Humanities 10.2 (Fall 1997): 355-70.  Reprinted in Diversifying the Discourse: The Florence Howe Award for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship, 1990-2004. ed. Mihoko Suzuki, Roseanna Dufault, Florence Howe, and Annette Kolodny. New York, NY: Modern Language Association of America, 2006. 142-56. 

In an essay published in 1988 I assumed gender as the text's determinative element; in a later one I essentially repudiated the reliance of the first on gender as the self-contained source of Country's language, structure, and values and identified whiteness and nationalism as factors which preconstitute its concepts of gender. For Cultures of Letters [Brodhead], by contrast, economic and cultural circumstances -- class, the organization and appeal of postbellum capitalism -- are formative in Country: race is at best a secondary concern and gender only incidental. Cultures of Letters opens up new and important ways of seeing Country. And while my own second essay is far more persuasive to me than the first, I now find myself unable to characterize it as "right" or to designate the first as unambiguously "wrong." Much of the other commentary on Country likewise seems illuminating to me, but also partial, despite its authors' tendency to assert its completeness. But how can this be? Are any readings whatsoever somewhat valid, partially illuminating? Are readings merely products of a potentially unlimited wealth of critical methods? Or do works of literature simply accommodate an indefinite number of interpretations?
    The method I propose offers a way of engaging with textual discontinuities, and by extension for adjudicating among ways of reading, without embracing the relativism such questions imply. I suggest that we turn our attention to the identification of registers -- distinct discourses with extra-textual coordinates -- in multivocal texts such as Country and that we examine the interplay and tension among such registers. This proposal is grounded in the conviction that the specific historical and ideological climates in which texts come to life are constitutive, but not in ways that are fully predictable.

[268]  Glazener, Nancy.  Reading for Realism: The History of a U. S. Literary Institution, 1850-1910.  Durham: Duke University Press, 1997.

Reading for Realism presents a new approach to U.S. literary history that is based on the analysis of dominant reading practices rather than on the production of texts. Nancy Glazener's focus is the realist novel, the most influential literary form of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - a form she contends was only made possible by changes in the expectations of readers about pleasure and literary value.  (Google Books description).  Jewett is discussed briefly, mainly in chapters 3 and 5.

[478] Young, Al R.  "The Country of the Pointed Firs."  Victoria 11:9 (September 1997): 121.

Presents an excerpt from "The Country of the Pointed Firs," by Sarah Orne Jewett. Tale of a young woman whose heart was broken by an unfaithful suitor; Woman's withdrawal to remote Shell-heap Island. (Database description.)

[485] Salska, Agnieszka. "American Short-Story Cycles and the Changing Sense of Community." In Discourses of Literature: Studies in Honour of Alina Szala. ed. Leszek S. Kolek, Wojciech Nowicki. Lublin: Maria Curie-Skłodowska University Press, 1997. 137-151.

The first American attempts at grouping stories into linked clusters were, in fact, connected to that narrative mode [frontier humor] through the emphasis on locality and a local character; they were constructed on the basis of the unifying motif of place and person(s).  Augustus Longstreet's Georgia Scenes, George Washington Harris's Sut Lovingood stories and Johnson Jones Hoopers's Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs provide early examples. Toward the end of the century we can point to several achievements in the emerging genre such as George Washington Cable's Old Creole Days (1879), Kate Chopin's Bayou Folk (1894), Charles Chesnutt's The Conjure Woman (1899) but especially Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) and Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio (1919).  Jewett and Anderson both blend the narrative with a strong lyrical impulse and both foreground deliberate connecting designs.


Thomson, Rosemarie Garland.  "Crippled Girls and Lame Old Women: Sentimental Spectacles of Sympathy in American women's writing."  In Kilcup, Karen. ed. Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Critical Reader.  Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1998, 128-145.

Cast as the quintessential feminine emotion, sympathy entails an attachment to others that facilitates female subordination to male interests by requiring women to deny their own concerns and serve others.  Yet women manipulated sympathy's demand to focus on their masters by turning it upon the world outside the husband, children, and home.  Sympathy became the sentiment that legitimated their entrance into and appropriation of the public sphere. …  These two stories trace a pattern replicated in much women's fiction, in which resonant disabled figures enable the authors both to challenge and confirm the dominant ideology that governed women's lives in nineteenth century America. … Mary Mapes Dodge's "Sunday Afternoon in a Poor-House," … 1876;… Sarah Orne Jewett's … "The Town Poor" … 1890.

[270] Wider, Sarah Ann. "Books and Their Covers: Sarah Orne Jewett and Sarah Whitman through My Daughter's Eyes." Colby Quarterly 34.2 (June 1998): 172-94.

In 1904, four months after Sarah Whitman's death, Jewett wrote to Houghton Mifflin, asking them to restore—her word—the old binding for a new edition of Betty Leicester.  First published in late 1889, the book had worn a cover of scarlet and white graced by "the beauty of Mrs. Whitman's charming design." In Jewett's eyes, the more recent editions had fallen far short of the original. "It is an ugly little book at present," she wrote, "the dye does not sit well sidewise on one corner and this green and red cloth are very far from the beauty of Mrs. Whitman's charming design" (Letters [1967] 160).

[271] Stowe, William W. "Doing History on Vacation: 'Ktaadn' and 'The Country of the Pointed Firs'." New England Quarterly  71.2 (June 1998): 163-89.

What I want to demonstrate here is that vacations and the literary forms they engendered gave writers the chance to explore not just vestiges and signs of the past but the relation of the past to the present as well as the nature and direction of historical change. Their vacation experiences gave them the chance, in other words, to develop philosophies of history as well as acquire knowledge about the past. Thoreau did this in "Ktaadn" (1848); Sarah Orne Jewett did it fifty years later in The Country of the Pointed Firs.

[272] Campbell, Jennifer. "'The Great Something Else': Women's Search for Meaningful Work in Sarah Orne Jewett's A Country Doctor and Frances E. W. Harper's Trial and Triumph." Colby Quarterly 34.2 (June 1998): 83-98.

Thus, American women still continue to receive desperately mixed messages: family and work do not mix, at the working mother's expense; family and work do mix, at the working mother's expense.
       My purpose in this essay is to bring together two novels by nineteenth-century writers in order to explore the ways each of them handles this question that remains pertinent to nearly every American woman. Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911) share a concern with community building and social reform; and Jewett's A Country Doctor (1884) and its close contemporary, Harper's newly rediscovered serial novel Trial and Triumph (1888), contain remarkable textual and thematic similarities. 

[273] Church, Joseph. "The Healing Arts of Jewett's Country Doctor." Colby Quarterly 34.2 (June 1998): 99-122.      

Readings of A Country Doctor have called attention to Nan's willingness to attack culture's gender biases. Barbara A. Johns speaks for many when she praises Nan's working to "repudiate the traditional, patriarchal restrictions on women" ( [156-7]), but have overlooked the related significance of Nan's aggression toward parental figures. I will try to show that Nan in fact frequently strives with surrogates of the mother and, moreover, asserts herself libidinally if symbolically with the foster parent. Since strife with the one and intimacy with the other suggest psychological processes associated with a daughter's oedipal maturation, it is worthwhile to consider Jewett's narrative from a psychoanalytic standpoint and, then, with that material in mind, to review the novel's larger concerns with women's aspirations in a restrictive culture, beginning with a study of Nan's ideal girlhood and continuing with reflections on the homoerotic inclination of her young womanhood. In the concluding section, I will suggest how the novel serves as a mirror and metaphor for the writer's own development.

[274] Murphy, Jacqueline Shea.  "Replacing Regionalism: Abenaki Tales and 'Jewett's' Coastal Maine."  American Literary History 10:4 (Winter 1998): 664-90.

In what follows, I place Jewett's writings on coastal Maine (focusing here on one of her Dunnet Landing stories, "The Queen's Twin" [1899]) alongside the "incredible number of tales" that Native American storytellers continue to tell, on sovereign islands in the Penobscot river and elsewhere, about the same region (focusing on several versions of a tale about the trickster-hero Glooskap visiting the King in Europe, which end with a prophesy in which "the Indian people get back the land that the King and his men stole from them" [Bruchac, Return of the Sun 83]). I thus propose a reading that sees Jewett's writings on coastal Maine not simply as a nostalgic expression of the heyday of white US imperialism, but rather as only one of multiple stories about relation to that region. In doing this, I suggest a way of reading New England regionalism that not only recognizes its reactionary aspects, but also enables the kinds of political and cultural relations to land in the region evidenced in so many Native American stories to emerge and be heard-stories and relations that, in very real ways, continue to mark the resilience of Native peoples and enable the return of Native lands.

[275] Zagarell, Sandra A. "Response to Jacqueline Shea Murphy's 'Replacing Regionalism." American Literary History 10.4 (Winter 1998): 691-97.

Jacqueline Shea Murphy's "Replacing Regionalism" pivots around the pun on "replacing" in her title. The strengths of the  essay lie in its re-placing, in the sense of relocating or resituating, Jewett's Dunnet Landing narratives in the context of the standpoints, cultures, and continuing presence of native peoples in Maine. This work has the potential to open up conversation and expand the scope of Jewett commentary and, more generally, of literary history. However, Shea Murphy's essay also advances another meaning of "replacing," that of substituting for or superseding. This position involves a set of assumptions about the study of history, including literary and cultural history, and texts, and a critique of certain modes of reading Jewett, which I want  to problematize.

[276] Kilcup, Karen L. "Questioning Jewett: Centennial Essays." Colby Quarterly 34.2 (June 1998): 81-2.     

With one exception, the essays included here present expanded and revised versions of the papers given by their authors at the conference that I directed as Dorothy M. Healy Visiting Professor at Westbrook College in 1996. Entitled "Jewett and Her Contemporaries: The Centennial Conference," this meeting brought together scholars from around the world to honor Jewett and to explore her connections with other writers.
       The contributions in Questioning Jewett offer a glimpse into the continuing diversity of the work being done on the writer.

[277] Kisthardt, Melanie. "Reading Lives, Writing to Transgress: Sarah Orne Jewett's 'Unwritable Things'." Colby Quarterly 34.2 (June 1998): 133-49.

That which Jewett found "unwritable" in the nineteenth century—the tacit, intimate connections between women—she inscribes in her stories about storytelling which require the reader's complicity. Defining herself as a writer unwilling to compromise her vision, Jewett wrote from the dual vantage point of insider/outsider and framed contexts for fuller understanding between the reader and her characters. She created a space for these characters, already in her time forgotten or viewed as anachronisms, and used their silent, alien, marginalized positions to emphasize their power rather than their limitations. Using realism as the "scaffolding" while transgressing generic norms, Jewett plumbed the depths of her characters' lives and encoded within the stories a subtle message to future sympathetic readers. From early stories like "Lady Ferry" to much later in her career, she imagined bonds between women and made them the central focus of her fiction in a manner that later writers like Willa Cather found increasingly difficult to accomplish. Perhaps Jewett's stories, like the eponymous green bowl, look "plain," but held to the "light" there is a "pattern underneath" (351), a pattern of "unwritable things."

[278] Powell, Betty J. "Speaking to One Another: Narrative Unity in Sarah Orne Jewett's Old Friends and New." Colby Quarterly 34.2 (June 1998): 150-71.    

In Old Friends and New, Jewett's circuitous narrative strategy connects the various chapters of the text into a unified whole by allowing the disparate female voices throughout the work to "speak to one another." 

[279] Dolberg, Lynn. "Unanswered Questions, Unquestioned Voices: Silence in 'A White Heron'." Colby Quarterly 34.2 (June 1998): 123-32.      

Sarah Orne Jewett is one of many women writers recently reclaimed by feminist critics. Historically, analyses of Jewett held her within specific boundaries; customarily considered a regionalist, Jewett was often understood as limited in theme and focus. In contrast, feminist studies celebrate the woman-centered worlds within her works, finding within these communities a wealth of images, including the pastoral and the divine, and a wealth of dynamic characters, including spiritual and actual mothers, and powerful older women. In contrast to traditional feminist accounts that regard silence as merely oppressive and speech as inherently liberating, I wish to suggest here that an empowering and intimate silence is directly present in Jewett's work, where it represents a theme, a habit, and a narrative technique.

[280] Joseph, Philip. "Landed and Literary: Hamlin Garland, Sarah Orne Jewett, and the Production of Regional Literatures." Studies in American Fiction 26.2 (Autumn 1998): 147-70.

In the teleology implied by Jewett's Country ..., class stratification poses no obstacle to the fulfillment of a national destiny. At the same time, Jewett shares with Garland a common approach toward the question of genealogical inheritance and the role that it is to play in the nation's ultimate redemption. For both writers, national identity in its ideal form is constituted by both loyalty to a community of Anglo ethnic origin and affiliation with a broader racial community of white Americans. Both Jewett and Garland negotiate this identity through their treatments of characters marked as excessively ethnic members of the Anglo folk. Yet the production of these characters and the resistance they present to the regional subject's negotiated identity differ significantly between Jewett and Garland.

[298] Pryse, Marjorie.  "Sex, Class, and 'Category Crisis': Reading Jewett's Transitivity."  American Literature 70,3 (September 1998) 517-549.  Reprinted in  No More Separate Spheres! A Next Wave American Studies Reader. ed. Cathy N. Davidson and Jessamyn Hatcher. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2002. 149-79. Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies  Durham, NC. 

However, a critique of Jewett's work has emerged in the 1900s, building in part on Amy Kaplan's reading, which associates the ability of Jewett's urban narrator to move in and out of rural life in The Country of the Pointed Firs with "literary tourism." This analysis appears to reflect new critical and theoretical directions in American literary studies, but has often constructed its case much less on careful rereadings of Jewett's texts than on the politics of critical reception itself. As the introduction to this volume explores from a different perspective, some of the new readings have faulted feminist criticism for failing to historicize racism, classism, and imperialism in Jewett, and in the ostensible project of informing readers that Jewett's fiction is not as transformative as feminist critics have claimed, have reduced Jewett's complexity and destabilized the power of her work for an analysis of gender relations. I am interested in reading Jewett again in light of these charges because I see her work as continuing to imagine regionalism as an alternative cultural vision.  

[281] Goheen, Cynthia J. "Editorial Misinterpretation and the Unmaking of a Perfectly Good Story: The Publication History of The Country of the Pointed Firs." American Literary Realism 30.2 (Winter 1998): 28-42.

There is substantial evidence that her mode of narration was misinterpreted from the start of her writing career, and that Jewett's editors and executors modified Pointed Firs in the image of their own mistaken identification of its genre. They bequeathed to American literature an altered text with the generic misinterpretation built in. It is this misinterpretation, more than Jewett's gender or subject, which has kept her in her place. In order to establish the authenticity of the 1896 edition, the misinterpretation which undid it must itself be undone.

[282] Kilcup, Karen.  Robert Frost and Feminine Literary Tradition.  Ann Arbor: U of Michigan, 1998.

Karen Kilcup reveals Frost's subtle links with earlier "feminine" traditions like "sentimental" poetry and New England regionalist fiction, traditions fostered by such well-known women precursors and contemporaries as Lydia Sigourney, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. She argues that Frost altered and finally obscured these "feminine" voices and values that informed his earlier published work, and that to appreciate his achievement fully, we need to recover and acknowledge the power of his affective, emotional voice in counterpoint and collaboration with his more familiar ironic and humorous tones.  ( book description)

[283] Zagarell, Sandra.  "Troubling Regionalism: Rural Life and the Cosmopolitan Eye in Jewett's Deephaven."  American Literary History 10:4 (Winter 1998): 639-63.

Although Jewett's own practice cannot be fully subsumed within the categories of cosmopolitan and native, a shifting combination of the two grounds much of her work. By the mid-1880s, her literary point of departure was predominantly cosmopolitan, as was her life: her writing participated in rural New England's regionalization, valorizing the region as the origin of American culture. Deephaven, recognized in the nineteenth century as a key regionalist work, manifests a much more fraught regionalism that struggled with regionalism's foundational contradictions.

[284] Murphy, Jacqueline Shea. "Getting Jewett: A Response to Sandra A. Zagarell, 'Troubling Regionalism'." American Literary History 10.4 (Winter 1998): 698-701.

It seems likely that Zagarell endorses and approves of the recognition she teases out in Jewett's novel--the recognition that reading Deephaven is imbricated in an economy of knowing, linked to class, race, national, educational, and geographic privilege. It is telling, Zagarell's analysis implies, that this recognition dropped out of Jewett's later work and out of regionalism. What Zagarell's reading of Jewett has taught me to see, then, is that there are class, race, national, geographic privileges inscribed in reading Jewett. What Zagarell's reading makes me want to know more about is not so much where this leaves turn-of-the-century regionalism and its readers, who Brodhead has already persuasively shown to be tied to an elite vacationing class, but rather where this leaves readers of Jewett such as, say, Sandra Zagarell--or myself. How are readers -- from the 1990s as well as the 1890s -- positioned in relation to the pleasures, and problems, we find in Jewett's work?  


[285] McCullough, Kate. "Looking Back at a Boston Marriage in 'The Country of the Pointed Firs.'"  Regions of Identity: The Construction of America in Women's Fiction, 1885-1914. Stanford: Stanford U.P, 1999.  15-47.      

It is this doubled status, as both canonical yet marginal, both read but patronized, that concerns me here and that can, I will argue, be explained by a more careful look at Jewett's representation of the relationship between the two heroines.  In this chapter, I will read Jewett's work both in the context of her day and our own in order to explore this relationship.  I will argue that in The Country of the Pointed Firs Jewett offers a coded representation of a Boston marriage, a representation that stands as a kind of rhetorical "both/and."  The Boston marriage relationship can help us to understand and indeed bring together the various critical issues historically at stake in Jewett criticism.

[397] Blanchard, Paula.  "Introduction" to Sarah Orne Jewett, A Country Doctor.  New York: Bantam, 1999. vii-xvii.

The challenges Nan must overcome—social disapproval, the sense of isolation and paralyzing self-doubt, sexual renunciation and the loss of possible children—are all representative of the challenges faced by women of the last century and well into the twentieth. Nan is placed at a particularly awkward moment in women's history. Early pioneers like Elizabeth Blackwell had succeeded at great personal cost, but the lack of emotional support, the yearning for a normal family life and the fear of strong community criticsm remained powerful barriers. Each woman who chose an unconventional vocation was essentially alone, having few prededents, if any, to follow. Through Dr. Leslie, Jewett voices the hope that Nan will be an exemplar for young women, "the teller of new truth, a revealer of laws."

[286] Kilcup, Karen L., and Thomas S. Edwards, ed. Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999.  

     "This collection represents an appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett in every sense of the word. It both grasps the nature, worth, and quality of Jewett’s oeuvre and judges it with heightened perception and candor."--Mary Lowe-Evans, University of West Florida.
    Essays about identity and difference, tradition and transformation, region and nation add an energetic and diverse set of voices to current discussions about Sarah Orne Jewett, 19th-century American women’s writing, and the reshaping of the literary canon.  [From book description]

[287] Kilcup, Karen L. and Thomas S. Edwards. "Confronting Time and Change: Jewett, Her Contemporaries, and Her Critics." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 1-27.

After the writer's death, Jewett criticism developed in four overlapping stages. In a preliminary stage, critics confined themselves predominantly to a review of Jewett's life, tending (in their positive incarnation) to eulogize the writer and reading her principally as a New England regionalist (and hence somewhat limited in scope). In the second, feminist stage, critics frequently affirmed Jewett's value as a woman writing about women. These early feminist critics contrasted their positive, even utopian, views of Jewett with the preliminary readings that depicted her as limited, pointing out their predecessor's critical shortcomings and characterize Jewett as a responsive and evocative artist. In the third, corrective stage, later critics, some feminist and some traditional, reacted to what they perceived as the idealization of Jewett by the second-stage critics; they have tended to emphasize the limitations of her work, especially her representation of the ethnic, racial, and class "other." Although the motives of the two groups participating in this corrective stage vary, the sources of their anxiety about the earlier feminist stage are allied. Finally, in the present stage, the criticism appears to be returning to equilibrium, with Jewett acknowledged as a writer of continuing cultural power whose postmodern elements, among others, offer new opportunities for criticism and appreciation.  


[288] Frater, Graham. " 'A Brave Happiness': Rites and Celebrations in Jewett's Ordered Past."   Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon.  ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 251-64.

Jewett is perhaps clearest about the values she assigns to the past in her nonfiction, particularly in her short history of Berwick, the autobiographical essay on her Berwick childhood, and The Story of the Normans.  As we might expect, she is also both clear and didactic in the two Betty Leicester books. As we move away from the nonfiction and children's books, the same values are found, sometimes securely, as in "Decoration Day"; elsewhere, complexities and tensions multiply more readily. At the extreme in this other direction come those moments when Jewett touches on the highly charged issue of slavery. On those occasions, it is as if she feels compelled to articulate a moral repugnance that contends with a yearning for order. In sum, her stance can become so unstable that a half recognition of its instability appears in comments and asides—often needless in themselves—and in an unusually florid narrative rhetoric that has more in common with the Norman histories than with the bulk of Jewett's adult fiction.

[289] Wittenberg, Judith Bryant. "Challenge and Compliance: Textual Strategies in A Country Doctor and Nineteenth-Century American Women's Medical Autobiographies." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 123-36.

The purpose of this essay is to consider the topic of professional preparation, looking at A Country Doctor intertextually with a group of contemporaneous autobiographies by actual female physicians of the mid-and later nineteenth century.   

[290] Littenberg, Marcia B. "From Transcendentalism to Ecofeminism: Celia Thaxter and Sarah Orne Jewett's Island Views Revisited." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 137-52.

Emerson notes, "The tendency to magnify the moment, to read all the laws of Nature in the one object or one combination under you eye, is . . . comic to those who do not share the philosopher's perception of identity. To him, there was no such thing as size. The pond was a small ocean; the Atlantic, a large Walden Pond. Her referred every minute fact to cosmical laws."
       It does not take a Transcendental leap of imagination to perceive that this same literary aesthetic informs the regional writing of Sarah Orne Jewett and Celia Thaxter. Not only do they share with the New England Transcendentalists a deeply personal response to nature conveyed through detailed observations of the natural world, but  the central tenet of each writer's literary vision is sympathetic identification with the places she describes.

[291] Easton, Alison. "'How Clearly the Gradations of Society Were Defined': Negotiating Class in Sarah Orne Jewett." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 207-22.

Reading through Jewett's complete works can at first be a discomfiting experience, familiar as we still tend to be with only the handful of texts now commonly reprinted. What lies in the background of those well-known tales (tales primarily concerned with women's lives and identities) becomes foreground in others, and suddenly issues of class and race become as inescapable as those of gender. The essay that follows represents my early explorations of this territory and is part of what will be a full-length study of the intersections of class and gender in Jewett's writings.  

[292] Campbell, Donna M. "'In Search of Local Color': Context, Controversy, and The Country of the Pointed Firs." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 63-75.      

What did Jewett's audiences understand by "local color"? An examination of the term as it is used by Jewett's contemporaries Hamlin Garland, Charles Dudley Warner, Brander Matthews, and James Lane Allen indicates that during the few short years from 1894 to 1897, local color became fragmented while it was almost simultaneously promoted as the key to "national" literature, rejected as a literary fad, reworked as a variety of proto-naturalism, and, most damaging of all, redefined and marginalized as what James Lane Allen termed the "Feminine Principal" in American fiction before it disappeared into a host of other movements, including historical romance.

[293] Homestead, Melissa. "'Links of Similitude': The Narrator of The Country of the Pointed Firs and Author-Reader Relations at the End of the Nineteenth Century." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 76-98.

My own analysis focuses on the narrator's most clearly defined characteristic: her profession. In the context of the iterary field in the American 1890s, why did Sarah Orne Jewett choose to tell the stories of The Country of the Pointed Firs through a first-person narrator who happens to be a female author? What does Jewett's literary practice tell us about her construction of herself as an author and of her relationship to the marketplace and her readers through that authorial persona? Although the practitioners of high realism in Jewett's own time, and the New Critics following their example, counseled that we should not look for authors' intentions in literary texts, nineteenth-century American readers clearly did read for the author in literary texts. Exactly what did they expect to find? That is, for a nineteenth-century American reader, what was an author, and what was an author supposed to do?

[294] Sherman, Sarah Way. "Party Out of Bounds: Gender and Class in Jewett's 'The Best China Saucer'." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 223-48.

In the 1893 preface to her first book, Deephaven (1877), Sarah Orne Jewett recalls "a noble saying of Plato that the best thing that can be done for the people of a state is to make them acquainted with each other." Her best-known attempt to illustrate this ideal is The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), a book whose most moving scenes represent women of different classes forging utopian friendships over cups of tea and dishes of apple pie. However, the question remains whether acquaintance alone can heal a nation's differences. While empathy may overcome invidious distinctions between individuals, unconnected to broader analysis and action, it cannot undo the inequities of status and power that create them. Significantly, it may not be in Pointed Firs, but in more disturbing stories like "The Foreigner" (1900), where companionship between women of different backgrounds flickers or even fails, that Jewett's cultural critique is most searching and her narrative instabilities most revealing. This essay explores one such story of failed friendship and maps the cultural fault lines that failure exposes.

[295] Romines, Ann. "The Professor and the Pointed Firs: Cather, Jewett, and the Problem of Editing." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 153-66.

However, the Cather-Jewett story did not end in 1913. In this essay, I will argue that the memory of Jewett and The Country of the Pointed Firs was an "enduring" but far more conflicted presence in the next decade of Cather's career, the mid-life mid-1920s, when she concurrently edited an influential edition of Jewett's fiction and wrote The Professor's House. Both were published in 1925.

[296] Lerena, Maria Hernáez. "Sarah Orne Jewett's Contribution to the American Short Story on the Threshold of the Twentieth Century." Actas III Congreso de la Sociedad Española para el Estudio dos Estados Unidos/Spanish Association for American Studies (SAAS): Fin de Siglo: Crisis y nuevos principios/Century Ends, Crises and New Beginnings. ed. María José Alvarez Maurín, Manuel Broncano Rodrígues, Camino Fernández Rabadán, and Cristina Garrigós González. León, Spain: Universidad de León, 1999. 209-15.

[297] Schachinger, Carol. "Sarah Orne Jewett's Maine: A Journey Back." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 277-86.

There is always a heart to every house—the place one is most drawn to. In the Jewett house, for me, it is the upstairs landing where she did her writing. I carry away one last picture of her sitting by that window, looking down into the square, separated from the common life by a twelve-over-twelve window. Sometimes she would descend to the public arena for a hearty handshake. But most often, I think, she would retreat into the richness of her inner world, where the people she imagined were more vivid than those she met on the street; and where the wild and shy child had the freedom to be fully herself.

[298] Pryse, Marjorie. "Sex, Class, and 'Category Crisis': Reading Jewett's Transitivity." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 31-62. Reprint of:  Pryse, Marjorie.  "Sex, Class, and 'Category Crisis': Reading Jewett's Transitivity."  American Literature 70,3 (September 1998) 517-549.

However, a critique of Jewett's work has emerged in the 1900s, building in part on Amy Kaplan's reading, which associates the ability of Jewett's urban narrator to move in and out of rural life in The Country of the Pointed Firs with "literary tourism." This analysis appears to reflect new critical and theoretical directions in American literary studies, but has often constructed its case much less on careful rereadings of Jewett's texts than on the politics of critical reception itself. As the introduction to this volume explores from a different perspective, some of the new readings have faulted feminist criticism for failing to historicize racism, classism, and imperialism in Jewett, and in the ostensible project of informing readers that Jewett's fiction is not as transformative as feminist critics have claimed, have reduced Jewett's complexity and destabilized the power of her work for an analysis of gender relations. I am interested in reading Jewett again in light of these charges because I see her work as continuing to imagine regionalism as an alternative cultural vision.

[299] Petrie, Paul R. "'To Make Them Acquainted with One Another': Jewett, Howells, and the Dual Aesthetic of Deephaven. Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 99-120.

Perhaps because of the disparity in achievement between otherwise analogous fictions, Deephaven reveals the process by which Jewett arrived at the seamless unification of ethically purposeful social description with mystically evocative symbolism in The Country of the Pointed Firs.  Rereading Deephaven through the lens of a Howellsian conception of literary purpose reveals how Jewett reshaped the literary-ethical imperative she shared with her editor, adapting it to her own conceptions of both the nature of commonplace experience and the literary mode best suited to communicating it.  Deephaven comprises Jewett's adoption and extension of Howells's model of ethically purposive social fiction, to include a supra-social, spiritual dimension of commonplace reality.  Further, Deephaven reveals the terms of Jewett's struggle to transform linear Howellsian narrative mediation into a more reader-participatory, metaphysically evocative experience.

[300] Leder, Priscilla. "Visions of New England: The Anxiety of Jewett's Influence on Ethan Frome." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 167-81.

In her introduction to Ethan Frome, Wharton resolves to reveal the "granite outcroppings" of conflict and suffering that fictional depictions of New England "overlooked" in favor of "abundant enumeration of sweet-fern, asters and mountain-laurel." Given the popularity of The Country of the Pointed Firs, Wharton's aquaintance with Jewett, and the structural similarities of the two works, it seems likely that Pointed Firs provided a paradigm of the vision Wharton wished to correct.

[301] Swartz, Patti Capel. "We Do Not All Go Two by Two: Or, Abandoning the Ark." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 265-76.

As a lesbian reader, I am delighted with acceptance of cross-dressing, of difference, of the woman-centered world I encounter in Sarah Orne Jewett's texts. I am delighted with a world that has the time and patience to allow people to follow their own way.

[302] Schrag, Mitzi. "'Whiteness' as Loss in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'The Foreigner'." Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 1999. 185-206.

Long celebrated for its universal, mythic, and transcendent properties, Sarah Orne Jewett's work is seldom seen as  "racialized," in part because it so successfully constructs "whiteness" as "human nature," everywhere and nowhere at the same time. However, some of Jewett's writings engage ideas of "race" that ought to complicate the critical reception of Jewett's Edenic community, particularly in "The Foreigner," where "whiteness" is knowable in ambivalent contrast to a nonspeaking, though central character who is both French and "American Africanist."

[303] Shannon, Laurie. "'The Country of Our Friendship': Jewett's Intimist Art." American Literature: A Journal of Literary History, Criticism, and Bibliography 71.2 (June 1999): 27-62.

Jewett's intimism in this novel fulfills both parts of the term's double sense, incorporating both a literary and an affective form. The intimate, "minor" genre of the sketch, serialized in periodic increments, unceasingly depicts the relations and processes of friendly intimacy. Each "event" in Firs centers on a station in friendship's developmental path. The effect is to sacralize these intimate phenomena, resituating affection itself as a spiritual practice.    

[304] McMurry, Andrew.  "'In Their Own Language': Sarah Orne Jewett and the Question of Non-human Speaking Subjects." Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 6, no. 1 (Winter 1999): 51-63.

We will begin, then, with the general observation that Jewett's novels, stories, and essays about the quotidian visits, conversations, day-trips, charities, and celebrations of the unremarkable people inhabiting the Maine shore reveal her preoccupation with the possibilities of local knowledge. She suggests that in our everyday associations with others and our surroundings we find the basis for what might today be termed "sustainable" living. Jewett finds that as the familiarity with place deepens, the attachment takes on unexpected dimensions. She frequently suggests that relations with places, landscapes, and animals may be compared with relations between persons; that, for example, places are much like persons in their capacity to elicit love, attention, and concern for their well-being.

[305] Robert Gale, A Sarah Orne Jewett Companion, Greenwood Publishing: Westport, CT, 1999.

Included in this reference book are alphabetically arranged entries for Jewett's writings, characters, family members, friends, acquaintances, and professional associates and admirers. Entries on the most important works and persons include brief bibliographies. The volume begins with a concise introductory essay, and a chronology highlights the chief events in Jewett's life and career. The book closes with a general bibliography of works about Jewett. Given Jewett's complex characterizations and her subtle crafting of plots and settings, this book will be a valuable guide both for those approaching Jewett's works for the first time and for more advanced readers.  ( book description.)


[493] Alaimo,Stacy. "Darwinian Landscapes: Hybrid Spaces and the Evolution of Woman in Sarah Orne Jewett and Mary
Wilkins Freeman." Undomesticated Ground: Recasting Nature as Feminist Space.  Ithaca, NY:Cornell University Press, 2000.

Jewett and Freeman are pivotal figures between nineteenth-century domestic feminism and [Mary] Austin's "undomesticated" feminism.  Their fiction carefully documents the details of domestic space even while experimenting with the potential to pose nature as an alternative (feminist) place.  Even more intriguing ... is that both ... narrate hybrid spaces, places that do not conform to boundaries between nature and culture, places where nature takes root in the domestic and the domestic opens out into nature.  Perhaps with the waning of nineteenth-century domestic feminism, Freeman and Jewett were reluctant to completely relinquish a female space, yet were attracted to the expansiveness figured by the natural world. Rather than representing the domestic as a colonizing force that tames and contains nature, nature often seems to have imploded into the domestic realm, leaving an odd, hybrid landscape for women to inhabit.

[497] Palumbo-DeSimone, Christine.  Sharing Secrets: Nineteenth-Century Women's Relations in the Short Story.  Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 2000.

    Seeing women's texts with ... "fresh eyes" allows us to ground nineteenth-century women's writing in a female-centered context and to generate readings of women's lives and works that are substantive, insightful, "complete."  In this regard, the "bold, frank, truthful" story of nineteenth-century women ... may cease to appear "unwritten," and "woman's millennium" may no longer seem such "a great way off."
    The power of the mother-daughter bond to bring together women from across vast distances is at the heart of ... "The Foreigner" .... (68-73).
    [M]any female friendship stories are characterized by a deliberate absence of "action".... The epitome of such "actionless" stories [is] "Miss Tempy's Watchers...." (97-9).
    Jewett's "Martha's Lady" ... brings together many of the characteristics of middle-class female friendship stories (102-7).
    The relationship between "sisterhood" and storytelling is at the center of ... "The Queen's Twin" (128-32).

[306] Johanningsmeier, Charles.  "Dolly Franklin's Decision: Sarah Orne Jewett's Definition of a 'Good Girl.'" Legacy 17,1 (2000): 95-101.

"A Good Girl" is certainly not one of Jewett's masterpieces. Its didacticism, common to much children's fiction of the age, detracts from the ambiguity usually deemed necessary for powerful works of art. Nonetheless, it serves as an important reminder not only of Jewett's ambivalence toward country and city but also her ambivalence about the proper role of women. On the one hand she often wrote about strong, independent women who forged individual identities and created supportive communities of friends. On the other hand, though,  she also wrote about "ideal" girls who assumed traditional roles by devoting themselves to their families, the primary affectional community. To understand Jewett as the complex person she was, it is necessary to acknowledge these ambivalences, prevalent throughout her artistic oeuvre and life, and to investigate the ways in which she negotiated a balancing of her values.     

[307] Murphy, Jacqueline Shea. "Performing Locally: 'The Foreigner' in Jewett." Re-Placing America: Conversations and Contestations: Selected Essays. ed. Ruth Hsu, Cynthia Franklin, and Suzanne Kosanke. Honolulu, HI: College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature, University of Hawaii, with East-West Center, 2000. 55-73.      

In what follows, I propose a reading that sees Sarah Orne Jewett's writings on coastal Maine not only as a nostalgic expression of the heyday of white U.S. imperialism—as recent critics have argued—but rather as only one of multiple stories about ever-changing relations to and in that place.

[308] Kisthardt, Melanie. "Sarah Orne Jewett." American Women Prose Writers, 1870-1920. ed. Sharon M. Harris, Heidi L. M. Jacobs, and Jennifer Putzi. Detroit, MI: Gale, 2000. 219-29.    Dictionary of Literary Biography.

[309] Donovan, Josephine. "Women's Masterpieces." Challenging Boundaries: Gender and Periodization. ed. Joyce W. Warren and Margaret Dickie. Athens, GA: U of Georgia P, 2000. 26-38.  

Stowe, Harriet Beecher (1811-1896); Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852); novel; by women novelists; local color; morality; characterization; compared to Cooke, Rose Terry (1827-1892); "Freedom Wheeler's Controversy with Providence"; Jewett, Sarah Orne (1849-1909); "Miss Tempy's Watchers"; Freeman, Mary Eleanor Wilkins (1852-1930); "Sister Liddy".  (Subject terms from Gale Cengage Learning).

[310] Rust, Marion. "'The Old Town of Berwick,' by Sarah Orne Jewett." New England Quarterly  73.1 (Mar. 2000): p122-58.  

"The Old Town of Berwick" as rendered below replicates an unidated holograph that served as the printer's setting copy for an article appearing in the New England Magazine in July 1894.1 "Dense with historical fact but as intimate and informal as a story told to children," the article is a delightful read. Indeed, nowhere else does Jewett present such an unselfconscious and matter-of-fact account of her views of the town where she grew up, a locale that has occupied scholars of late as they attempt to come to terms with the degree of Jewett's implication in national, as opposed to regional, literary trends.

[311] Heller, Terry. "Speaking Softly to Be Heard: Jewett's Feminist Reform Contributions to The Congregationalist, 1882-1884." Colby  Quarterly 36.3 (Sept. 2000): 209-25.

Judith Butler describes a gender system made up of two major ideas: phallogocentrism and compulsory heterosexuality. Compulsory heterosexuality means mainly that our culture offers only two acceptable forms of gender identity for subjects to occupy: male/masculine and female/feminine. Phallogocentrism conveys the idea that our culture invests its construction of masculine modes of being with power and subordinates feminine modes of being. As Margaret Roman has argued, Jewett's feminist reform was mainly concerned with challenging phallogocentrism. I believe she wanted to do this in her Congregationalist essays by speaking to those of her fellow citizens who felt it was part of their identity as Christians to accept the system in which women are understood to belong to men rather than to themselves; in which women's labor is assumed to be appropriated to the service of families, even if this blocks them from self-realization and deprives society at large of the benefits of their special talents; in which their voices in public affairs are always to be filtered through male relatives. Jewett seems to have set herself the problem of speaking effectively to those who were forbidden to hear such ideas.    


[314] Richardson, Kelly L. "'A Happy, Rural Seat of Various Views': The Ecological Spirit in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs and the Dunnet Landing Stories." Such News of the Land: U. S. Women Nature Writers. ed. Thomas S. Edwards, Elizabeth A. De Wolfe, and Vera Norwood. Hanover, NH: UP of New England, 2001. 95-109. 

In this essay, I will explore how Jewett’s work has affinities with nature writing because of her ecological focus and assertions that the human and nonhuman worlds are intimately intertwined, assertions best illustrated in her 1896 work The Country of the Pointed Firs. I begin by briefly discussing ecocriticism as a critical approach. Next, I examine Jewett’s use of nature in her famous “A White Heron.” I then turn to her The Country of the Pointed Firs to illustrate her ecological concerns through a discussion of key characters who have a personal connection with their surrounding environment. Because religious ideologies often define attitudes toward nature, I will end by analyzing the different representations of spirituality in the work. Ultimately, while we may not be able to classify Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs specifically as “nature writing” as it is most frequently defined in contemporary criticism, I will suggest that this work represents a significant contribution to expanding our understanding of the environment.

[315] Adams, Richard. "Heir Apparent: Inheriting the Epitome in Sarah Orne Jewett's A Country Doctor."  Constance Fenimore Woolson's Nineteenth Century: Essays. ed. Victoria Brehn. Detroit, MI: Wayne State UP, 2001. 67-81.

The "institutions of to-day," wrote Veblen, "are the result of a more or less inadequate adjustment of the methods of living to a situation which prevailed at some point in the past development; and they are therefore wrong by something more than the interval which separates the present situation from that of the past" (207). Jewett, I argue, occupied this interval and found it uncomfortable. To salvage a past predicated on duty and responsibility, while weaning industrial capitalism of its growing attachment to "rights," Jewett patterned her heroine upon a logic of the epitome, and aesthetic economy founded upon a revised understanding of inheritance, perhaps the most crucial mechanism in the development of postbellum American capitalism. A Thacher steeped in the pastoral heritage of Oldfields, and a Dunport Prince who is heir to mercantilism's residual fortune, Nan is the product of a union doubly exogamous. It is by reforming the political economy of inheritance within the economy of Nan's character that Jewett tries to give the burgeoning culture of American capitalism a dutiful pedigree.

[316] Bergmann, Ina. "Stories of Female Initiation: Two 19th Century Examples of Female Professional Success." COPAS: Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies 2 (2001): [Electronic publication].

I want to bring to light two long-neglected stories by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward (1844-1911) and Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909). They are "The Girl Who Could Not Write a Composition", first published in 1871 in the Magazine Our Young Folks and "Farmer Finch", published 1885 in Harpers Magazine. The chosen stories center around two girls initiations occurring while they have to decide on whether to actively take a profession or remain in passive endurance.

[317] Marchand, Mary V. "Cross Talk: Edith Wharton and the New England Women Regionalists." Women's Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 30.3 (June 2001): 369-95.

However, recent scholarship on American women regionalists, which has clarified the extent to which their work forms a distinct and coherent tradition, a tradition that relies on what Josephine Donovan has called a "feminine literary mode" in its depictions of a rich, women-based culture, brings to light a central impulse behind Ethan Frome, one until now not sufficiently clear: Wharton's novel is both a structural and thematic response to the matrifocality of these regionalist texts. It is, inextricably, an aesthetic and political response; this popular tradition of women's writing at once embodies the feminist strategies Wharton opposed and constituted one source of the feminine presence in arts and letters that she and other elite critics repudiated.
    I argue that Ethan Frome rewrites many of the shared conventions of regionalist fiction, but there are good reasons to suspect that she was more narrowly responding to Jewett's work. Few authors were as closely identified with this tradition as Jewett, whose 1896 novel The Country of the Pointed Firs was hailed early on as a masterpiece of the genre.

[318] Brickhouse, Anna.  "The Writing of Haiti: Pierre Faubert, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Beyond." American Literary History 13 (2001), 407-444.

In a very different region, Sarah Orne Jewett's "The Foreigner" (1900) presents a francophone interloper amid the tale's Maine shipping community: the mysterious "French born" wife that Captain Tolland, engaged in the mid-nineteenth-century sugar trade, meets "out in the Island o' Jamaica," where she has sought the aid of the Maine sailors, claiming to have no living family or other connections (533-34). Her racial identity is never explicitly specified, though Mrs. Todd, the internal narrator of the tale, soon qualifies that "she come here from the French islands" rather than France (542). "[W]ell acquainted with the virtues o' plants," the foreigner engages in secretive activities and knows how to "work charms" that hint at vodun (541); upon her death bed, she is visited by the apparition of her mother's "dark face," an event witnessed firsthand by Mrs. Todd (553). The foreigner thus becomes the subject of the first and only ghost story that Mrs. Todd has ever told, occasioned in the text years later by a terrible storm that reminds her of West Indian tidal waves and gets her "dwellin' on 'em so I can't set still in my chair" (530). The natural wonders and dangers of life in a small Maine coastal shipping town, where West Indian trading voyages are frequent, are projected onto the murky genealogies of the French Caribbean, embodied in the ghostly, maternal figure who appears at the end to reclaim the foreigner, the indispensable figure against whom the community has understood and defined itself.

[319] Shepard, Suzanne V.  The Patchwork Quilt: Ideas of Community in Nineteenth-Century American Women's Fiction:  Peter Lang, 2001.  

Nineteenth-century American women's patchwork-quilt fiction sought to redefine the concept of « brotherhood, established in Winthrop's « city upon a hill, by providing an inclusive and matriarchal model for the communal experiment that was America. Patchwork-quilt fiction, from such domestic writers as Susan Warner to local colorists like Sarah Orne Jewett, combines realistic detail with women's metaphors like the hearth, home, kitchen, garden, and quilt, to express feminine ideas about community.  ( book description)

[498] Bloomberg, Kristin M. Mapel. "Unraveling Demeter's Garden: Demeter and Persephone in the Works of Sarah Orne Jewett and Emma D. Kelley-Hawkins." Chapter 3, Tracing Arachne's Web : Myth and Feminist Fiction. Gainesville : University Press of Florida. 2001, 26-52.

Women writers such as Sarah Orne Jewett attempted to create subjective women-centered communities with which to temper the trials and tribulations of patriarchal reality through what can be termed the "magical safety" of women's words.  Although their challenge to patriarchy was by no means "safe" for the careers as literary artists, their worlds of words strove to create a subjective artistic temporality of another time and place that was a fictional "safe space" for readers.  This "magical safety" exists in the gap between patriarchal reality and total femin(ine)ist subjectivity and is fully developed in The Country of the Pointed Firs as an example of women's reality that exists with within yet without patriarchy.



[429] Gollin, Rita K.  Annie Adams Fields: Woman of Letters.  Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002.

    Chapters 16-19 deal substantively with the relationships between Jewett and Annie Fields.

[320] Camfield, Gregg. "Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs as Gossip Manual." Studies in American Humor 3.9 (2002): 39-53.   

This article discusses how Sarah Orne Jewett draws on the traditional source of humor in nineteenth-century literature to inform the novel "The Country of the Pointed Firs." It examines the social-historical framework offered by Jewett's contemporaries' passionate interest in a language that Jewett deploys with wit. The Biblical context from which Jewett's humorous representations of widows emerged and the transformations of that context in work by such precursors as Frances Whitcher is highlighted.  EBSCO abstract.

[321] Baym, Nina. "Women of Letters and Medical Science,"  American Women of Letters and the Nineteenth-Century Sciences: Styles of Affiliation. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2002. 188-191.

Baym ... investigates science in women's novels, writing by and about women doctors, and the scientific claims advanced by women's spiritualist movements. [From the back cover of the book]

[322] Alison Easton, “Nation making and fiction making: Sarah Orne Jewett, The Tory Lover, and Walter Scott, Waverly."  Special Relationships: Anglo-American Antagonisms and Affinities, 1854-1936.  New York: Manchester University, 2002.  139-159.   

For all its deficiencies I want to reinstate The Tory Lover into the narrative of Jewett's career, to identify its ambitions and strengths, and, through placing it in the transatlantic context of Scott's work, to attempt to understand what conflicts its hybrid nature signifies.  I see the novel as an extension of Jewett's earlier explorations in class, gender and region in relation to America following the Civil War.  Whereas her earlier novel, The County of the Pointed Firs (1896), deliberately adressed issues of late-nineteenth-century America by attempting to imagine a present-day utopia (albeit one recognising inevitable insufficiencies and constraints), The Tory Lover approaches the same issues indreictly by constructing a narrative of the Republic's beginnings.

[323] Morgan, Jeff. Sarah Orne Jewett's Feminine Pastoral Vision: The Country of the Pointed Firs.  Lewiston, NY: Mellen, 2002. iv, Studies in American Literature  57.

Few debates have raged so stormily in the last three decades of literary studies as those involving the nature of gender. Dr. Morgan ['s book presents] a refreshing view of (and, at times, a break from) that storm in its assertion of a "pastoral matriarchy as enduring mode" in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs.  [From Roger B. Salomon, Oviatt Professor of English, Emeritus Case Western Reserve University, May 2002, book description at]

[325] Skredsvig, Kari Meyers. "'Places of the Heart': Female Regionalist Writers in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Literature." Revista de Filología y Lingüística de la Universidad de Costa Rica 28.1 (Jan-June 2002): 81-91.

This article is the second in a series of articles which revolve around relationships between women and space. While the previous article concentrates on regionalism in general and its place in the development of U.S. literature (especially in the nineteenth century), in this discussion I focus in greater detail on female writers of regionalist and local color fiction in the last half of the nineteenth century. In so doing, I examine major issues concerning traditional interrelationships of gender, place, and literature, and the ways in which narrative style, strategies, and valuations concern identity, particularly gendered identity. [Author abstract]

[326] Pryse, Marjorie. "'I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool': Regionalizing the Modern in Jewett's A Country Doctor." American Literary Realism 34.3 (Spring 2002): 217-32.

As I argued a couple of years ago in an article in American Literature, Sarah Orne Jewett was already interested in a number of questions before they were "cool." In that article, I specifically addressed categories of sex and class and Jewett's awareness of the ways in which her own work, by resisting classification, produces "category crisis" for modern readers. I ended with a brief reference to the 1884 novel A Country Doctor and the claim that "transitivity much more than tourism serves as our figure for understanding Jewett's border-crossing." I have returned to explore that transitivity, one that moves Jewett, like her protagonist in A CountryDoctor, back and forth across the apparent borders that separate country from city, the regional from the modern, the nineteenth from the twentieth century, but in such a way as to suggest that far from escaping the "country," concepts of the modern themselves owe much to regional constructions.

 [327] Sherman, Sarah Way. "Jewett and the Incorporation of New England: 'The Gray Mills of Farley'." American Literary Realism 34.3 (Spring 2002): 191-216.

…[T]his story centers on a textile mill manager's struggle to help his workers survive a shut-down. The Maine setting here, although still relatively rural, is inland and industrial, and the population is not the homogenous Anglo-American one of Dunnet Landing but a diverse mix of Yankees, French-Canadians, and Irish immigrants. Read within its historical context, the story shows Jewett grappling with the painful economic and social changes brought about by the rise of industrialization and business incorporation.

[328] Zagarell, Sandra A. "Old Women and Old Houses: New England Regionalism and the Specter of Modernity in Jewett's Strangers and Wayfarers." American Literary Realism 34.3 (Spring 2002): 251-64.

In contrast to The Country of the Pointed Firs or frequently anthologized short fiction such as "Miss Tempy's Watchers" (1888) and "Aunt Cynthy Dallett" ( 1899), which can be read as representing rural New England communities as worlds unto themselves, many of the pieces in Strangers and Wayfarers establish modernity as a palpable presence. Many are troubled by tensions between tradition and the new and by the way the delicate balance between change and stability can tip in the direction either of stasis or of upheaval, with devastating consequences. 

[329] Church, Joseph. "Romantic Flight in Jewett's 'White Heron'." Studies in American Fiction 30.1 (Spring 2002): 21-44.

Although "A White Heron" can be read as a species of realism--nothing in the story appears inconceivable--the tale is best understood, I believe, as a romance.  In her rendering, Jewett pays little attention to particularities and instead establishes the setting and characters as largely symbolical, representative: a manufacturing town, dark woods, an affectionate girl, a kindly grandmother, a nameless hunter. Romance of course requires that we work to determine what these elements symbolize, what the romance allegorizes.

[330] Johanningsmeier, Charles. "Subverting Readers' Assumptions and Expectations: Jewett's 'Tame Indians'." American Literary Realism 34.3 (Spring 2002): 233-50.

Although many Jewett stories from these [religious] periodicals are worth examining, one is especially significant because of the ways it exhibits Jewett's anxieties about -- and strategies in dealing with -- issues of audience, race, regionalism, religion, and narrative technique. This story, "Tame Indians," appeared in The Independent on 1 April 1875, .... Based on Jewett's visit to the Oneida Indian Reservation of Wisconsin in November 1872, "Tame Indians" reveals a great deal about Jewett at an early age and refutes many of the commonly held assumptions about her writing in the 1870s. ... [I]t becomes clear that the story rehearses Jewett's own dilemma about how best to represent the racial or rural "other" to what she perceived as her genteel, urban audience.  Should she commodity her subjects to satisfy what she thought were her readers' voyeuristic, touristic desires, or should she challenge them to recognize how and why they often misunderstood people from other races and regions? With "Tame Indians" Jewett chooses the latter course.

[331] Brown, Bill. "Regional Artifacts (The Life of Things in the Work of Sarah Orne Jewett)." American Literary History 14.2 (Summer 2002): 195-226.

In the following pages, then, rather than "reading regionalism back into its original scene of operation" (Brodhead 134), understood as the literary scenes of writing and reading, I read The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) into a more expansive scene of anthropological and historical thought—which is to say back into those scenes from which the legitimation of such scenic thinking originally derives. I do so in part to demonstrate Jewett's ambivalence about the "scene-agent ratio," to borrow Kenneth Burke's phrase, the ratio that establishes a "synecdochic relation" between place and person and equates the quality of character with the quality of the context by which that character is contained.

{332] Hamlin, Annemarie. "Consciousness and Communication in Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Consciousness, Literature and the Arts 3.2 (Aug. 2002): [Electronic publication].     

Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) is a work highly informed by spiritualist practices, yet it does not feature the seances, the spirit rappings, or stage-show trances utilized by Jewett's earlier literary colleagues. In fact, the presence of spiritualism is so subtle that the novel has rarely been examined in the context of spiritualist practices. This article offers a new way to read The Country of the Pointed Firs--through the historical lens of Jewett's fluency with spiritualism--and argues that in writing the novel, Jewett herself offered Americans a new way to think about the altered states of consciousness produced through spiritualistic practices.

[333] Tucker, Edward L. "A New Letter by Sarah Orne Jewett." ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews 15.4 (Fall 2002): 39-41.

The Princeton University Library has recently acquired the correspondence of The Independent, a New York weekly periodical, for the years 1882 to 1899, and among the letters is one by Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909). Written to her friend Susan Hayes Ward, sister of one of the editors of The Independent,( n2) and printed here for the first time....

[488] Hamelin, Sarah, "Gender, History, and Nature in Sarah Orne Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs." Maine History 41 (2002): 61-80.

Sarah Orne Jewett's beautifully crafted stories of life on the Maine coast helped to make this section of our state a nationally recognized landscape icon.  Her characters, however, are not what we would expect to find in a state renowned for male-dominated pursuits like deep-sea fishing, logging, and river-driving.  Jewett's people -- the inhabitants of Dunnet Landing -- are generally old and female.  In describing them, she presents us with a picture of coastal life as a gentlewoman's world.  Jewett accents gender and age by setting her characters against a backdrop of nature and history. [Abstract].

[472] Dawson, Janis. "Literary Relations: Anne Shirley and Her American Cousins." Children's Literature in Education 33.1 ( March 2002): 29-51.

This article examines the similarities between L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and Kate Douglas Wiggin’s Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. It raises a number of questions about the Canadianness of Montgomery’s best loved novel and considers the author’s literary indebtedness to Wiggin and other American authors including Gene Stratton-Porter and Sarah Orne Jewett. It concludes with the argument that even though statements regarding Anne’s originality and distinctive Canadianness are problematic, as a literary work, Anne has real strengths that make it more than a simple formula story. Anne of Green Gables is the work of a consummate storyteller. [Abstract]

[334] Anderson, Donald. "Jewett's 'Foreigner' in the Estranged Land of Almira Todd." Colby Quarterly 38.4 (Dec. 2002): 390-402.

In her Dunnet sketch "The Foreigner," one of those four afterpieces to the original Country of the Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett structured a ghost story that is more unsettling for the way in which the storyteller is haunted into the twistings of penance than it is for its spectral climax. The tale is delivered in such a way that the climax itself comes not as a heightening of terror but rather as a self-permitted reprieve for its narrator, Almira Todd, from her own afflicted memory. Throughout Jewett's Dunnet material, Mrs. Todd generally appears to function as an outcropping of control and capability in her coastal Maine village. While we know she has suffered her own losses—an early lover to family pressures and her husband Nathan to the sea--she nonetheless seems to function in her community with the "faculty" of the strongest New England women of her period. In "The Foreigner," however, Mrs. Todd shows susceptibilities to her own culture and her own inner world that make her appear as much adrift within her narrative as the person whose story she relates.  

[335] Donovan, Josephine. "Jewett on Race, Class, Ethnicity, and Imperialism: A Reply to Her Critics." Colby Quarterly 38.4 (Dec. 2002): 403-16.

Whether or not it was their intention, several Sarah Orne Jewett scholars of the recent past have succeeded in establishing as a widely accepted commonplace of Jewett criticism that her work was racist, classist, pro-imperialist -- even "proto-fascist." While these characterizations have already been challenged, the stigmatization that they entail lingers over Jewett scholarship; indeed some of the most recent studies seem to imply that there is now critical consensus on the issue, that we must reluctantly accept the fact that The Country of the Pointed Firs, for example, was in fact all of the above 3. As these characterizations are simplistic and distortive and as the evidence upon which they are based is both slim and has been ahistorically misinterpreted, further analysis of them would seem to be in order.


[336] Morgan, Jeff, ed.  An Edited Edition of Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs. Lewiston, NY: Mellen, 2003. Studies in American Literature  63.

"This is the only edition of Country to be published as Country was originally published by Houghton in 1896 and have an introduction that stays true to the original narrative. Many of the other extant editions had later stories interpolated into the original narrative which disrupted the narrative line, or added in at the end."  From the Mellen Press website.  Note, however, that the claim would seem spurious, given the 1997 facsmile edition by Sarah W. Sherman and several other editions from the Norton edition of 1968 to the present.

[470] Corona, Mario. "F. O. Matthiessen and Sarah Orne Jewett: the Beginnings of a Critical Career." Public and Private in American History: State, Family, Subjectivity in the Twentieth Century. ed. Baritono, Raffaella, et al. Turin: Otto, 2003. 249-260.

Matthiessen's first published book was the 1929 biography of Sarah Orne Jewett ....  It presents itself as a labor of love in more ways than one.  There is love for New England,....  Love for a woman writer of the old school, who aroused in him certain nostalgic sympathy and with whom ... he shares the unruliness of her affections while downplaying their power.  Love for the memory of his mother, Lucy Orne, a relative of Jewett.... And love for his partner who had initially suggested the study of Jewett and later contributed some of his paintings and illustrations for the book.... [T]he links between the book and this network of circumstances ... are stronger than they at first appear.

[337] Shelston, Alan. "From Cranford to The Country of the Pointed Firs: Elizabeth Gaskell's American Publication and the Work of Sarah Orne Jewett." Gaskell Society Journal 17 (2003): 77-91.      

In this second of two articles on Elizabeth Gaskell's American connections I plan first to outline the history of the publication of her work in the United States during her own lifetime, and then to consider the popularity of Cranford in that country in the years following her death. I shall conclude by discussing the work of the New England writer, Sarah Orne Jewett, whose story sequences, Deephaven (1877) and The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), clearly reflect the influence of Gaskell's work.

[338] Kilcup, Karen L. "Sarah Orne Jewett 1849-1909." American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies: Retrospective Supplement II: James Baldwin to Nathanael West. ed. Jay Parini. New York, NY: Scribner's, 2003. 131-51.

[339] Gentile, Kathy Justice. "Supernatural Transmissions: Turn-of-the-Century Ghosts in American Women's Fiction: Jewett, Freeman, Wharton, and Gilman." Approaches to Teaching Gothic Fiction: The British and American Traditions. ed. Diane Long Hoeveler and Tamar Heller. New York, NY: Modern Language Association of America, 2003. 208-14. Approaches to Teaching World Literature  79.  New York, NY.

Focuses mainly on "The Foreigner."  Contextualizes all the stories within the rise of the popularity of spiritualism and the respectability of psychic research.  Jewett's stories generally attend in various ways to a permeable boundary between our mundane world and a spiritual world "beyond this one."  Can see it in the Littlepage episode of Country, and especially in "The Foreigner," where Mrs. Todd refers to the nearness of the two worlds that she has experienced by seeing the ghost of Tolland's mother.  Importance of Swedenborg to Jewett's thinking.  Editor's description.

[340] Fetterley, Judith and Margorie Pryse. Writing out of Place: Regionalism, Women, and American Literary Culture.  Urbana: U of Illinois P, 2003. 

In a series of sketches, regionalist writers such as Alice Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett, Grace King, and Sui Sin Far critique the approach to regional subjects characteristic of local color and create a countertradition of American writing whose narrators serve as cultural interpreters for persons often considered "out of place" by urban readers. Reclaiming the ground of "close" readings for texts that have been insufficiently read, Writing Out of Place presents regionalism as a model for narrative connection between texts and readers and as a rich source of unconventional and counter-hegemonic fictions. Judith Fetterley is Distinguished Teaching Professor and MarjoriePryse is professor of English and women's studies at the University at Albany, SUNY and co-editors of American Women Regionalists,1850-1910: A Norton Anthology.  ( book description).

[341] Elliott, James P. "'Doubling': Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs as Artistic Bildungsroman." Colby Quarterly 39.2 (June 2003): 175-84.

In the last sentence of the concluding chapter of The Country of the Pointed Firs, entitled "The Backward View," Sarah Orne Jewett's narrator is casting a long gaze back toward the small Maine sea-coast village in which she has spent a bucolic summer vacation. A "little coastwise steamer" is transporting her back to civilization--Boston, presumably. Since the work's publication in 1896, many commentators have implied that this gaze is filled with melancholy nostalgia for a lost world. Initially the work was considered a series of sketches yearning for the stable values of a New England rural past; more recently, feminist critics have called attention to Jewett's celebration of the nurturance, homeopathy, and women's voices relegated to a feminine utopia devoid of mastering patriarchal influence. But the novel speaks to me because it prefigures my concerns about the place of the artist and thinker in an unstable, postmodern, media-saturated world of international corporate culture in which value is grounded in desperate attempts to cling to binarial difference.

[489] Wess, Robert. "Geocentric Ecocriticism." Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 10.2 (Summer 2003): 1-19.

[G]eocentric ecocriticism would pose some difficult theoretical issues, but exploring these issues allows one both to see more fully what it would mean for ecocriticism to be rigorously geocentric and to estimate more precisely the value of such an ecocritical strategy.... [A] concluding section will offer an interpretation of Sarah Orne Jewett's classic short story, "A White Heron." An example of geocentric ecocriticism, this interpretation will also aim to bring abstractions considered earlier down to the concrete level of Jewett's fictional details in an effort to clarify anything that may initially have seemed too abstract.

[342] Palmer, Stephanie C. "Travel Delays in the Commercial Countryside with Bret Harte and Sarah Orne Jewett." Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory 59.4 (Winter 2003): 71-102.  Reprinted in Palmer's Together by Accident: American Local Color Literature and the Middle Class. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009, chapter 2.

The following chapters will examine how various writers negotiated between people like farmers, fishermen, day laborers, or domestic servants that they readily identified as regional, as stuck in place, people they often found fascinating yet threatening, and the bourgeois tourists and readers residing either in or outside the region whose views they sought to shape.  The motif of the travel accident exposes the conflict and ambivalence and irony of the endeavor.  By stopping business travelers or vacationers in poor villages that refuse to be picturesque among people who refuse easy legibility, these writers seek to correct vacationer fantasies of unconstrained movement and unlimited access to specific communities.  In a gesture that often distinguishes middle-class from elite texts, the motif sometimes underwrites the middle-class ideological project of lifting itself above the ignorant folk and showcasing its moral superiority over the idle rich.  More frequently, and more interestingly, however, the motif exposes a desire for carving a personal space among those folk. 
    Unlike Harte's and Jewett's better known work, the texts discussed in this chapter [2] comment directly on how commercialized tourism has changed the local economy and society.  As an organized tourist industry emerged in many areas of the nation in the 1850s and 1860s, travel writers and journalists began to focus on the new antiquated feel of receiving assistance, food, or shelter from people outside this industry.  Different writers co-opted the ideological potential of these stories for different purposes.  The stories of spontaneous hospitality that appears in arts and letters magazines focused more and more on such moments as opportunities for illustrating the sightseer's superior modernity.  In contrast, Harte [in "Miggles"] and Jewett [in "The Life of Nancy,"] encourage readers to feel like they are bumping up against people who are as modern as themselves.

[408] Wetzel, Nancy Mayer.  "The White Rose Road: Sarah Orne Jewett's Journey to Orris Falls." Internet publication at the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project.

Although Jewett used more description than identification in "The White Rose Road," a close look at gravestones, topography, genealogies, vital records, deeds and an 1872 atlas reveals her sketch to be surprisingly literal.

[ 431]  Sawaya, Francesca. Modern Women, Modern Work: Domesticity, Professionalism, and American Writing, 1890-1950. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2003.

Like Addams, Jewett had grown up with representations of a homogeneous American democracy based on rural, small-town life; and also like Addams, she had recourse to these representations in attempting to understand and address contemporary issues. But even in using these representations of social order, Addams and Jewett invoked newer models. While the house, with women at the head, could be imagined by these upper-class, white, progressive feminists as a site where national unity could be achieved, it was a new kind of house, a house that reflected these women's ideas about education and leisure. Unity based on the home became more importantly unity based on transhistorical cultural values -- values that educated women particularly understood. These women imagined themselves as professional mediators at a kind of national soiree, able, because of woman's past of domesticity but more crucially because of her present cultivation, to introduce the disparate and frequently opposed social groups that made up American life to each other and to show these groups their transcendent commonalities. Jewett's regionalism, then, is part of a new movement to revise the meaning and use of the home, to insert women into the world of professional work both through their past and especially through their present ability to transcend that world.

[437]  Ryden, Kent.  "New England Literature and Regional Identity," in A Companion to the Regional Literatures of America. Ed. Charles L. Crow. Malden: Blackwell, 2003.

The Country of the Pointed Firs ... both reinforces the sense of regional identity argued for by the colonial revival and contains within its pages the seeds of a critique of that same identity.


[343] Allred, David A. "Folklore Performance, Local-Color Fiction, and Sarah Orne Jewett's 'Miss Tempy's Watchers'." Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 60.4 (2004): 155-64.

     …Finally, and most importantly for this article, Judith Fetterly and Marjorie Pryse locate in some local-color fiction, especially that written by women, an authorial sympathy and a “desire not to hold up regional characters to potential ridicule by eastern urban readers but rather to present regional experience from within, so as to engage the reader’s sympathy and identification (“Introduction,” Writing Out of Place xii).
     This paper deals most specifically with this last critical stance as it reads Sarah Orne Jewett’s short story “Miss Tempy’s Watchers,” which was written in 1888 and first published in The Atlantic Monthly. The story tells of two acquaintances holding a wake for their common friend, Miss Temperance Dent, who has passed away. Rather than being merely a quaint and sentimental local-color story depicting the custom of New England wakes, the story is one of reconciliation and sympathy as Mrs. Crowe and Sarah Ann Binson come to new understanding of one another as they watch at the wake of Miss Tempy. Reading the story through a folklore lens shows that this understanding occurs because of the performance of a locally significant ritual. The characters’ performance in holding the wake creates a liminal and set-apart space the wake provides that allows them to eulogize Miss Tempy and reorganize their social relationship.

[344] Fleissner, Jennifer.  Women, Compulsion, Modernity: The Moment of American Naturalism.  Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2004.

The 1890s have long been thought one of the most male-oriented eras in American history. But in reading such writers as Frank Norris with Mary Wilkins Freeman and Charlotte Perkins Gilman with Stephen Crane, Jennifer L. Fleissner boldly argues that feminist claims in fact shaped the period's cultural mainstream. Women, Compulsion, Modernity reopens a moment when the young American woman embodied both the promise and threat of a modernizing world. ... Fleissner shows that this era's expanding opportunities for women were inseparable from the same modern developments—industrialization, consumerism—typically believed to constrain human freedom. With Women, Compulsion, and Modernity, Fleissner creates a new language for the strange way the writings of the time both broaden and question individual agency.  Book description from University of Chicago Press.

[345] Gillin, Edward. "Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the Old Soldier of The Country of the Pointed Firs." War, Literature, and the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities 16.1-2 (2004): 86-103.

This article critically appraises the book "The Country of the Pointed Firs," by Sarah Orne Jewett. It is understandable that critics of Sarah Orne Jewett have largely ignored this particular historical background. Jewett was, after all, a teenaged girl at Berwick Academy during the Civil War. The major works of her career, climaxing with "The Country of the Pointed Firs." Most present-day scholars have particularly appreciated the book for its sensitive depiction of women's lives and the spirit of female solidarity it celebrates. The relative unimportance of men in the novel appears to be explained by the decline of New England fishing and shipping during an era of industrialization and rapid development in other parts of the nation. Yet the Civil War's legacy at this historical moment deserves consideration.  EBSCO abstract.

[496] Zapędowska, Magdalena. "An Arcadia in Maine: the Pastoral in Sarah Orne Jewett's Dunnet Landing." Traveling Subjects: American Journeys in Space and Time. Dominika Ferens, Justyna Kociatkiewicz, and Elżbieta Klimek-Dominiak, editors. Cracow, Poland: Rabid, 2004, 57-70.

The nostalgia of Pointed Firs reflects Jewett's perception that even if it is timeless, the archaic world peopled with elderly women and a handful of feeble old men is nearing its close, and the latest continuers of age-old customs are also the last.... Jewett witnessed and regretted the decline of such traditional rural communities.... To describe this world while it still existed was the only possible mode for arresting time and change.

[346] Heller, Terry. "Living for the Other World: Sarah Orne Jewett as a Religious Writer." Spectral America: Phantoms and the National Imagination. ed. Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock. Madison, WI: Popular, 2004. 78-100. Ray and Pat Browne Book  Madison, WI.

Gently but firmly presented in a large body of fiction, poetry, essays, and letters, Jewett’s religion of friendship contributes to a cultural project shared by many post-Civil War women regionalists, to forward an alternative model that could replace the public culture these writers saw as increasingly characterized by materialism, extreme individualism, impersonal patriarchal institutions, capitalist commercialism, and an appropriating colonialism.

[347] Castor, Laura. "Making the Familiar Strange: Representing the House in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'The Landscape Chamber' and Linda Hogan's 'Friends and Fortunes'." The Art of Brevity: Excursions in Short Fiction Theory and Analysis. ed. Per Winther, Jakob Lothe, and Hans H. Skei. Columbia, SC: U of South Carolina P, 2004. 138-50.

In her collation of stories by Hogan and Jewett, she points to a common denominator in the two stories ["Friends and Fortunes" and "The Landscape Chamber"]: the image of the house may suggest something familiar and safe but also may be a space that is strange, carrying the power to frighten.  The short story, with its innate capacuity for poertraying moments of truth, lends itself particularly well to capturing the movement across the border between the familar and the strange.  Drawing on the analyical strategies Gaston Bachelard has developed in The Poetics of Space, Castor pits a twentieth-century story by Chickasaw writer Linda Hogan against a largely unknown nineteenth-centruy local color story by Sarah Orne Jewett.  Thought there are dispairties ...they share a common interrest in using the house as a trope for exploring gendered social relations and the relations betrween humans and landscapes.  Both writers, Castor argues, "challenge the Western, dualistic oppositions between man, history, and agency on the one hand, and woman, nature, and passivity on the other." [From the book's introduction.]

[348] Mayer, Sylvia. Naturethik und Neuengland-Regionalliteratur: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rose Terry Cooke, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. Heidelberg, Germany: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2004. 275 pp. American Studies: A Monograph Series  116.  Heidelberg, Germany.

Die Studie situiert Texte der Regionalliteratur Neuenglands, die im Zeitraum 1857 bis 1918 publiziert wurden, im zeitgenössischen amerikanischen Umwelt- und insbesondere Umweltschutzdiskurs und fragt nach den argumentativen wie narrativen Formen ihrer Partizipation an der in dieser Zeit geführten naturethischen Debatte. Gegenstand der Untersuchung sind Romane und Kurzgeschichten Harriet Beecher Stowes, Rose Terry Cookes, Sarah Orne Jewetts und Mary E. Wilkins Freemans. Die Analyse des Spektrums naturethischer Argumentationsmuster zeigt, von welch hoher Bedeutung die Frage nach der Qualität der Interaktion von Mensch und Natur in den Texten ist, und sie macht deutlich, daß eine naturethische Positionierung maßgeblichen Einfluß auf die Konstituierung individueller, regionaler und auch nationaler amerikanischer Identität hat.  Description from

The gist of this in English:  Study of New England regional literature (1857-1918) in the context of late 19th-century environmental discourse, particularly ethical debates about environmental issues.  The quality of interaction between people and nature proves to be a central concern of these writers, influencing the constitution of American identities at individual, regional, and national levels.  [Assistance is welcome.]

[349] Kilcup, Karen L. "Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." American Writers: Classics, Volume II. ed. Jay Parini. New York, NY: Scribner's, 2004. 69-88.

In addition to her preservation of a particular view of rural New England life, one of Jewett's greatest contributions is to the form and importance of storytelling itself: the stories we tell and how and to whom we tell them are, she suggests, of essential meaning. Critiquing the notion of the novel as a long book with a single plot, tension, and climax, and an attractive young heroine (or hero), Jewett's modern, even postmodern, narrative of friendship offers a network of resonant stories and older characters—with Dunnet Landing and nature itself figuring as important characters—that raise important philosophical and ethical questions about such issues as the shape of authentic relationships, the meaning of community, and the future of America.

[350] Dowdell, Coby. "Withdrawing from the Nation: Regionalist Literature as Ascetic Practice in Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 21.2 (2004): 210-28. 

Using the region of Dunnet Landing as a test case, The Country of the Pointed Firs sheds light on the difficulty inherent in representing the region as an autonomous space while ensuring fidelity to the nation's investment in consolidating, protecting, and perpetuating regionalism. By considering the dual representation of Poor Joanna's life or the way the text's male figures interrupt the depiction of Dunnet Landing as an idealized community, the local color representation of regional space is balanced with a textual practice that questions the possibility of representing the region as an idealized community. Attention to Captain Littlepage's arctic community, Poor Joanna's ascetic retreat, Mrs. Blackett's self-forgetfulness, and Elijah Tilley's inept hospitality highlights the text's preoccupation with the relationship between two ostensibly oppositional textual practices. Rather than Brodhead and Kaplan's reduction of regionalist literature as exclusively complicit with nationalist assumptions or Fetterley and Pryse's separation of literary regionalism's critical and compliant elements into regionalist literature and local color respectively, the richness of literary regionalism resides in the inextricable relation between region and nation. Finally this is a relation that, regardless of its specific constitution, announces not only the place of the region in the "question of the American" but also the place of America in the region.

[351] Lee, Kyungran. [Women and Community: Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs]. Journal of English Language and Literature/Yǒngǒ Yǒngmunhak 50.2 (2004): 391-421.


[352] Aydelott, Kathrine C. "'New Neighbors': A Newly Discovered Sarah Orne Jewett Story." American Literary Realism
36.3 (Spring 2004): 256-68.

[T]he discovery of "New Neighbors" is significant. First, any new Jewett story expands her oeuvre and helps us understand her creative process.

[353] Sandilands, Catriona. "The Importance of Reading Queerly: Jewett's Deephaven as Feminist Ecology." Isle: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 11.2 (Summer 2004): 57-77.

I would … like to offer a different reading of Jewett's ecofeminism: I want to argue … that Jewett's sadness for the past needs to be placed directly alongside her gender and sexual resistance, and that her admiration for elements of a passing rural nature coexists with and informs an unnostalgic feminism based on a central valuation of women's ability to choose their futures.  In particular, rural nature authorizes a tradition of women's relatibve autonomy that extends, for Jewett, into her contemporaries' romantic friendships and lifelong female partnerships.  We must thus read Jewett queerly in order to understand her ecology.

[354] Roudeau. Cécile. "The Country of the Pointed Firs: Etat des lieux. Le Dess(e)in contrairé ou 'l'empaysement' de la forme." Revue Française d'Etudes Américaines 101 (Sept. 2004): 24-38.

Caught between genres as both a novel and a collection of stories, hovering between a regionalist claim and a nationalist plot, The Country of the Pointed Firs, the most local of local texts, has, oddly enough, long proven "out of place," stubbornly resisting the categories in which critics have placed it. Eschewing such a compulsary categorization, this article focuses on the constant dialogue, within the text, between two narrative postures: appropriation -- the temptation to impose, from the exterior, a traditional, linear plot upon the country -- and belonging, a desire to be one with the country which allows the country's design to emerge from within. However, this counter-plot is not so much a transformation of the country of the pointed firs into a "region" (i.e. into the very site of the critical, of counter hegemony), as an attempt to "regionalize" the very concept of nation, reversing the point of view from which the nation is created by rooting it in the region itself. In its design as well as in its intention, then, Jewett's text subverts the very categories upon which it rests -- country, nation, region.  JSTOR abstract.

[355] Nicosia, Laura. "Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Explicator 62.2 (Winter 2004): 89-91.

In Sarah Ome Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, three chapters of anticipation and preparation pass before the scattered Bowden clan actually gathers for its annual reunion. In this private drama of a family gathering, the ritualized process of preparation comes to fruition as a public "altar to patriotism, to friendship, to the ties of kindred." As a narrative of community usually does, the reunion and its preliminary preparations re-establish long-standing bonds of kinship, explore the relationship of the individual and the community, navigate the zones between the public and the private, give voice to the outsiders, and use domestic and private rituals to bolster the sense of community.

[407]   Sedlacek, Sharon K. "The King of Folly Island": The Necessity of Balance for the Prevention of Folly.  Coe College Senior Seminar Essay, April 2004.  

Sarah Orne Jewett admired John Campbell Shairp's idea that, "We are in the world for our spiritual education and every thing is planned for that isn't it? - and success is not a thing of chance but a thing of choice with us" (Blanchard 69). In "The King of Folly Island" (1886), Jewett weaves a story that ultimately shows us how the choices we make determine our moral behavior and affect our spiritual growth. She also shows us that in order to achieve spiritual growth and reach our greatest human potential, we have to understand the necessity of balance between masculine and feminine qualities, and we have to realize the importance of community, with a balance between self and others.


[356] Petrie, Paul R. Conscience and Purpose: Fiction and Social Consciousness in Howells, Jewett, Chesnutt, and Cather. Tuscaloosa, AL: U of Alabama P, 2005. xvii, 234 pp. Studies in American Literary Realism and Naturalism  Tuscaloosa, AL.

Paul R. Petrie explores the legacy of Howells’s beliefs as they manifest themselves in Howell’s fiction and in the works of three major American writers--Charles W. Chesnutt, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Willa Cather. Each author struggled to adapt Howells’s social-ethical agenda for literature to his or her own aesthetic goals and to alternative conceptions of literary purpose. Jewett not only embraced Howells’s sense of social mission but also extended it by documenting commonplace cultural realities in a language and vision that was spiritual and transcendent. Chesnutt sought to improve relations between Anglo readers and African Americans, but his work, such as The Conjure Woman, also questions literature’s ability to repair those divides.
    Finally, Petrie shows how Cather, as she shifted from journalism to fiction, freed herself from Howells’s influence. Alexander’s Bridge (1912) and O Pioneers! (1913) both make reference to social and material realities but only as groundwork for character portrayals that are mythic and heroic. The result of Petrie’s exploration is a refreshing reassessment of Howells’s legacy and its impact on American literature and social history at the turn of the century. [From Google Books description].

[357] Browner, Stephanie. "Gender, Medicine, and Literature in Postbellum Fiction."  Profound Science and Elegant Literature: Imagining Doctors in Nineteenth-Century America.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005. 150, 170-173.

I conclude by looking at Sarah Orne Jewett's and Henry James's efforts to rewrite conventional gender codes as they imagine the doctor, male or female, as one who brings together scientific and aesthetic ways of knowing….Thus, while Howells and Phelps define medicine narrowly, Jewett suggests that good doctors must attend to the patient's body and spirit and to the physical and spiritual health of the entire community…. For Jewett, medicine offers a cure for the malaise of modernity not because it addresses the physical degeneration that ... Medical work itself does not capture Jewett's imagination, but the image of the doctor devoted to transforming,... [Snippets from Google Books].

[358] Jewett, Sarah Orne. A Country Doctor. ed. Frederick Wegener. New York, NY: Penguin, 2005

[O]ne would in fact be hard pressed to come up with an earlier work of American fiction in which the Bildungsroman is so fully and thoroughly appropriated by a writer of Jewett's sex, or adapted more effectively to the task of capturing the developmental trajectory of a female rather than a male protagonist.

[359] Jewett, Sarah Orne. The Country of the Pointed Firs and Selected Short Fiction. ed.Ted Olson. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble, 2005.

Even the title of Sarah Orne Jewett’s most celebrated work seems to revel in the love of landscape and language that flows through it. Though nominally a novel, The Country of the Pointed Firs lacks the coherent, unifying plot of more traditional books. Instead, Jewett creates a mosaic of tales and character sketches, all set in the fictional Maine fishing hamlet of Dunnet Landing. The unnamed narrator, an unmarried female writer (like Jewett herself), has come to the town seeking a summer of solitude and work. But she’s drawn to the villagers she meets. Most of them are over sixty, alone, and covering a roiling inner ocean of feeling with a craggy exterior as rocky as the ragged coastline. Entranced by their stories, she allows them to enter her life. [From Google Books description]

[360] Heller, Terry. "Eunice and the Jade Gods: Jewett's Religious Rhetoric in A Country Doctor." Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 22.2 (2005): 158-75.      

Readers who respond to Jewett's subversive rhetoric, whether or not they understand how it works, may shift from Mrs. Fraley's to Nan's view of spiritual authority, from reliance upon external author ity toward self-reliance. In this way, Jewett makes use of the kinds of subversive strategies that Butler argues are most likely to bring about change in gender ideology.

[361] Elbert, Monika. "Women's Charity vs. Scientific Philanthropy in Sarah Orne Jewett." Our Sisters' Keepers: Nineteenth-Century Benevolence Literature by American Women. ed. Jill Bergman and Debra Bernardi. Tuscaloosa, AL: U of Alabama P, 2005. 157-89. Studies in American Literary Realism and Naturalism  Tuscaloosa, AL      

In many of Sarah Orne Jewett’s stories, women express their interconnectedness through gift-giving, and the gift becomes a symbol that looms large in the pastoral settings of Jewett’s landscapes.

[362] Tischleder, Bärbel. "Literary Interiors, Cherished Things, and Feminine Subjectivity in the Gilded Age." English Studies in Canada 31.1 (Mar. 2005): 96-117.

I will analyze the literary life of domestic objects in two short stories, one by Sarah Orne Jewett ["The Best China Saucer"] and one by Mary Wilkins Freeman ["A New England Nun]. In these writings, the domestic sphere is the major arena of women's development, influence, and self-articulation, and it is also the realm where the relations between the genders, parents, and children, and, most significantly, people and things are mapped out. I consider the literary treatment of domestic material culture with regard to the cultural revaluation of the so-called "woman's sphere" in mid-nineteenth-century America, which attributed a major responsibility to women as guardians of civilization. In this tradition, the white middle-class home was closely associated with an ideal of feminine domesticity.… While the association of material and psychological forms works rather harmoniously in the work of Stowe, it is rendered more complicated in the stories by Jewett and Freeman where the emotional bonds between female characters and private objects are still significant but have ceased to correspond to an ideal of feminine domesticity in an unproblematic way.

[363] Hsu, Hsuan L. "Literature and Regional Production." American Literary History 17.1 (Spring 2005): 36-69.

These passages complicate one common view concerning the modest or diminutive scale of Jewett's work. Richard Brodhead rightly notes that the "issue of size or scale has formed part of every reckoning of Jewett" (163), but he goes on to reaffirm several critical claims about the author's "limits" and her own "compulsive self-miniaturization" in restraining herself to a "minor," regional form. Brodhead insists that "in choosing the regional form, Jewett also accepted its generic diminution of her work's emotional scale. By its formal operations, regionalism limited the literary work's social horizon to a self-containedly local world" (167). But just as the intense relationships between its female characters belie Brodhead's suggestion that Country explores only diminutive emotions, the book's references to immigration, voyages of discovery, and Maine's lumber industry exceed the protocols of regionalism's spatial and formal constraints. Jewett shows how a community fused together by deeply rooted feelings and day-to-day interactions depends, both economically and emotionally, on commodities and experiences acquired abroad.

[364] Solomon, Melissa. "'The Queen's Twin': Sarah Orne Jewett and Lesbian Symmetry." Nineteenth-Century Literature 60.3 (Dec. 2005): 355-374.

Do some ideas “survive . . . all changes of time and national vicissitudes”? The question belongs to Sarah Orne Jewett (1849–1909), the South Berwick, Maine author whose fictions are spun from communities of widowed women living along the Maine seacoast after the death of the shipping industry in the region during the 1880s. A regional author ever mindful of differences between individuals, regions, and nations, whose fictional sea-captains “knew a hundred ports” and “could see outside the battle for town clerk here in Dunnet,” Sarah Orne Jewett nevertheless invented female characters who share uncanny, sexualized, exactly symmetrical understandings between them. For this reason, I have chosen a key section, “The Queen’s Twin” (1899), of Jewett’s masterpiece, The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), as a paradigmatic text for this larger discussion of lesbian symmetry. In this essay I take one particular work from a late-nineteenth-century American author as my subject and touchstone, but the larger project of this piece is a careful look at how the concept of lesbian symmetry has come into academic critical discourse in the United States at the turn of the [twenty-first] twentieth-first century.

[406] Petsche, Heather.  "A thing to make the angels weep"?:  Evaluating the Plot and Characterization of Sarah Orne Jewett's The Tory Lover.  Coe College Senior Thesis, 2005.
As Jewett tended not to write in any conventional genre, her historical novel should not be expected to fit into conventional standards for that genre. She wanted to present the real issues of the era, specifically political conflict and how it affects two nations of people. Jewett did not focus on stereotypical gender roles for her characters, creating Mary, her female protagonist, as a woman who doesn't annoy readers with her romantic preoccupations. In fact, Mary is refreshingly unconcerned with love – at least at the beginning of the novel. And when she does fall in love with Roger, she has earned a happy ending through her bravery and uncomplaining responsibility. Jewett wrote The Tory Lover to preserve a piece of her heritage and to convey a message of friendship rather than political dissension. Perhaps if critics come to understand this, The Tory Lover will be judged for what it is, and not how it pleases or fails to please in relation to genre expectations.


[366] Mayer, Sylvia. "Literature and Environmental Ethical Criticism: Sarah Orne Jewett's New England Texts." Anglia: Zeitschrift für Englische Philologie 124.1 (2006): 101-21.

Following a brief introduction into key issues of current ethical literary criticism and into the field of environmental ethics, this essay explores New England regionalist texts by Sarah Orne Jewett as sites of inquiry into envrionmentally relevant moral issues.  Jewett's texts were part of the emergence of American environmentalism in the second half of the nineteenth century.  They contributed to the environmentalist discourse as it developed in particular in the activities and publications of movements such as the conservation, preservation and humane movements.  Analysis of the environmental ethical dimension of her texts reveals that the sources of the contemporary philosophical discipline of enviornmental ethics can be understood as reaching far back into literary history. [Author's abstract]

[367] Foster, Travis M. "Matthiessen's Public Privates: Homosexual Expression and the Aesthetics of Sexual Inversion." American Literature: A Journal of Literary History, Criticism, and Bibliography 78.2 (June 2006): 235-62.

My essay asks what is enabled by such critical inquiries into homosexual lives and the texts such lives leave behind. It does so precisely by looking at Matthiessen’s own investigation into the life one lesbian author led a generation before him. Unlike the vast bulk of American Renaissance, Matthiessen’s critical biography, Sarah Orne Jewett (1929), contains content that is explicitly homosexual. While recent criticism into an erotic or sexual dynamic in American Renaissance largely focuses on those moments when the discourses of sexuality are embedded within series of connotations, my essay asks what enables—and is in turn enabled by—denoted vocabularies of homosexuality in a public, published text of literary criticism. Such an examination invites us to read Matthiessen’s first book as a protohistory of what we now call lesbian and gay studies, an exploration into the workings of homosexual identities, homosexual representations, and same-sex desire that Matthiessen finds in both the biographic details of Jewett’s life and in the worlds created by her fiction.

[368] Saur, Pamela S. "The Local Color Ideology of Sarah Orne Jewett." Lamar Journal of the Humanities 31.2 (Fall 2006): 25-34.

In this study, I am accepting the traditional "local color" label and investigating what that label means, in terms of ideology reflected in the natural and human settings of her fiction. Whether one labels Jewett as a "regionalist," "local color writer" or "homesickness" writer (a term one could glean from Blankenship's comments), or a minor or major, good or great American writer, it is undeniable that setting or milieu, both human and natural, is strongly emphasized in her stories, and that she developed the art of story-telling in the context of informative, detailed portraits of locales, chiefly New England and her affectionately portrayed native state of Maine. 

[369] Murphy, John J. "William to Willa, Courtesy of Sarah: Cather, Jewett, and Howellsian Principles." American Literary Realism 38.2 (Winter 2006): 145-159.

The impact of Jewett's work on Cather is evident throughout her major fiction. An element of the paranovel Cather particularly made her own is that of story sharing, the telling of stories to a narrator by other characters or, in third-person accounts, exchanges of stories among characters.

[370] Smith, Gayle.  "'My River … Leads to the Sea': Sarah Orne Jewett's Country By-Ways as Thoreauvian travel Narrative." Concord Saunterer N.S. 14: (2006) 37-59.

Country By-Ways (1881) has not received the same attention and has not often been considered in relation to nineteenth-century nature writing. Made up of five personal essays or sketches and three stories, the volume may at first seem to be a rather miscellaneous collection. Four of the sketches, however, are travel narratives that invite comparison with works such as Susan Fenimore Cooper's 1850 Rural Hours, Hawthorne's "Mosses from an Old Manse" and "Footprints on the Sea-Shore," Thoreau's "Walking," Walden, and most compellingly, A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers. While Jewett's journeys are shorter, tamer, and more local than Thoreau's in A Week, her narrative structure, thematic and philosophical concerns, literary purposes, and authorial tone are markedly similar to Thoreau's. Thoreau's most ambitious and complex travel narrative may well have provided a useful literary model for Jewett as she reshaped some earlier writings into a work deeply personal and local in its material, yet universal in its implications.



[494] Baum, Rosalie Murphy. "Limited Lives in Steinbeck and Jewett." John Steinbeck and His Contemporaries. Stephen K George and Barbara A. Heavilin, editors.  Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2007, 31-42.

Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" and "The White Quail" cry out for comparison with stories in Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs in their similar literary conventions and dramatically different intentions, tones, attitudes, and views of life.  Descriptions of landscape and garden settings, portrayals of domestic life, juxtaposition of insiders and outsiders combine in both writers to create alternative representations of nature and women.

[432]  Breitwieser, Mitchell. "Losing Deephaven: Jewett, Regionalism and the Art of Loss," in National Melancholy: Mourning and Opportunity in Classic American Literature. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2007. 160-246.

In this chapter [6] I will argue that Sarah Orne Jewett began her career as a writer with the insight that ... grieving could be and needed to be taught by practice and example, and that such teaching depends upon the vigor of certain formal and informal vernacular cultural institutions, without which mourning is endangered and rampant melancholia is risked.

[435]  Joseph, Philip. American Literary Regionalism in a Global Age. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2007.

Many regionalist texts feed the fantasy of a hermetic community, sealed off against the corrosive effects of modernity.  Part of the challenge, therefore, is to distinguish between versions of regionalism that speak nostalgically to modern readers and those that might enter actively into a more progressive public dialogue…. Approached selectively, literary regionalism can help us to address the challenges raised by virtual communication and to imagine democratic forms of local community in response to them. [From Introduction]
    In the regionalism of Country, local Norman Americans must not only absent themselves from the modern processes of mixing and massification; they must also distance themselves from the excessive particularity of other ethnic groups.  Those, like Santin Bowden, who fail to pursue affective bonding with fellow nationals such as the narrator risk the loss of their family claim….
    As we learn in the opening chapter, this community is defined, in part, by its "childish certainty of being the center of civilization."  Looked at with this passage in mind, the Bowden reunion is conspicuous for its lack of interest in publicity.  Despite the presence of a writer with national public access, the Bowdens' focus is not their potential future representation in the national sphere but the remembrance of their historical origins. [From Chapter 2]

[371] Porter, David H. "From Violence to Art: Willa Cather Caught in the Eddy." Violence, the Arts, and Willa Cather. ed. Joseph R. Urgo and Merrill Maguire Skaggs. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2007. 295-309. Willa Cather Series  Madison, NJ.

Most critics have followed her [Willa Cather's] lead, portraying her involvement with [Mary Baker] Eddy as a detour that facilitated the meeting with Jewett [in 1908] but, in her writing, at most influenced the portrayal of an occasional character here and there.  I suggest that in fact the time Cather spent working on Eddy has a profound impact on her writing -- perhaps as great as that of Jewett, though very different in kind.

[372] Berte, Ann Litwiler.  "Geography by Destination: Rail Travel, Regional Fiction, and the Cultural Production of Geographical Essentialism."  American Literary Geographies. ed. M. Bruckner and H. L. Hsu.U of Delaware, 2007. 171-190.

Berte ... compellingly tackes the ostensible paradox in the era's celebration of regions and embrace of railroad expansion, "one progressive, the other nostalgic."  Through an examination of travel writing, railway maps, and fiction, particularly Jewett's The Country Doctor, Berte suggests that in the case of both inward-looking regionalist nostalgia and outwardly focused travel, difference becomes the ideological end p0oitn, that both modes contribute to a geographic essentialism that has corollaries in contemporaneous conceptions of identity.  [Nicolas S. Witschi, American Literary Scholarship, 2007, p. 290]

[373] Bergmann, Ina.  "Tomboyism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: Identity Formation, Gender Ambiguity, and Cultural Work."  Cultural memory and Multiple Identities. ed. Rudiger Kunow and Wilfred Raussert. LitVerlag, 2007. 43-56.

... [R]ereads canonical texts by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman as narratives of female initiation.  Hints of androgyny ultimately render the stories signposts of the nation's crisis of identity at the turn of the 20th century.  [Thomas Austenfield, American Literary Scholarship, 2007, p. 479].

[375] Zauhar, Frances M. "Sarah Orne Jewett and the Community of American Authors." Narratives of Community: Women's Short Story Sequences.
ed. Roxanne Harde. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, 2007. 411-431.

In spite of  Jewett's reputation as a regional writer, The Country of the Pointed Firs functions as a landscape map of the much larger American literary tradition in which Sarah Orne Jewett deliberately recasts the status of several conventional genres of American literature: the travel adventure novel, the seduction novel, and the domestic novel among them. Each of these types of fiction can be found in miniature in The Country of the Pointed Firs, and in each case their lessons, demonstrated in tales told to the narrator by other members of the Dunnet Landing community, are reconsidered in the narrator's own shaping of the reports about experiences she relates. While they redefine the relationship between individuals, especially between women, as a formative and exemplary experience of American life, her revisions also and importantly redefine received perceptions about the relationship among the genres and insist upon the appropriateness of placing women authors—in particular, herself—in the American canon: a community of American authors.

[481] Irmscher, Christoph. "When Harry met Annie." Raritan  26.4 (Spring 2007): 155-179.

In his notebook, [Henry] James dispassionately observed that The Bostonians was supposed to be "a study of one of those friendships between women which are so common in New England," like the one between James's own sister Alice and Katherine Loring.  Yet, as Helen Howe has suggested, James's portrayal of Olive Chancellor and Verena Tarrant may also owe something to his acquaintance with the Boston poet, philanthropist, and literary hostess Annie Fields .. and to her "Boston marriage" with novelist Sarah Orne Jewett .... "What Henry James ... found to 'catch at' in the friendship between the two Charles Street ladies we can only guess," Howe writes. This essay is an attempt to do just that.

[376] Freivogel, Victoria. "Christian Symbolism in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction 7.2 (Spring 2007): 136-42.

Although many critics claim the ornithologist, the pine tree, and the white heron are symbolic of Sylvia’s burgeoning sexuality, they are, in fact, significant symbols of Christianity.

[377] Duneer, Anita. "Sarah Orne Jewett and (Maritime) Literary Tradition: Coastal and Narrative Navigations in The Country of the Pointed Firs." American Literary Realism 39.3 (Spring 2007): 222-240.

Jewett's characters' navigations of the "significant environment" of the coastal setting are central to the ways in which the novel integrates the stories of sea and shore. … Mrs. Todd contrasts her own "competent" skill as a mariner with Mr. Dimmick's "inability" to survive on the water. The contrast between Mrs. Todd's "harmony" and the minister's "discordance" with the natural environment corresponds with their dissimilar capacities for human empathy. More than a simple reversal of expected gender roles, this episode elevates Mrs. Todd as a character whose harmonious relationship with the sea symbolizes the humanistic values of the coastal community. 

[378] Donovan, Josephine. "Local Color Literature and Modernity: The Example of Jewett." Tamkang Review: A Quarterly of Literary and Cultural Studies 38.1 (Winter 2007): 7-26.

Sarah Orne Jewett, a white upper-middle-class woman with feminists leanings but also a resident of a marginalized region, appreciative of premodern values, and an affirmer of regional ethnic identity, provides an intriguing model of a writer whose works manifest the local-color resistance to many aspects of modernity but who also appreciates and supports those aspects that were liberative for women.

[379] Railton, Ben. Contesting the Past, Reconstructing the Nation: American Literature and Culture in the Gilded Age, 1876-1893.  Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2007.

Ben Railton seeks to establish a "poetics of historical literature," a framework for understanding literary attempts at "contstructing, conveying, conversing with, or complicating visions of the past."  A series of chatpers examines the ways in which writers in the period looked to and re-created history in the service of four major "questions" of the era: race, Indians, women, and the South.  Railton's far-reaching analysis includes noteworthy close readings of works by Joel Chandler Harris, Chesnutt, Mary Hallock Foote, Harte, Hunt Jackson, Jewett, Harper, Sarah B. Piatt, and Mary N. Murfree.  Railton concludes with a lengthy interpretation of Cable's The Grandissimes as the period's exemplary combination of voice, history, and dialogic content, a form that at one time could still communicate alternative, multiple paths for the history yet to come. [Nicolas S. Witschi, American Literary Scholarship, 2007, pp. 290-291]

[442] Wetzel, Nancy Mayer.  Sarah Orne Jewett Garden Bulletins 2007- ____.

Information and photographs from the landscape gardener of the Sarah Orne Jewett Garden in South Berwick, Maine.


[380] Wilson, Christine. "Delinquent Housekeeping: Transforming the Regulations of Keeping House." Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 25.2 (2008): 299-310. 

Sarah Orne Jewett's Deephaven and Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping portray the quiet lives of rural women involved in the daily matters of keeping house. The trope of the ship punctuates these scenes of domesticity, and through this image Jewett and Robinson question, subvert, and revise conventional ideas about how women relate to space.

[381] Brault, Rob. "Silence as Resistance: An Ecofeminist Reading of Sarah Orne Jewett's 'A White Heron'." New Directions in Ecofeminist Literary Criticism. ed. Andrea Campbell. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, 2008. 74-89.

As ecofeminism continues to gain attention from multiple academic discourses, the field of literary criticism has been especially affected by this philosophy/social movement. Scholars using ecofeminist literary criticism are making new and important arguments concerning literature across the spectrum and issues of environment, race, class, gender, sexuality, and other forms of oppression. The essays in New Directions in Ecofeminist Literary Criticism highlight the intersections of these oppressions through the works of different authors including Barbara Kingsolver, Ruth Ozeki, Linda Hogan and Flora Nwapa, and demonstrate the expansion of ecofeminist literary criticism to a more global scale as well as important connections with the field of environmental justice. This collection offers fresh insight and expands the important discussion surrounding the field of ecofeminism and literature.  [Book description from]

[382] Fogels, Audrey. "French-Born 'Jamaican' in New England, Cultural Dislocation in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'The Foreigner'." Résonances 9 (Feb. 2008): 51-67.

[383] Slote, Ben. "Jewett at the Fair: Seeing Citizens in 'The Flight of Betsey Lane'." Studies in American Fiction 36.1 (Spring 2008): 51-76.

"The Flight of Betsey Lane" implies no critique of U.S. hegemony; yet it also often works against a perspectival regime its leisure-class readers had presumably come to expect, a way of seeing that constructed some human subjects as inherently more qualified for "othering," annexation, and exploitation than others. The story corrects for this national myopia, not through new insight, but by asserting as an alternative the personal, imaginative power of an immediate, authorial eye-witness, granting that "capacity for wonder" to its otherwise dispossessed title character, and meanwhile keeping it from its audience. The citizen-reader whom "The Flight of Betsey Lane" implies cannot be "made to know" or even enjoy the fairs and the new nation they invoke by reading about them. As with studying the Brontës, literary tourism will not do. One must "go there" oneself—and once one has, there's no transcribing the vision for readers situated locally, back home. What the story describes most dramatically is Jewett's own attempt, sometimes faltering, sometimes remarkable, to imagine an enlightened national consciousness as the personal preserve of almost anyone.

[384] Abate, Michelle Ann. "The Tomboy matures into the New Woman: Sarah Orne Jewett's A Country Doctor." Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History, by Michelle A. Abate:  Philadelphia:  Temple University Press, 2008. 50-71. 

Jewett's engagement with fin-de-siecle changes in women's gender and sexual roles also permeated her 1884 novel, A Country Doctor. Rather than exploring general shifts in female identity, it focused on one that was seen as particularly pernicious: the growing number of female physicians.

[385] Noe, Marcia and Ashley Hopkins. "Illuminating the Rhetorical Dimensions of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's 'A Mistaken Charity' and Sarah Orne Jewett's 'The Town Poor,' "with an Annotated Bibliography.  Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction 9.1 (Fall 2008): 24-46.

The article discusses the teaching of literature to students. It analyzes the short stories "A Mistaken Charity," by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, and "The Town Poor," by Sarah Orne Jewett. Teaching with the said literatures could introduce the concept of rhetorical dimensions as revealed in the short stories. (Ebsco Abstract)

[386] Garvey, Ellen Gruber.  'Important, Responsible Work': Willa Cather's Office Stories and Her Necessary Editorial Career. Studies in American Fiction 36.2 (Autumn 2008): 177-196.

In December 1908 Sarah Orne Jewett wrote a much-quoted letter to Willa Cather, in which she urged the younger woman to leave her "incessant, important, responsible work" as an editor at McClure's magazine to devote herself to her own writing. (1) Cather scholars and fans like this letter, since leaving McClure's freed Cather to concentrate on her fiction. But Cather's career in a powerful position in the premier mass medium of her age was transformative. The office was still a new space for women and "going to business" was still a new activity for them. Magazine publishing had considerable attractions for educated women of Cather's period. Cather's work supplied her with income and contacts, and it shaped her writing.


[387] Jewett, Sarah Orne. The Country of the Pointed Firs. ed. Deborah Carlin. Buffalo, NY: Broadview, 2009. 

Pryse argues that "transitivity" correctly identifies the qualities of "liminality and . . . resistance to being confined" (40) that are present both in Jewett's life and in her fiction, and she suggests as well that perhaps the most efficacious strategy for reading and analyzing Jewett's work "is to argue for blurring and creating new categories of analysis" (32). In the sections that follow in this introduction, considerable attention will be paid to potentially productive incidences of such blurring as they occur in Jewett's life, in the definitions of local color and regionalism, in the various permutations of the text as additional chapters are added, and finally, in questions about to what genre The Country of the Pointed Firs most properly belongs, and why such distinctions matter.  

[418]  Jackson, Holly “ ‘So We Die before Our Own Eyes’: Willful Sterility in The Country of the Pointed Firs,” New England Quarterly 82, no. 2 (2009): 279.

Sarah Orne Jewett engages contemporary concerns about the decline of the region due to white reproductive failure.  Balancing this nativist anxiety with feminist utopianism, her work offers a complex appraisal of what it would mean for American women to abandon the imperatives of the family and the racial teleology it was taken to support.

[419] Valerie Rohy, “Local Melancholia: Jewett and Cather.” In Anachronism and Its Others: Sexuality, Race, Temporality (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2009).

Anachronism, specifically in the form of nostalgia, is a central temporal issue not only for Jewett and Cather, but also, I will suggest, for the regional writing of their era and for the queer politics of today.  Reading Country of the Pointed Firs and Sapphira and the Slave Girl, two textual sites that knot together regionalism, retrospection, and queer desire, I want to trace relations among regionalist fiction, retrospection, and lesbian sexuality, beginning in the late-nineteenth- and early twentieth-century critical discourses that position women's regionalist writing within a nascent national tradition.

[388] Paton, Priscilla. "Furry Soul Mates, Aloof Birds, Pesky Rodents: Liminality, Animal Rescue Films, and Sarah Orne Jewett." Of Mice and Men: Animals in Human Culture. ed. Nandita Batra and Vartan Messier. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, 2009. 28-41. 

... [A] book-length collection of essays that examines human views of non-human animals. The essays are written by scholars from Australia, East Asia, Europe and the Americas, who represent a wide range of disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Addressing topics such as animal rights, ecology, anthropocentrism, feminism, animal domestication, dietary restrictions, and cultural imperialism, the book considers local and global issues as well as ancient and contemporary discourses, and it will appeal to readers with both general and specialized interests in the role played by animals in human cultures.  [Book description from]

[389] Love, Heather. "Gyn/Apology: Sarah Orne Jewett's Spinster Aesthetics." ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 55.3 (2009): 305-334.

In the ... essay focusing on themes of female solitude and loneliness in the stories of Sarah Orne Jewett, Love attempts to recuperate the figure of the spinster in a post-radical feminist intellectual climate. Love uses the example of Jewett to illustrate her contention that, despite the increased visibility of the lesbian community in contemporary society, women's intimacies are still best understood within the historical context of social exclusion and suspicion. [Cengage abstract]

[390] Smith, Shawn Michelle. "Laying Claim to the Land(scape): Chansonetta Stanley Emmons (1858-1937)." Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 26.2 (2009): 346-369.

In 1979, when the Franklin Library republished Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories in its collection of the 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature, it illustrated the leather-bound limited edition with images made by a relatively unknown photographer, Chansonetta Stanley Emmons. Like Jewett, Emmons was a daughter of Maine, and like her slightly older compatriot she found inspiration in the simple life of Maine's rural inhabitants.


[448] Donovan, Josephine.  European Local-color Literature : National Tales, Dorfgeschichten, Romans Champêtres.  New York: Continuum, 2010, 12-24 (revision of 378, "Local Color Literature and Modernity: The Example of Jewett"; 176-7.

Jewett's work reflects the author's complex negotiation between the colonized territory to which she belonged – that was home to her but from which she was in a sense exiled by class, education, travel, and metropolitan connections – and the increasingly hegemonic world of modernity to which she was in some ways attracted but by which in many ways repulsed (14).
    [Jewett was] influenced by the European counterparts, particularly by George Sand, although, like most American women writers of the day, she also undoubtedly read and learned from Maria Edgeworth, Sir Walter Scott, and possibly Berthold Auerbach (176).

[422] Walsh, Rebecca. "Sugar, Sex, and Empire: Sarah Orne Jewett’s 'The Foreigner' and the Spanish–American War," in A Concise Companion to American Studies, Edited by John Carlos Rowe (Malden, MA:  Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 303-319.

My argument is that the narrative elements surrounding Mrs Tolland in Jewett’s story have as much to do with US economic, neo-imperialist participation in the exploitation of British and French Caribbean colonies of the past ... as they do with America’s efforts in Jewett’s own writing moment to become a new and better sort of empire all of its own. Certainly, Jewett’s story records the Caribbean rescue of Mrs Tolland as a part of a narrated past, but she constructs this plot precisely at the moment when the national script characterized US intervention in Cuba and the Philippines as an act of heroic chivalry. Remarkably, Jewett’s text openly wonders whether Mrs Tolland, “the foreigner,” should in fact have been brought to America at all, posing questions about the dynamics of rescue and incorporation that speak to the transnational politics of military intervention and annexation on a hemispheric scale.

[391] Easton, Alison. "'Outdoor Relief': Sarah Orne Jewett, Annie Adams Fields, and the Visit in Gilded Age America." Becoming Visible: Women's Presence in Late Nineteenth-Century America. ed. Janet Floyd, Alison Easton, R. J. Ellis, and Lindsey Traub. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi, 2010. 129-151. DQR: Studies in Literature  45.

"In Fields' How to Help the Poor, because of immense economic and social inequalities, being public in a notionally private space provoked disturbance that was controlled by strong regulatory measures of charity work. In some Jewett fictions, however, visiting becomes a space which softens the sharpness of social divisions, or at least disables their power to separate and threaten.  Rather than a dichotomized world, there appears instead to be a continuum, with the distinction between private and public shifting about in the course of a visit.  This is partly because differences of wealth and class are played out in dialogues within smaller, definable communities (for example, rural townships) rather than in the far more bifurcated city.  Jewett takes the same ideal, but one-sided, vision of friendship at the heart of How to Help the Poor and imagines how it might operate in her fictional communities.  Although Jewett's impulse is utopian, the tales deal with the constraints, limitations and indissoluble differences of historical actuality."

[392] Storey, Mark. "A Geography of Medical Knowledge: Country Doctors in Elizabeth Stuart Phelps and Sarah Orne Jewett." Journal of American Studies 44.4 (Nov. 2010): 691-708.

This essay examines two of the best-known postbellum representations of country doctors, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps's Doctor Zay (1882) and Sarah Orne Jewett's A Country Doctor (1884). While they have often been considered from a feminist point of view, this essay seeks both to complement and to argue against these existing readings by bringing a specifically geo-medical framework to bear on the texts. I consider both the thematic and the generic implications of representing country doctors in the postbellum America. I argue that literary representations of country doctors can contribute to an understanding of postbellum medical modernization by decentring it—by, in a sense, allowing us to comprehend the course of modern knowledge from a place usually assumed to remain outside modernity's transformations. Whilst I do, therefore, approach both these novels from a loosely new historicist perspective, I also want to think about how the social context they were engaging with determined, constrained and embedded itself into the thematic, formal and generic makeup of the novels themselves. Ultimately, this essay not only offers fresh readings of two important late nineteenth-century novels, but makes an intervention within the wider debates about nineteenth-century medical history and geography.

[426]  Kelley, Lauren-Claire M. (2010) "The Mind-Body Split: Toward a Queer Temporality in Sarah Orne Jewett's Deephaven," Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Journal: Vol. 1, Article 12.

To read the relationship between Helen and Kate as lesbian has been a prominent, though by no means common, approach since the early nineties, when Judith Fetterley published her analysis “Reading Deephaven as a Lesbian Text.” Fetterley argues that exploring the characters and customs of Deephaven serves as “an acceptable narrative frame for the text of Helen and Kate’s relationship,” but the novel really “takes its shape from [Helen’s] desire for Kate and expresses the anxieties as well the pleasures attendant upon that desire” (1993:166). As there are no explicitly sexual references, and certainly no explicit rejection of heterosexual love, some readers might challenge the choice to read this nineteenth-century text as lesbian. However, if we follow Fetterley’s cue and read Deephaven through Jewett’s life, it is impossible to ignore the romantic nature of the protagonists’ relationship. I use the term romantic, however, not as a synonym for sexual, but as a term for the emotional attachments between women explored by Lillian Faderman in her study Surpassing the Love of Men.

[487] Wilczyński, Marek. "The Poetics of Driftwood: Sarah Orne Jewett on the Course of New England's History." Beyond Philology: An International Journal of Linguistics, Literary Studies and English Language Teaching 7 (2010): 201-211.

Like “The Landscape Chamber,” Jewett’s elaborate palimpsest written on Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher” or Annie
Trumbull Slosson’s story, “A Local Colorist,” which gave its title to a collection published in 1912, [Jewett's] “River Driftwood” belongs to a small group of texts that provided New England local color literature of the post-bellum period with a somewhat surprising metafictional dimension. It is a model of the poetics of nostalgia and accident, a meditation on history, subjectivity, and the long-mapped nature of that region of the United States which grew complex and old enough to experience cultural degradation, never to recover quite fully from its consequences. Rooted in the typological tradition of [Jonathan] Edwards and his seventeenth-century predecessors, continuing [H. D. Thoreau's] A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Jewett’s sketch proclaims its own poetics of driftwood -- the ensuing innumerable volumes of short stories and only one novelistic masterpiece, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman’s Pembroke.


[393] Heller, Terry. "To Each Body a Spirit: Jewett and African Americans." The New England Quarterly 84:1 (2011) 123-58.

Though Jewett’s beliefs about African Americans have received some attention, they are not yet fully explored.  Donovan has identified and discussed those figures who appear in Jewett’s nonfiction.  In her fiction are several former slaves in “The Mistress of Sydenham Plantation” (1888) and in “A War Debt” (1895), and two important slave characters in The Tory Lover (1901).  I believe we may approach nearer the truth on the question of Jewett's beliefs about race by analyzing the ways in which she represents her main African American characters.  Because Zagarell and Schrag have shown that Jewett's thinking about race was highly complex by 1900, I will begin with The Tory Lover, to confirm my agreement with this part of their analysis.  Then I will discuss the two stories, to challenge most previous studies of these earlier works and to suggest that Jewett's thinking about racial issues was more complex than many have thought, even as early as 1888.

[394] Gleason, Patrick. "Sarah Orne Jewett's 'The Foreigner' and the Transamerican Routes of New England Regionalism." Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 28:1 (2011) 24-46.

Imperial nostalgia and amnesia allow for a more nuanced, fluid understanding of Jewett as a regionalist author concerned with bonds between women in a declining community and of the privileged position from which she wrote. The concepts help readers to avoid reductive interpretations of Jewett as either an imperialist protofascist and openly genocidal white supremacist or as a naïve minor writer unaware of and/or unconcerned with US imperial projects and the complex interconnections between the imagined community in which she lived and the materiality of slavery and racialized labor on a global scale. If nostalgia, at its most basic level, is a longing to return to a time and a place that never existed, then Jewett's narrative attempt to collapse the frontiers of US empire in "The Foreigner" can be seen as her effort simultaneously to acknowledge and erase the unassimilable. ... But forgetting is never a perfect process and is never complete. The specters of race and imperialism that haunt both "The Foreigner" and The Country of the Pointed Firs speak to the ultimate impossibility that the regionalist project would be able to incorporate diversity into national homogeneity. What remains, as in "The Foreigner," is a ghost, a counter-history that can never fully be erased.

[453] Plourde, Aubrey E. "A Woman's World: Sarah Orne Jewett's Regionalist Alternative," Rollins Undergraduate Research Journal 5:1 (2011) Article 9.

Although many scholars of American literature overlook Regionalist fiction as a limited field, Sarah Orne Jewett uses her short story “A White Heron” to transcend the boundaries of her genre and the limits of her gender. The story tells of a young girl, Sylvia, who protects a heron from a handsome male hunter despite sacrificing financial gain and possible romance. This essay inspects the text of “A White Heron,” considering the symbolism of nature a female character. Jewett herself viewed sexuality as fluid, and even proposed making lead couples homosexual in service of the narrative. In this view, the character Sylvia’s communion with nature resembles the interplay of lovers, so her choice to protect the heron becomes a social choice to reject heteronormative behaviors and embrace an alternative space dominated by women. Using phallic imagery, classic symbols such as the sun, moon, and firearms, and the unique perspective of a young girl, Jewett champions the genre of regionalism and the right of women to live lifestyles outside the norm. [Author's Abstract]

[490] Greven, David. "Jewett's Mythic Ambivalence: Hellenism, Femininity, and Queer Desire in the Dunnet Landing Stories." Nineteenth Century Studies 25 (2011): 101-120.

The lesbian themes that many critics have found to be articulated with a new degree of clarity in Jewett develop out of her larger uses of myth and allusion....  The effort to problematize Hellenism undertaken in this essay... takes two forms -- the first, a demonstration of the embedded, compound nature of mythic reference in Jewett's work; the second, a consideration, from a psychoanalytic perspective, of the sexual politics of mythmaking, with a specific focus on the relevance of this mythmaking to representations of lesbian sexuality.

[475] Looby, Christopher,  "Sexuality and American Literary Studies" A Companion to American Literary Studies.  ed. Caroline Levander and Robert S. Levine. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., UK, 2011. 422-436.

    "Martha's Lady" does a magnificent job of giving ... a theoretical history of sexual subjectivity in nineteenth-century America ....  All of this, we can speculate, led Jewett to revise "Martha's Lady" for its 1899 republication ... now attributing to Helena a knowing recognition of Martha's lesbianism, a recognition that Martha could not have shared herself because such ascriptive categories were unknown to her.

[476] Goudie, Sean X. "New Regionalisms: US-Caribbean Literary Relations." A Companion to American Literary Studies.  ed. Caroline Levander and Robert S. Levine. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., UK, 2011. 310-324.

    This chapter begins the work of assessing the ways in which cultural imaginaries reinforce and/or resist the emergence of US dominance in the Caribbean American "region," a term deployed in shifting conceptual registers according to the distinct ideological commitments.... [T]his chapter treats two figures who have figured prominently in recent critical reassessments of "New England" and "Western" US regionalist writing traditions respectively, Sarah Orne Jewett and Sui Sin Far, alongside two foundational, if understudied, figures in the Caribbean diaspora literary tradition, Mary Seacole and Eric Walrond.... "Ultimately, Jewett's profoundly ambivalent story [ "The Foreigner"] tends toward the reification of, rather than a truly revolutionary sensibility regarding, the potentially anarchic possibilities of dangerously fluid and racially, ethnically, and exotically charged North American and West Indian Creole-crossed bodies and borders.

[477] Smith, Jennifer Joan. "Locating the Modernist Short-Story Cycle.  Journal of the Short Story in English 57 (Autumn 2011): 59-79.

Jewett’s cycle [The Country of the Pointed Firs] makes especially clear how late nineteenth-century cycles borrow from the conventions of earlier cycles, such as romantic renderings of the geographical features and the use of tourist narrators; however, they also initiate the irony, skepticism and disjunction that figure largely in [Anderson's] Winesburg and later modernist texts.

[465] Linforth, Christopher. "Sarah Orne Jewett." The Anthem Guide to Short Fiction. London: Anthem Press, 2011. 69-82.

    A school text presentation of "A White Heron," with a brief introduction and study guide.


[443] Ensor, Sarah. "Spinster Ecology: Rachel Carson, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Nonreproductive Futurity". American Literature 84.2 (June 2012) 409-435.

Jewett's writing asks us ... to consider the possibility of an affirmative sense of "enoughness," one that allows the past and present and future to coexist ... without impinging upon each other.  Throughout the sketches of Pointed Firs, Jewett presents ... a sufficiency that is neither privative nor the same as completeness; her characters remain suspended in a state removed from hope, removed from longing, where what they have ... manages to be enough.  By presenting characters who turn away without rejecting, whose communities permit their members' backwareness, whose emotions are conveyed in and as their mutedness, Jewett offers us both the affect and the ethical imperative of a spinster ecological future.

[312] Bernhard, Adrienne.  "Topographies Real and Imagined in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'A White Heron.'"  Topodynamics of Arrival: Essays on Self and Pilgrimage. Ed. Gert Hofmann and Snježana Zorić. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi, 2012. pp. 217-229. Spatial Practices: An Interdisciplinary Series in Cultural History, Geography and Literature  14.

In the book’s final chapter, Adrienne Bernhard takes an “eco-critical” outlook on Sarah Orne Jewett’s “preservationist stance towards changes in American life, changes that are reflected in the topographical landscape” of her short story A White Heron. “Eco-topic” descriptions of the space of human living oscillate between the real and the fictitious, between the “natural world” and the “magical world of idealized Nature”, assuming a potentially “restorative effect” of nature on the human self. The inspirational power, or the topo-dynamic impulse ascribed to the site of nature in the Decameron and the Heptameron … has been turned into an ethical challenge to preserve nature as a biotope from which man finds himself increasingly excluded. Here the White Heron’s biotope functions as a sphere of aspiration and exclusion, illusion and disillusionment, desire and deferred arrival – place of the nostalgic vision of a naturally-ethically integrated human self.  [From the Introduction].

[313] Heller, Terry.  "Editions of The Country of the Pointed Firs."  The Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project. 

Because The Country of the Pointed Firs has been organized in several different ways, it can be useful to have a visual record gathered in one place of the main editions to appear between the original publication in Atlantic Monthly during 1896 and the Riverside edition of 1927, including the edition edited by Willa Cather in 1925.  The majority of literary critics to discuss the text of this book argue that Jewett's 1896 text should be viewed as a single whole work, and the subsequently composed Dunnet Landing stories as sequels.

[451]  Jane Silvey, "'The Sympathy of Another Writer':  The Correspondence between Sarah Orne Jewett and Mrs.  Ward," in Transatlantic Women. Edited by Brigitte Bailey and Lucinda Damon-Bach.  Durham: University of New Hampshire Press, 2012, pp. 279-307.

The seventeen-year correspondence between Sarah Orne Jewett and Mrs. Humphry Ward is a prime example of the vitality and importance of transatlantic exchanges between women writers in the nineteenth century.  Reuniting their correspondence, albeit only partially, by slotting Mary Ward's unpublished manuscript letters into the gaps left in Sarah Orne Jewett's one-sided printed correspondence, not only recreates the dynamics of the transnational dialogue between these two women writers, but also allows for a detailed examination of how their literary friendship shaped their work, informed their views, and affected their writing careers.


[444] Kilcup, Karen L.  Fallen Forests: Emotion, Embodiment, and Ethics in American Women’s Environmental Writing, 1781-1924. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2013.  Chapter 4, "Gilt-Edged or 'Beautifully Unadorned.'"

While Berbineau, Wilson, and Larcom speak as the producers of wealth and ease, the resources from which the middle class and affluent draw, the writers in this chapter describe the embodied consumers of material goods and cultural ideologies.  Calibrating their messages to their own consumers -- principally prosperous, educated, urban female readers -- Thaxter, Jewett, Freeman and Hopkins map out connections among fashion, social class, respectability, sexuality, and gender identity in order to argue for women's agency over their physical selves and their immediate environments.

[471] Coviello, Peter M. "Islanded: Jewett and the Uncompanioned Life." Tomorrow's Parties: Sex and the Untimely in Nineteenth-Century America.  New York: NYU Press, 2013.  79-103.
With its striking generic and formal peculiarities -- its resistance, for instance, to the narrative armature of the marriage plot -- Jewett's work can plausibly seem an intimate meditation on the refusal of the lived world to conform to the generic demands of either tragedy or comedy.  But in Jewett's hands these resistances and inflections, these attentions to the messy inextricability of joy and sorrow, amount to something else as well.  She offers ... a reading of being in history that tracks the terrible force of its distortions and captivations even as it adroitly resists the idea that our captivation by something called "history" is remainderless, or that what remains is merely residual and so inconsequential.

[479] Shively, Steven B. "Seeking the 'Quiet Centre of Life': Cather Replies to Sarah Orne Jewett." Willa Cather Newsletter & Review 56:2 (Spring 2013): 13-15.

My favorite Cather letter ... is ... to Sarah Orne Jewett on 18 December 1908. Cather’s lengthy reply to Jewett’s well-known and influential letter advising Cather to give up her magazine work so that she could write from her “own quiet centre of life” came on the heels of her thirty-fifth birthday (she claims to be thirty-four in the letter) and reflects her concerns with aging and her dissatisfaction with her professional life. The letter is profoundly human in its mix of honesty, anxiety, and humor.

[420] Burcham, Carroll.  Sarah Orne Jewett Revealed.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013.

"Sarah Orne Jewett Revealed" ... follows Miss Jewett's personal story in South Berwick, Maine among her relatives and friends and in Boston, Massachusetts, with her mentor and friend, Mrs. James T. Fields (Annie). The book traces Miss Jewett's development as a human being and as an author. The book reveals her passions for the history of her hometown and with its local area residents. It tells of her interrelations with her extended family. It shows her growth in her love of people, of nature, of books and tells about her writing habits and talents. A significant part of the book traces her relationships with the literary elite in America and in Europe, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Willa Cather, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Celia Thaxter, Henry James, Mark Twain, James Greenleaf Whittier, William Dean Howells, James Russell Lowell, Mme Marie Therese Blanc, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Rudyard Kipling, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others. Her association with the editors and associates at "The Atlantic Monthly" are explored. Much of the book is a literary analysis of many of her short stories as well as her seven novels. There is an abundance of praise of her personal attributes and of her masterpieces of fiction. She is one of the greatest American writers.  [From]

[ 454 ]  Squire, Kelsey. "Professional Correspondence of Sarah Orne Jewett"  (2013).  Maine Women Writers Collection (June 2013).

In my time at the [Maine Women Writers Sarah Orne Jewett] collection, I focused on Jewett’s professional correspondence, such as letters to editors and fans. In contrast to the intimate, chatty letters Jewett sent to close friends and family, her professional letters are often short, and may consist of a single letter exchange rather than hundreds. Despite their occasional nature, however, Jewett’s professional correspondence can provide us with intriguing snapshots into her life and development as a writer.

[441] Lelekis, Debbie R. "Women as Healers: Restoring and Preserving Community in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." the quint: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly from the North 5.4 (September 2013) 49-60.

In this paper I examine Sarah Orne Jewett’s 'The Country of the Pointed Firs' (1896) with a particular emphasis on the character of Mrs. Todd as both a healer in her community and the link that ties the stories in the collection together. Drawing upon Sandra Zagarell’s essay on the genre of the “narrative of community,” I analyze Mrs. Todd as a central figure in Jewett’s female-dominated community and contrast her to the town’s male doctor.... This relationship is part of a larger context in which the community is formed by bringing together unlike people, in the face of challenges....  [Mrs. Todd's] house and garden are presented as a liminal space, a mixture of inside/outside and public/private space where she collects and dispenses her healing herbs....  I analyze Jewett’s portrayal of community at the turn of the century when social, economic, and cultural changes caused by industrialism and urbanization were altering America’s sense of the collective versus the individual. [From abstract]

[424]  Heller, Terry. "Sarah Orne Jewett’s Transforming Visit: 'Tame Indians,' and One Writer’s Professionalization," New England Quarterly 86:4 (December 2013) 655-684.

Finally, of course, we cannot know whether the 1872 encounter with the Oneida that liberated Jewett and her friends from some stereotypes was the decisive moment at which she recognized that her vocation was to convert strangers into neighbors by telling stories. She gave the Duck Creek episode serious attention in her writing—a letter, a journal entry, a story—and she explicitly connects the visit with her coming to key understandings about herself. Moving her friends from impatience to enthusiasm toward the Oneida illustrates her favorite plot form, the transforming visit, a form that particularly served her desire to use her writing to do good in the world.


[440] Sean Epstein-Corbin.  "Pragmatism, Feminism, and the Sentimental Subject." Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 50.2 (Spring 2014), 220-245

It is of particular significance that both [Jane] Addams and [William] James operate so routinely in clinical contexts and in contact with medical patients.  Here, Addams's response is distinct from the clinicla response of figures like Louisa May Alcott in her Hospital Sketches or Nan Prince in Sarah Orne Jewett's A Country Doctor, refusing to sever the sympathetic circuit between observer and patient.  In Alcott and Jewett's texts, women's success in entering the sphere of clinical practice rests on their rejection of sympathy and its concomitant injunction to put onself in the sufferer's place.  Nan Prince, for example, demonstrates her clinical prowess by setting a dislocated shoulder without flinching, something her male suitor laments that he would not be able to do himself.

[438] Wierzbicki, Kaye. "The Formal and the Foreign: Sarah Orne Jewett's Garden Fences and the Meaning of Enclosure." Nineteenth-Century Literature 69.1 (June 2014), 56-91.

This essay argues that Sarah Orne Jewett theorizes garden design -- particularly the question of whether or not a garden should be fenced -- in order to theorize the aesthetic and social implications of her local color genre. Specifically, Jewett's polemical defense of the garden fence is central to her ability to incorporate foreignness into her fictional landscapes. By placing Jewett's garden-centric writing into the context of American garden history, this essay counters the prevailing notion that garden fences are transhistorical symbols of rigid protectionism and cultural exclusivity. Instead, Jewett's garden fences should also be read as theoretically loaded and historically specific sites in the late-nineteenth-century debate between the fence-dismantling garden naturalists and the Colonial Revivalists who sought to preserve or re-erect these fences. As Jewett's participation in this debate reveals, a garden fence can become a mechanism for defining "the local" as a formal practice that embraces foreignness, in contrast to competing definitions of *the local" that privilege native plants and native persons. Ultimately. Jewett uncovers new theoretical possibilities in the fenced, formal, Colonial Revivalist garden in order to make a case for the cultural expansiveness permitted by local color writing. [Abstract]

[434]  Homestead, Melissa and Terry Heller.  " 'The Other One': An Unpublished Chapter of Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs."   J19 22 (Fall 2014), 331-365.

Our contribution to ... debates about the cultural politics of Firs is an edition of an unpublished manuscript chapter of Jewett’s book, in which she crafted an ending featuring an economically powerful rural heroine no longer subject to the tourist’s command....  It provides persuasive evidence that Jewett thought critically about her representational practices as a cosmopolitan author depicting rural people for a national audience, as well as about the closely related issue of her book's genre.

[446] Tigchelaar, Jana. "The Neighborly Christmas: Gifts, Community, and Regionalism in the Christmas Stories of Sarah Orne Jewett and Mary Wilkins Freeman."  Legacy 31,2 (2014), 236-257.

In this examination of three Christmas stories by Jewett and three by Mary Wilkins Freeman, I argue that regionalist literature imagines an alternative to one specific national narrative: the "domestic Christmas" typically associated with the nineteenth century.  In particular, Jewett and Freeman present an alternative to the domestic Christmas's disruption of the social function of gift exchange; in the domestic Christmas, gift exchange becomes a sociopolitical tool used to sustain class divisions and promote consumption that benefits the individual or the family as opposed to the collective.  The narrative that Jewett and Freeman construct … redirects attention to the needs of community … and the moral obligation to recognize those who fall outside of the domestic family unit.  Jewett's and Freeman's Christmas stories interrogate transformations in gift exchange at a key moment of economic expansion in American capitalism.

[436]  Heller, Terry.  "Thomas Bailey Aldrich and the Immigration Restriction League."  The Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project, December 2014.

Among Sarah Orne Jewett scholars, there is virtually universal agreement that her close friend, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, was an active and prominent member of the Immigration Restriction League (IRL). The IRL was a nativist organization founded in 1894 to change American immigration policy toward excluding classes of immigrants for reasons of race and national origin. The consensus about his membership is important because his association with the IRL is offered as a main part of the case that Aldrich and Jewett shared with their class of New Englanders and with New England regionalist authors in general a deep discomfort with post-Civil War social and economic changes that led them to yearn for a nostalgic vision of America as racially pure. This consensus is problematic because of the paucity of documentary evidence that Aldrich had any relationship with the IRL.

[445]  Schmidt, Michael.  "Blurring Form," chapter 28.  The Novel: A Biography.  Cambridge: Belknap/Harvard University Press, 2014, pp. 553-71.

A structural looseness in [The Country of the Pointed Firs] ... is notable.  She refused to bend and knit the material into a prescribed form.  Cather liked Jewett's sense that truth to theme and setting were sufficient guarantors of formal wholeness.

[452]  Jones, Gavin. "Sarah Orne Jewett Falling Short." Failure and the American Writer.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.  pp. 112-132.

Avoiding grand narratives of rise and fall and grand speculations on the nature of being, Jewett turns to something much quieter: a situational, imposed, and ongoing state that gives humility a secular permanence and resists the plot of decline. …   [In Jewett's sketches] [t]here is little sense of progression, accomplishment, or accumulated meaning.  Her stories are frequently recursive, as the ends fold back into the means, to the point where there is little difference between them…. [S]he crafts literary form to describe a bounded and stable competency impossible in material success, where it would .. always be vulnerable to the anxious, endless pursuit of wealth or else threatened by a fall into poverty…. But neither are Jewett's stories quite engulfed in the feeling of female incompleteness ….  Jewett's failure does, after all, offer a kind of freedom and possibility: a freedom from patriarchy (her characters are often spinsters) and from the broader national economy (they are inherently, if modestly, self-sufficient), without fully dismantling these structures of mastery.  As much as Jewett presents frustrated compromise, she describes a contentment in sorrow and a comfort in isolation that predict recent theories of nontraumatic crisis whereby ordinary people find intuitive, ongoing lifestyles to endure a precarious and overwhelming present.  In a way, Jewett recuperates the romance of ruin to sketch -- through sketchiness itself -- a muted  state of personal humility in face of situated meagerness, which echoes the logic of regional limitation for which Jewett was best known


[451] Strychacz, Thomas.  "The Kitchen Economics of Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs." Legacy 32:1 (2015): 55-74.

Focusing on the relatively self-contained sequence of Green Island chapters, this essay contends that Jewett's relationship to late-nineteenth-century socio-economic conditions is more complex … than the "counter-world" hypotheses suggest.  It challenges not only the common feminist assertions that Jewett's narrative order simply opposes the hegemony of white male market relations but also the New Historicist assumption that Jewett sets out to construct a tranquil critique of them.  I argue … that Jewett roots the events of the excursion to Green Island … in traditions of political economic thought.  Trading on a long history of imaginary island commonwealths …  the Green Island chapters urge us to consider broad principles about how a healthy polity might organize a productive distribution of resources and wealth….  This orientation toward political economy offers us a new way to consider Jewett's engagement with her historical moment.

[449]  Oman, Patricia.  "Living in the Holes with Badgers: Nostalgia, Children's Literature and O Pioneers!Willa Cather Newsletter & Review 57,3 (Winter/Spring 2015) 17-22.

Of all the characters in O Pioneers!, Ivar is the only one that maintains a consistent relationship with both nature and innocence.  His similarities with both Badger from The Wind in the Willows and Sylvia from "A White Heron" may introduce conflicting types of nostalgia (restorative and revisionist), but the tension from that conflict holds in check the otherwise inevitable transition of frontier from childhood to adulthood, from wilderness to pastoral, thus creating what Boym calls "reflective nostalgia."

[450]  Romines, Ann.  "Writing Her First Home Pastures:  Willa Cather on her Virginia Environment."  Willa Cather Newsletter & Review 57,3 (Winter/Spring 2015) 23-40.

Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, Mary Austin, and Willa Cather depicted nature as inspiring liberation and offering new paths for women in a male dominated society, making them remarkably relevant to the history of turn-of-the-century American literature and the development of twentieth-century ecofeminism.

[463] Morales, Maribel.  "Women and Nature in Willa Cather and Her Contemporaries." Willa Cather Newsletter & Review 57.3 (Winter-Spring 2015): p33-40.

For these … women, nature presented an alternative to the subordination and constraints of the patriarchal society;
nature became a space for female liberation. These symbolic spaces can be found in the works of Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, Mary Austin and Willa Cather, four key figures in the tradition of women's regional writing. In their stories, the female characters have special connections with nature, bonds that shape their destinies.

[460]  Nossaman, Lucas.  "Agriculture and Biblical Tradition in Jewett's 'A Dunnet Shepherdess'." Christianity and Literature 64,4 (Sept. 2015) 400-413.

Critics have yet to discuss adequately Sarah Orne Jewett's Christianity as a source for her fiction.  Jewett is best known for The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), a series of sketches set in southern coastal Maine, but it is in a little-known tale, "A Dunnet Shepherdess," that she explicitly reveals her characters' biblical convictions, which are inspired by her own Congregational heritage.  Through a shepherdess's experience, Jewett indicates that her Dunnet Landing community is knit together by the biblical concern for practices of the earth. (Author's abstract)

[461]  Park, Yunok. "The Birth of a New Woman-Self: Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Studies in British and American Language and Literature 18. (Sept. 2015) 39-56.
    Language: Korean.

Sarah Orne Jewett in “A White Heron”(1886), one of her most representative short stories, presents a new womanhood which is distinguished from the domestic womanhood presented in the domestic novels published before the Civil War. In “A White Heron,” the heroine Sylvia is no longer required to adopt the pious and domestic womanhood which the female protagonists in domestic novels had been forced to pursue. However, Sylvia shows a new, ‘non-conforming’ womanhood which refuses to accept marriage. Marriage that insures a middle-class comfort of life used to be given as a reward to the women who conform to the American patriarchal society in domestic novels. The appearance of this new womanhood heralds the emergence of a new female authorship adopted by Jewett, which, instead of denying its own literary ambition, like the literary domestics, does boldly assert “the autonomy of the literary,” like Henry James. (Author's abstract).

[462]  Hausmann, Jessica.  "Class as Performance in Sarah Orne Jewett's Deephaven. CEA Critic 77.3 (Nov. 2015) 289-294.

I am interested in how Jewett plays with the issue of class in Deephaven in ways that sometimes seem contradictory.  At time, she clearly defines the class differences between the novel's two main protagonists ... and most of the residents of the Maine country town they are visiting for the summer.  At other times, however, there is a blurring of this class divide, which occurs when the young women are able to react to other characters with compassion, sympathy, or genuine emotional engagement.  Additionally, I would argue, the issues of class are problematized when the protagonists "perform" or act out, different social class roles.  The young protagonists become more than mere observers, or "tourists," even if they do not fully transcend class boundaries.

[482] Homestead, Melissa J. "Willa Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett, and the Historiography of Lesbian Sexuality." Cather Studies 10 (2015): 3-37.

In this essay ... I reread and reframe evidence contemporaneous with Cather's encounters with Jewett to disrupt notions of Cather's "now-notorious sexual privacy" that undergird queer readings of her fiction.... This essay seeks to recover the visibility of  [Edith] Lewis and Cather's partnership ... first focusing ... on three sets of evidence from its beginning in 1908 -- Jewett's letters to Cather, Cather's letters to Jewett, and Cather's Christmas present to Edith Lewis...."

[483] Carlin, Deborah. "Cather's Jewett: Relationship, Influence, and Representation." Cather Studies 10 (2015): 169-188.

... I propose in this essay to reexamine Cather's representation of Jewett, which, I believe, complicates that accepted paradigms of how we have heretofore read and interpreted the seemingly uncomplicated relationship between Jewett and Cather. I will argue that it is ... Cather's representation of Jewett ... that undergoes an evolution, from a powerfully enabling guide ... to a different, distanced, increasingly shrunken and memorialized figure who comes to embody nineteenth-century artistic constraints from which Cather distinguishes herself in the 1930s....


[455]  Storey, Mark.  "Sarah Orne Jewett’s Foreign Correspondence."  The Edinburgh Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Letters and Letter-Writing. ed. Celeste-Marie Bernier, Judie Newman and Matthew Pethers.  Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (Distributed by Oxford U. P.), 2016. pp. 682-696.

Reading Jewett's letters … reveals someone who came to conceive of [New England] from far broader geographical horizons than … [ typical ] characterizations tend to suggest, and indicates a degree of internationalism that became harder and harder to reconcile with the critical compartmentalization of her work in the years after her death.  Between the Fields [1911] and Cary [1956/1971] editions of her letters, a more bounded and more 'regionalized' version of Jewett emerged, but at the cost of a more accurate sense of where the distinct stylistic tone of her work derives from.  This is not to say that refocusing on her international reach leads to a re-assessment of her political reputation; in fact, what we find in the letters Jewett wrote from outside New England is someone for whom traveling seemed to largely reinforce existing prejudices.  The point is not to suggest that Jewett has been a secret multiculturalist all along, but that her letters reveal someone who identified with a far more transnational sense of rural identity than her nativist reputation has allowed for.  They reveal a conception of New England regionalism that was able to find cultural similarity not just with historical lineages of Old World ethnicity but also with geographically distant regions of contemporary rural life.

[457] Wetzel, Nancy Mayer.  "Sarah Orne Jewett's Broad-Aisle Garden, South Berwick Maine: An Early Twenty-First Century View."  The Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project, April 2016.

Many of the plants -- but not all -- in the broad-aisle garden in my period as landscape gardener [at the Jewett House Museum] are listed in this document and its links.  The main guidelines I worked within were:
    1. Plants mentioned in Jewett’s writing.
    2. Plants that bring greater insight into the horticulture of Jewett’s day and
the scope of her horticultural knowledge and interests, including plants associated with Jewett’s horticultural contemporaries such as Celia Laighton Thaxter, Alice Morse Earle, Frederick Law Olmsted and Gertrude Jekyll.
    3. Plants used in New World gardens, particularly those of New England, between the 1600s and 1909, the year of Jewett’s death.

[439]  Heller, Terry.  "Jewett, Nordicism and Race."  The Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project, April 2016.

In this essay, I challenge the accuracy of characterizing Jewett as a nordicist and of reading her work on Normans as developing a racial theory.  I argue that the label is anachronistic and, finally, misleading, and that The Story of the Normans actually has little to say about race in the sense that the term is used either in the 21st century or by American nordicists, such as Madison Grant.  Somewhat more relevant to Jewett's thinking is the discourse of Teutonism that emerged after the Civil War, but Jewett proves not to be a supporter of Teutonism, either.  Examining these ideas leads to the broader question of how to develop a more accurate and persuasive view of Jewett on race.  I move, then, to presenting a number of Jewett texts that are more directly relevant to understanding her racial thought.  Taking notice of these texts and the little that has been said about them casts doubt upon the description of Jewett as a nordicist white supremacist and nativist.  I conclude that Jewett scholarship has, as yet, uncovered little persuasive knowledge about Jewett's racial thought, though there is a rich set of materials scholars can examine to achieve such knowledge.

[458] Homestead, Melissa. "Buried in Plain Sight: Unearthing Willa Cather's Allusion to Thomas William Parsons's 'The Sculptor's Funeral,'" Studies in American Fiction 43,2 (Fall 2016) 207-299.

What made Jewett, a master of the short story form, find depth, complexity, and potential for Cather's future achievement in ["The Sculptor's Funeral"]?  One possibility is that she, unlike later critics and literary historians, recognized the allusion to Parsons.

[459] Homestead, Melissa. "Willa Cather Editing Sarah Orne Jewett."  American Literary Realism 49,1 (Fall 2016) 63-89.

Cather's control over the form in which The Country of the Pointed Firs and eleven Jewett stories appeared in 1925 was less than has been assumed.  She reordered two stories in the existing plates of Firs and argued successfully for a two-volume set, for her own selection of stories for a second volume, and for the paratextual elements framing the volumes, but the volumes were produced from existing stereotype plates.  If my hypothesis about her work with Jewett's manuscripts in 1909-1910 is correct, she may have participated in the beginning of the process of fracturing of the 1896 Firs, but in 1924, economic limits and her desire to appease Mary Jewett constrained her power to make over Jewett in her own modern image.  By lending the prestige of her name and selecting stories for the second volume, she did contribute to establishing the shape of Jewett's oeuvre as it would continue to circulate for much of the twentieth century.  And even if her preface to the volumes was not entirely sincere or represents only one half of her engagement as a critic with Jewett's work, she powerfully framed the experiences of generations of Jewett's readers and gave voice to their feelings.

[503] King, Derrick. "Narrative, Temporality, and Neutralization in Sarah Orne Jewett’s Queer Utopias." South Atlantic Review 81:4 (2016) 12-27.

For nearly a century, scholarship on Sarah Orne Jewett focused on her formal innovations: her vivid sketches of rural Maine, largely divorced from the requirements of narrative, make her novels and short stories quintessential examples of the regionalist strand of American realism. [I]n … recent years -- owing to the crucial interventions of feminist, queer, and ecological theory -- critics have also begun to note the political implications of her work, especially her association of women and nature and her powerful portrayals of meaningful relationships between women. My project here is an attempt to link these two strands of analysis and propose that her critique of normative sexual and gender roles is in fact imbedded within her formal structures. Her work allows us to map new relationships among sexuality, temporality, and narrative structure by challenging both hegemonic nineteenth-century conceptions of sexuality and the dominant narrative conventions of the realist novel.


[456]   Kuiken, Vesna.  “Fit to be Free”: From Race to Capacity in Jewett’s “Mistress of Sydenham Plantation.” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 5.2 (Fall 2017) 239-266.

[I]nterpretation of ["The Mistress of Sydenham Plantation"] must take as central the fact that the story unfolds in a Southern territory in which the Port Royal experiment, a venture that largely determined the course of the country’s racial politics for an entire century, had taken place twenty-five years earlier….
    When read within and against that context, “The Mistress” begins to unfold into a remarkable interrogation of freedom, personhood, and citizenship -- revealing these concepts to be grounded in a restrictive set of values, such as independence, self-ownership, and capacity. In doing so, the story amounts to a scathing critique of the Reconstruction and its aftermath …. The story’s question, finally, reconstructs the world in which the economic capacity to participate in the market system is conceived of as the biological capacity for independence and freedom. As the merging of these two capacities became the very foundation of political participation, the story shows them to have been inaugurated as a veritable criterion of citizenship and of the humanity of African Americans in postbellum United States. In drawing a line between the able and the disabled, and in translating this division onto a difference between the human and the nonhuman, the criterion of “capacity” becomes the biopolitical line that separates slaves from persons in postbellum United States, thus replacing, and ultimately obfuscating, the discourse of racial hierarchy.

[499]  Burrows, Stuart.  "Rethinking Regionalism:  Sarah Orne Jewett's Mental Landscapes." J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 5.2 (Fall 2017) 341-359.

Jewett’s persistent depiction of the central role played by the imagination in forming community ties offers a serious challenge to ethnological readings of her work. What makes the solitary lives she writes about sustainable is their imagining of an outside observer, someone in or from whom they can confide, receive approbation, even love. Jewett’s decision to present Dunnet Landing from the perspective of a writer from Boston should not be seen as evidence of a paternalistic attitude toward rural Maine life but rather as a dramatization of the structure of the lives this writer observes, lives already lived as if observed from a vantage point outside themselves. The persistence of such a structure in the work of Jewett and that of her fellow regionalists suggests that regions delineate more than a shared form of life, shared customs, habits, and traditions. Regions serve a psychological need by imagining the outside world as outside, an external space from which the region can be seen and thus take shape. Regionalism, that is, describes an epistemology as much as an ethnography…. But what if regionalism were to be regarded as a form of knowledge rather than a form for it? Doing so would redefine regionalism, which would no longer be thought of simply as a “contiguous space” -- Jewett’s Maine, Garland’s Middle Border, Charles Chesnutt’s plantation -- but as the various ways in which this space is imagined by its inhabitants.

[500]  Roudeau, Cécile.  “'Like Islands in the Sea': Intermingled Consciousness and The Politics of the Self in Sarah Orne Jewett’s Late Stories." William James Studies 13:2  (Fall 2017) 190-216.

This essay investigates Sarah Orne Jewett and William James’s shared interest in reconfiguring modes of relationality between “selves” at the turn of the century. It examines two of Jewett’s late stories, “The Foreigner” and “The Queen’s Twin,” as responses to a problem James also addressed in his interventions on the Philippine crisis, the imperial turn of US politics, and the ensuing changes in cognitive patterns of selfhood. Not unlike James, Jewett psychologized imperialism, but she did so through a literary reworking of the borders of her regionalist tales. To experiment with alternative modalities of transoceanic consciousness in her fiction, she used the language of regionalism as a privileged medium where such psychological, political, and cognitive reconfigurations could best be tried out.

[504] Bohata, Kirsti. "Mistress and Maid: Homoeroticism, Cross-Class Desire, and Disguise in Nineteenth-Century Fiction." Victorian Literature and Culture 45 (2017) 341–359.

The relationship between mistress and maid is curiously intimate yet bounded by class. Employers and their servants are caught in a dynamic of dominance and submission, in which they practice mutual surveillance. Yet the relationship may also evoke models of loyalty, devotion, and the possibility, in fiction at least, of female alliance….
    Sarah Orne Jewett’s short story “Martha’s Lady” represents the morally and spiritually enriching experience of love and devotion to another woman, even as the central tropes of absence and deferral lend it an air of pathos. Yet the deferral is necessary to the representation of same-sex desire in the story, expressed through Martha’s longing and her development of rituals and fetishisation of objects associated with her idealised lady.

[505] Elbert, Monika and Wendy Ryden. "EcoGothic Disjunctions: Natural and Supernatural Liminality in Sarah Orne Jewett's Haunted Landscapes." Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 24:3 (2017) 496-513.

Jewett expresses fascination with abandoned farms and the mystery of previous tenants… This strangeness coupled with the unknown becomes the basis of her ecoGothic, in which she contemplates the unfathomable through meditations on fallen nature, crumbling houses, and lost or indecipherable objects. Jewett's ghost stories seek to reconfigure nature and then to repopulate houses with the memories of the dead, as inscribed in possessions they mean to hand down or hide… To Jewett, this liminal state between life and death serves as a reminder of ghostly markings in natural and civilized life, outside and in the home.

[506] Jamil, S. Selina. "Country and City in Sarah Orne Jewett's 'A White Heron'." Explicator 75:2 (2017) 67-72.

As I read Jewett's story about the human need to develop an awareness of an interconnected world, she ... suggests an opposition between and incompleteness of an urban world of technology and the rural world of nature.  While the country demonstrate a subtle, profound, recondite, and communal exercise of power, which produces spiritual knowledge, the city demonstrates an officious, ostentatious, divisive, and obtrusive exercise of power, which produces temporal knowledge. But beneath this over opposition, Jewett explores a continual interrelation and thus an inseparable connection between spiritual and worldly power/knowledge for her focus is on a dynamic exchange between the natural and artificial worlds.


[502 ] Aydelott, Kathrine Cole. "Sarah Orne Jewett Online References: Maine Stream: A Bibliographic Reception Study of Sarah Orne Jewett."

This database can be used to find collected references to commentary on Sarah Orne Jewett's writing going back to a review of her first known published short story in 1869.

[507] Jackson, Holly. "The Radicals' Reconstruction: Jewett at Port Royal." J19 6:2 (Fall 2018) 229-31.

If [ "The Mistress of Sydenham Plantation"] is “a scathing critique of Reconstruction,” [Kuiken] … it demands that we begin to unpack “Reconstruction” to pinpoint more exactly its target. Does the story critique the faithlessness of the federal government and the criminal activity of Southern whites? In what light exactly does it regard activists like Towne who embodied the “moment of absolute possibility” for a new national commitment to justice and equality, which she and others had hoped to deliver but could not? Read in this light, “Mistress” seems less an indictment than an elegy.

  Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.
   Linda Heller, editorial assistant.