Main Contents & Search
A Native of Winby

Reviews of A Native of Winby 1893

"Book Reviews." Vassar Miscellany, Volume XXIII, Number 2, 1 November 1893
    No one looking for a new volume of short stories could do better than to buy Sarah Orne Jewett's latest book entitled, A Native of Winby ami Other Tales. They form a collection particularly adapted for the evening hour when one wants "something good to read aloud," for her picturesque handling of incident and delicate finish is marked throughout. There is nothing in Miss Jewett's stories to indicate a seeking after the bold character study of which we are a little tired, nor does their main interest depend upon striking incident, in fact they often lack originality; but to the short story lover they are always inviting because of their charm as a whole, their pleasant readableness.
    The author finds most of her material in the small New England village. But in writing up the types of character to be found there, she neither picks out all the most tight-fisted deacons, the poorest, loneliest old maid, and the most prying, garrulous neighbors; nor, on the other hand, does she look at this phase of country life from its purely picturesque standpoint. The real and the ideal are mingled; no story without its tone of pathos and few without their vein of humor. We find just such characters as might be met with in like places any day, and their very naturalness makes us wish that we might wander into some of her "country by-ways." Some of these stories have appeared before in one or another of the current magazines, but they are among the best and the book would be incomplete without "Jim's Little Woman," and "The Little Captive Maid." Neither of these are sketches of New England life, although "Jim's Little Woman" was a brave little Yankee. But she went South for Jim's sake and we can only think of her as wandering up and down the pier at St. Augustine and waiting for the " Dawn of Day." Nora, the little maid, and Johnny, her lover, waiting patiently in the " auld country " until " Norey, his darlin' shall get rich and come back," are so irresistibly Irish that we almost wish ourselves to "land aisy on the tinder in the cove o'Cork, and slape next night in the fine hotel Glengariff, with the say forninst the garden wall." In fact, these sketches of Irish character lend quite as much interest to the book as do to the better known types of New Englanders. [by K.V.C.S.]

 "Books of the Month."  The Cottage Hearth, 19 (December 1893), 11.
           A new book by Miss Jewett is always an event in literature, and "A Native of Winby and Other Tales" will not be found less attractive than her other works.  There are nine clever stories in the book, seven of which are character sketches of New England life, with women in the home as central figures, and the other two of Irish-American life.  Many of the stories will be recognized as old friends, having been previously published in some of the leading periodicals.  By Sarah Orne Jewett. pp. 309. $1.25.  Houghton, Mifflin, & Co. Boston.

"All The Books."  Godey's Lady's Book, 127 (December 1893), 762.
            A NATIVE OF WINBY, and Other Tales. By Sarah Orne Jewett. Here are Miss Jewett's short stories that have appeared in the magazines in the last year or two. They are unlike any other stories, although the author has many affectionate imitators. No one else tells so well of lives which, from their surroundings, would seem tame and uneventful. Each of her books is a collection of appreciations of the older type of  Yankee which still remains in New England.  (Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston.)    John Habberton.

"A Native of Winby."  THE LITERARY WORLD (2 December 1893), 423.
            Miss Jewett's latest collection of tales shows that her hand is not losing its cunning. Of the nine stories here reprinted "A Native of Winby" seems to us the best among those relating to New England life, but there is much delicate humor in "The Passing of Sister Barsett" and "Miss Ester's Guest," and true pathos of two kinds in "The Failure of David Berry" and "The Flight of Betsey Lane." The stories that take the reader among others scenes and characters than those common in Miss Jewett's books – "Between Mass and Vespers" and "A Little Captive Maid," for instance – show that she can do large justice to more than one field; but we miss here the finer touches and more delicate strokes of the New England tales. The Irish stories show that Miss Barlow can interpret her Ireland more felicitously but no more happily than Miss Jewett can render her peculiar province.

"RECENT FICTION ." THE INDEPENDENT, 45 (7 December 1893), 17-18.
          A Native of Winby, and Other Stories. By Sarah Orne Jewett. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. $1.25.)  Nine short stories of excellent workmanship by an author who from the beginning of her career has pursued the art of word painting with conscience and with growing power. These pictures present life, mostly of the lower classes of New Englanders; sturdy, rather dry and a trifle hard they appear; but Miss Jewett manages to reach the common human heart as often as any writer we know. She frequently chooses most unpromising subjects and then proceeds to extract romance from them as charming as it is surprising. The same publishers have issued a new and beautiful edition of Miss Jewett's "Deephaven," with preface and illustrations.

The Nation, 57 (14 December 1893), 452.
          Miss Jewett's Native of Winby is another example of the natural and proper unity of idea and expression. It would be hard to name stories better from any point of view than are four at least of those included in her latest volume. There was a time when she trembled on the verge of fashionable art, the art of writing a tale wherein no tale is discover­able; but she never went over to the unintelligibles, and is now firmly reëstablished on the old, sure ground of something to tell. One of the most vivid of general impressions about New England is given by those innumerable women very interesting for reasons which have nothing to do with being in love or being made love to. Most of them have passed, happily or unhappily, the years when love-making is very im­portant. They are reticent and inexpressive to the stranger, who can only guess at their sorrows, personal or vicarious, from physical signs and tokens. It has been given to Miss Jewett to express these women, to paint their external life and manners, to reveal the secret emotions of the heart and yearnings of the soul. The dominant tone is sad, but the wail of despair is seldom heard; poverty does not shriek for alms, nor sickness of body or soul for pity. The "Stern Daughter of the Voice of God" compels repression, and the beneficent spirit of national humor in its most delightful mood lightens profoundest misery. A poor-house would not be half bad if one could be sure of the company of a Betsey Lane. Several writers have won success in Miss Jewett's field, but not one has a similar grasp of situation and character, her tenderness or anything like her sense of proportion. So free is she from strain and extravagance, so easy and adequate in expression, that she goes far to remove any doubt about whether great naturalness is or is not the final phase of great literary art.

The Writer (Boston, MA) 6  (December 1893).  227.
"A Native of Winby" includes, besides the story of the Honorable Joseph K. Laneway's return to the little red country schoolhouse where he thumbed his primer and whittled his desk cover in his youth, seven other tales, entitled "Decoration Day,"  "Jim's Little Woman,"  "The Failure of David Barry,"  "The Passing of Sister Barsett," "Miss Esther's Guest,"  "The Flight of Betsey Lane," "Between Mass and Vespers," and "A Little Captive Maid."  The two last named are Irish-American stories, but in this somewhat new field Miss Jewett's success is no less great than in her sketches of New England life. "Decoration Day" is one of the best stories that she has ever told. The binding of the book is exquisite, and it is printed in the best style of the Riverside Press.

                William H. Hills

"Recent Fiction."  Overland monthly and Out West Magazine. 23: 134 (February 1894), 216-220.
           The latest collection of Miss Jewett's stories goes farther afield than many of her books. There are two Irish stories and the scene of another is mostly set in St. Augustine, -- a sailor tale, on the same strain that Mrs. Phelps Ward touches in "A Madonna of the Tubs" and similar stories. Miss Jewett's is more true to life, it seems, than Mrs. Ward's and its pathos is certainly less evidently sought. The name story is a touching sketch of a prosperous politician and an old-time school sweetheart, who, cooped up in her little native hamlet, yet follows his career and in intellectual matters keeps herself the peer of this senator and man of the world. "Decoration Day" is a pretty story of the veteran of thirty years after the war; and "The Flight of Betsy Lane" is a narrative of a little woman who goes from a poorhouse to the Centennial. But it is unnecessary to tell the charm of each of Miss Jewett's stories, they are her stories and in her best vein, and that is enough for the discerning reader to know.
           A Native of Winby. By Sarah Orne Jewett.  Boston:  Houghton, Mifflin & Co.:  1893.

"Fiction."  The Critic. 21 (10 March 1894), 165.
           "A NATIVE OF WINBY, and Other Tales," is a volume of short stories by Sarah Orne Jewett. There is a great deal of human nature in the native of Winby when he returns to his early home, after having achieved unusual success in the great world. He has pictured it to himself, and has thought that the intense quiet of the village would be grateful to him.  He has become too much accustomed to adulation, however, and when no one recognizes him and he is allowed to walk about unmolested, he feels disappointed. His evening, spent with an old friend who cooks his supper herself and gives him the things he ate when a boy, is almost his only pleasure during the visit. One of the most amusing stories in the volume is called "The Passing of Sister Barsett." Two friends are weeping together over the death of a neighbor, and one is consoling the other for having lost her occupation and her sense of being of some use in the world in the demise of this person whom she has been in the habit of nursing. She insists upon her eating a little "taste-cake," and assures her that she shall come and do for her at the last. In the midst of the conversation a messenger arrives to say that the dead patient has revived and is herself again. These sketches are clever in the extreme, most artistically put together, and filled with humor. The human nature that pervades them impresses itself upon the reader at every turn.

Main Contents & Search
A Native of Winby