The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) is Sarah Orne Jewett's most popular book. In its elegantly constructed sketches, a worldly, anonymous writer spends the summer in a tiny Maine fishing village where she hopes to find peace and solitude. As she gains the acceptance and trust of her hosts, the community's power and complexity are slowly revealed. While its episodes portray the difficulty and loneliness of rural life, they also display its dignity and strength, particularly as expressed in the bonds between women: mothers, daughters, and friends. Written during a time of rapid change and national conflict, surprisingly modern in its treatment of character and its literary techniques, The Country of the Pointed Firs addresses the delicate and uncertain art of understanding others. This centennial edition contains a facsimile of the original text, thereby restoring the novel to Jewett's own version, which had been considerably altered in other published versions, plus four related stories. Further enhancing the importance of this volume is editor Sarah Way Sherman's introduction, which includes a sketch of Jewett's life and professional development, a commentary on textual accuracy, and a discussion of the book's themes and techniques as well as its historical context.
About the author
Sarah Orne Jewett (1849 - 1909) was born and raised in South Berwick, Maine. Before publication of The Country of the Pointed Firs, she published the novels A Country Doctor (1884) and A Marsh Island (1885), and nine collections of short stories.
Sarah Way Sherman is Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire and author of Sarah Orne Jewett, An American Persephone (UPNE, 1989) and numerous articles on 19th-century women writers.
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