The Country Of The Pointed Firs

The Country Of The Pointed Firs

by Sarah Orne Jewett

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Sarah Orne Jewett's place in American letters was assured when this acclaimed collection of stories about her native state of Maine was first published in 1896. Her crisp style and skillful observation of people and places gives her work lasting appeal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781116314199
Publisher: BCR (Bibliographical Center for Research)
Publication date: 11/24/2009
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 314
Product dimensions: 7.44(w) x 9.69(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

Deborah Carlin is Professor of American Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Table of Contents

Sarah Orne Jewett: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The Country of the Pointed Firs
The Dunnet Landing Stories

  • “The Queen’s Twin” (1899)
    “A Dunnet Shepherdess” (1899)
    “The Foreigner” (1900)
    “William’s Wedding” (1910)

Appendix A: Before The Country of the Pointed Firs:
Precursors and Influences

  1. Sarah Orne Jewett, Preface to Deephaven (1893)
  2. Sarah Orne Jewett, Chapter Five, “The Captains,” from Deephaven (1893)
  3. Harriet Beecher Stowe, “Aunt Roxy and Aunt Ruey,” Chapter Four of The Pearl of Orr’s Island: A Story of the Coast of Maine (1862)

Appendix B: Local Color Literature: Nineteenth-Century Formulations and Definitions

  1. William Dean Howells, “Editor’s Study” (1887)
  2. Hamlin Garland, “Local Color in Art” (1894)
  3. Bret Harte, “The Rise of the ‘Short Story’” (1899)

Appendix C: Selected Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett

  1. To Annie Fields (June 1885)
  2. From a letter to Annie Fields (12 October 1890)
  3. From a letter to Annie Fields (1899 or 1890)
  4. To Willa Sibert Cather (27 November 1908)
  5. To Willa Sibert Cather (13 December 1908)

Appendix D: Reviews of The Country of the Pointed Firs

  1. Overland Monthly (29 January 1897)
  2. Atlantic Monthly (February 1897)
  3. The Critic (13 February 1897)
  4. The Nation (15 April 1897)
  5. Alice Brown, Book Buyer (15 October 1897)

Appendix E: Profiles of Sarah Orne Jewett

  1. Anonymous, “Miss Jewett” (January 1894)
  2. Anonymous, “Pleasant Day With Miss Jewett” (August 1895)

Select Bibliography

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The Country Of The Pointed Firs 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
porch_reader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully written book that almost makes you feel as if you have been set down in rural Maine in the late 1800's. The narrator is a house guest of Mrs. Almira Todd, a resident of Dunnette Landing and an expert in medicinal herbs and other home remedies. As we meet more residents of this small rural town, very little happens (a visit to Mrs. Todd's mother, a family reunion), but we get a rich view of the town and its people. The book is also beautifully written. Consider this description of a feast at a family reunion:"There was an elegant ingenuity displayed in the form of pies which delighted my heart."Or this description of aging:"So we always keep the same hearts, though our outer framework fails and shows the touch of time."Or this line about Mrs. Todd's elderly mother getting into a wagon:"Whatever doubts and anxieties I may have had about the inconvenience of the Begg's high wagon for a person of Mrs. Blackett's age and shortness, they were happily overcome by the aid of a chair and her own valiant spirit." I have to admit that at times, spoiled perhaps by today's page-turners, I got impatient with this slim volume. But when I took a breath, set back, and savored the words, I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful description of lives well-lived.
raidergirl3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Life is busy in the 21st century. Much of it is our own making, but that's how we live. We need information now; can't wait 10 seconds for the page to load; too long, didn't read; kids going in different directions. I just seem to go, go, go. Go, dog, go! Reading is a way to slow things down, but I often read mysteries, or thrillers. Books that engage me and have me frantically turning pages so I don't fall asleep, because if I stop, I might fall asleep. However, as I read The Country of the Pointed Firs, this small, charming book, I could feel my body slow down and my brain slow down as I adjusted to life as told in small tales from a 19th century fishing village on the shores of Maine.There isn't much to this story, not really a plot, just collected stories from the unnamed narrator as she spends a summer in Dunnett Landing, meeting friends and family of her landlady. There is herb gathering, family reunions, and boat trips for the day - depending on the wind direction. There are stories from sea-faring days, and even laments of how life is changing by the end of the 1800s. But overall, there is a peacefulness, and calm that comes with Mrs Todd and the stories related in this quiet book. I'm so delighted to have discovered this gem.on entertaining:Tact is after all a kind of mindreading, and my hostess held the golden gift. p59on old friends:There, it does seem so pleasant to talk with an old acquaintance that know what you know. Conversation's got to have some root in the past, or else you've got to explain every remark you make, an' it wears a person out. p73on life near an ocean:[The view] gave a sudden sense of space, for nothing stopped the eye or hedged one in, - that sense of liberty in space and time which great prospects always give. p58
labwriter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this edition of Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs. It includes a portfolio of photographs of coastal Maine during Jewett's time. As for the novel itself, Mrs. Almira Todd is one of my all-time favorite characters in literature. "Mrs. Todd was an ardent lover of herbs, both wild and tame, and the sea-breezes blew into the low end-window of the house laden with not only sweet-briar and sweet-mary, but balm and sage and borage and mint, wormwood and southernwood. If Mrs. Todd had occasion to step into the far corner of her herb plot, she trod heavily upon thyme, and made its fragrant presence known with all the rest. Being a very large person, her full skirts brushed and bent almost every slender stalk that her feet missed. You could always tell when she was stepping there, even when you were half awake in the morning, and learned to know, in the course of a few weeks' experience, in exactly which corner of the garden she might be."
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this slim volume originally published in 1896, Sarah Orne Jewett crystallizes a dying way of life along the Maine coast at the turn of the twentieth century. This novella is a loosely connected string of stories and observations recounted by our narrator, an outsider to the community. She is a writer who spends her summers in the peaceful seclusion of Dunnet Landing. But she has gained the trust of her landlady Mrs. Todd, and we see the many lives in Dunnet Landing just as our narrator does, unfolding slowly and without pretension.Comparison between The Country of the Pointed Firs and the work of L. M. Montgomery is irresistible. The anecdotes, the character sketches, the sense of community, the love of beauty in nature, the good-natured humor scattered here and there ¿ all are highly reminiscent of Montgomery's style. It's clear that both authors deeply loved the communities they depict in their stories, and their themes are very similar: an old sea-captain spinning a yarn, a faithful widower grieving for his wife, a disappointed lover withdrawing from her world, and others. In some places I was also reminded of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's nonfiction book Gift from the Sea; there is something akin in the tone of the two books. I would like to have known their authors.The prose is just lovely, so spare and graceful. Consider the elegant constructions and poetic feel in these sentences:The captain was very grave indeed, and I bade my inward spirit keep close to discretion. (10)The poets little knew what comfort they could be to a man. (15)I had been living in the quaint little house with as much comfort and unconsciousness as if it were a larger body, or a double shell, in whose simple convolutions Mrs. Todd and I had secreted ourselves, until some wandering hermit crab of a visitor marked the little spare room for her own. Perhaps now and then a castaway on a lonely desert island dreads the thought of being rescued. (36)...there are paths trodden to the shrines of solitude the world over,¿the world cannot forget them, try as it may; the feet of the young find them out because of curiosity and dim foreboding; while the old bring hearts full of remembrance. This plain anchorite had been one of those whom sorrow made too lonely to brave the sight of men, too timid to front the simple world she knew, yet valiant enough to live alone with her poor insistent human nature and the calms and passions of the sea and sky. (54¿5)Or the sly humor here:I saw that Mrs. Todd's broad shoulders began to shake. "There was good singers there; yes, there was excellent singers," she agreed heartily, putting down her teacup, "but I chanced to drift alongside Mis' Peter Bowden o' Great Bay, an' I couldn't help thinkin' if she was as far out o' town as she was out o' tune, she wouldn't get back in a day." (76)At first he seemed to be one of those evasive and uncomfortable persons who are so suspicious of you that they make you almost suspicious of yourself. (77)I know very little about Jewett, but I have a notion that she was a woman who knew how to be alone. Yet it is apparent that she also enjoyed her fellow beings and found great pleasure in observing them. She shares this pleasure with her readers, and I will certainly be looking for more of her work. Thoughtful and quieting.
gmillar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this story. It is a quiet, loving, unpretentious story of a summer season in rural, coastal Maine. Ms. Jewett is a master of the art of character description. A reader can see and know the persons in the story. This would be a perfect "Book Club" subject. The discussion on all that the story is would be worth having.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stories within a story woven together in such a way that when you put it down you will know you've just read a great book. This is a short book. Hard to call it a novel but it's not quite a short story either. Regardless, don't miss it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ordering this edition will get you a cheesy print-on-demand volume, approximately 9"x12", resembling a grade-school workbook. For a reader with limited vision, its fairly large font is a possible advantage. My advice is to go for a better edition of this wonderful novella.