In scene after memorable scene of Sarah Orne Jewett's fictional masterpiece, The Country of Pointed Firs, the Maine-born author recorded what she felt were the rapidly disappearing traditions, manners, and dialect of Maine coast natives at the turn of the twentieth century. In luminous evocations of their lives — a happy family reunion, an old seaman's ghostly vision, a disappointed lover's self-imposed exile, and more — Jewett created startlingly real portraits of individual New Englanders and a warm, humorous, and compassionate vision of the New England character.
No less a writer than Willa Cather ranked The Country of the Pointed Firs — with Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — as one of the three American works most likely to achieve permanent recognition. Long overlooked, Sarah Orne Jewett is today widely acknowledged as an American master and The Country of the Pointed Firs as a landmark in the defining of American character and the American experience.
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