« Si je devais donner le nom de tous les ouvrages américains qui promettent d’avoir une longue, même une très longue vie, je dirais sans hésiter La Lettre écarlate, Huckleberry Finn et Le Pays des sapins pointus. » Ces mots de Willa Cather tirés de sa préface de 1925 au livre de Jewett (1re éd. 1896) étonneront sans doute le lectorat français qui connaît mieux, de la cartographie littéraire de la Nouvelle-Angleterre, le Boston de Henry James, le Salem de Hawthorne ou le Walden de Thoreau.
Jewett a ancré ses récits dans son Maine natal, modelant son écriture sur ces « arpents de granite » qu’évoquait avant elle Emily Dickinson. Mais il est un autre « pays » qui s’esquisse dans ces pages écrites à l’aune du féminin et dans les marges critiques d’une nation en passe de devenir un empire. Loin de la carte désuète d’un monde disparu, Le Pays des sapins pointus est un livre frontière qui inquiète la pensée cadastrée, fait bouger les identités et troubles les appartenances.
Though not as well-known as the writers she influenced, Sarah Orne Jewett nevertheless remains one of the most important American novelists of the late nineteenth century. Published in 1884, Jewett's first novel, A Country Doctor, is a luminous portrayal of rural Maine and a semiautobiographical look at her world. In it, Nan's struggle to choose between marriage and a career as a doctor, between the confining life of a small town and a self-directed one as a professional, mirrors Jewett's own conflicts as well as eloquently giving voice to the leading women's issues of her time. Perhaps even more important, Jewett's perfect details about wild flowers and seaside wharfs, farm women knitting by the fireside and sailors going upriver to meet the moonlight, convey a realism that has seldom been surpassed and stamp her writing with her signature style. A contemporary and friend of Willa Cather, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Julia Ward Howe, Sarah Orne Jewett is widely recognized as a pathfinder in American literary history, courageously pursuing a road less traveled that led the way for other women to follow.
Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs was published in 1896, and it quickly garnered a reputation for its truthfulness and the quality of its writing. Rudyard Kipling described it as 'immense--it is the very life,' and Henry James praised it for being 'absolutely true--not a word overdone--such elegance and exactness.'
The Country of the Pointed Firs, is a concisely written and beautifully wrought episodic novel of a young woman writer's summer sojourn in the Maine fishing village of Dunnet Landing. Through Jewett, the young woman conveys the effect of her deepening connections to the people of Dunnet Landing, especially the sibylline Mrs. Todd, and her empathy with the mysteries of the coastal life, one where the land and the sea have equal influence.
This Modern Library edition includes additional Dunnet Landing stories that were published between 1896 and 1910.
...it was touching to discover that this lonely spot was not without its pilgrims.
The story of an endearing, unlikely friendship set against the backdrop of a remote and beautiful Maine coastal town, The Country of Pointed Firs is one of Sarah Orne Jewett's most loved works, and it quickly earned her a reputation as a talented writer upon its publication. Praised by Alice Brown for its "idyllic atmosphere of country life," Jewett's moving novel shows her intimate understanding of New England and its unique inhabitants, whose prickly exteriors often concealed a warm and loyal nature.
Willa Cather (My Antonia, Death of The Archbishop) remarked that The Country of The Pointed Firs was one of three American books destined for imortality, placing it beside Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
The Art of The Novella Series
Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
The Country of Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett's masterpiece, established her among the consummate stylists of nineteenth-century American fiction. Composed in a series of beautiful web-like sketches, the novel is narrated by a young woman writer who leaves the city to work one summer in the Maine seaport of Dunnet Landing, and stays with the herbalist Mrs Almira Todd. She writes a New England idyll rooted in friendship, particularly female friendship, weaving stories and conversations, imagery of sea, sky and earth, the tang of salt air and aromatic herbs into an organic 'fiction of community' in which themes and form are exquisitely matched. To quote Willa Cather: 'The 'Pointed Fir' sketches are living things caught in the open, with light and freedom and air spaces about them. They melt into the land and the life of the land until they are not stories at all, but life itself'. This edition, introduced by Alison Easton, also includes ten of Sarah Orne Jewett's short stories, among them 'The Queen's Twin', 'The Foreigner' and 'William's Wedding' set in Dunnet Landing.
In the late 1800s, best friends Helen Denis and Kate Lancaster spend a summer in the little seaside village of Deephaven, getting to know its residents. Her much acclaimed powers of description at their peak, Sarah Orne Jewett's classic "Deephaven" is a slow-paced gem, where everyday events become remarkable. The quirky people of the small community come alive in all their specificity through Jewett's characterization, and are guaranteed to stay with the reader for a long time after the book is over.
Please note: This audiobook has been created using AI voice.
The Country of the Pointed Firs was first published in serial form in 1896 in The Atlantic, then later expanded into a novel.
The narrator, like Jewett, is a middleaged female writer. She goes to the fictional coastal town of Dunnet Landing in Maine to find time and space to write. There she meets its residents, including her landlady, Mrs. Almira Todd, a widow and herbalist; she rents the empty schoolhouse as a place to write; and she sails with Mrs. Todd to meet Mrs. Todd's brother and elderly mother. The Country of the Pointed Firs is not so much concerned with plot, but with place-its rhythms, its people and its language. It captures the isolation, community and languishing of a small town.
It is often described as Jewett's finest work, and one of the most influential works of American literary regionalism. Willa Cather considered it one of the most enduring American literary works of all time.
A writer comes one summer to Dunnet Landing, a Maine seacoast town, where she follows the lonely inhabitants of once-prosperous coastal towns. Here, lives are molded by the long Maine winters, rock-filled fields and strong resourceful women.
A hundred and thirty years after it was first published, Sarah Orne Jewett’s story of a young medical woman remains an incisive rendering of the dilemmas of gender, society, and self. Nan Prince first becomes interested in medicine as a child, as the ward of the widowed physician Dr. Leslie. In time she becomes his protégée. But when she enters medical college, she realizes that she will have to choose between marriage and her career, between the demands of her society and her obligations to her true self. Inspired by Jewett’s own interests and by her father, A Country Doctor portrays a world very much in flux and Nan, ultimately, as a woman with a new world opening to her.
First time in Penguin Classics
S'il est vrai que le roman soit le reflet des moeurs et que toutes les révolutions qui se produisent dans notre manière de penser et de vivre y trouvent un écho, s'il est vrai que les périodes de secousses violentes, de transformations profondes, aient donné à la littérature d'imagination un élan vigoureux et renouvelé les sources où elle s'inspire, nous aurons dans les dernières années de ce siècle des romans d'une saveur imprévue. La loi sur le divorce, en diminuant le nombre des victimes condamnées sans rémission, en retirant au mariage son caractère définitif, à l'adultère ses excuses et à la séparation la part de périls et de tristesse qu'elle comportait toujours, va suggérer des dénoûments trop faciles peut-être.Fruit d'une sélection réalisée au sein des fonds de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, Collection XIX a pour ambition de faire découvrir des textes classiques et moins classiques dans les meilleures éditions du XIXe siècle.