Deephaven and Other Stories

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Rowman & Littlefield, 1966 - Fiction - 272 pages
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Kate Lancasters Plan
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The Landscape Chamber
A White Heron
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Miss Tempys Watchers
The Town Poor
Miss Esthers Guest
The Guests of Mrs Timms

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About the author (1966)

Although Sarah Orne Jewett spent much of her life in South Berwick, Maine, the locale of many of her short stories, she traveled far beyond the narrow reaches of that New England seaport, both literally and figuratively. Classified as a regional or local-color writer, she produced stories that are among the finest in American literature, notable for their insight into human character and the quiet independence of women who face loneliness and frustration in their lives without giving up. Her most characteristic theme is nostalgic reminiscence. Unable to attend school because of arthritis, Jewett had the opportunity to observe both the landscape and the people of New England as she accompanied her father, a doctor, on his rounds. He encouraged both her reading and her writing. Her first published story appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 1869, and editor William Dean Howells encouraged her to publish her first collection, Deephaven (1877), stories set in a fictional town similar to South Berwick. Her first novel, A Country Doctor (1884), tells the story of a girl who chooses to become a doctor rather than marry. Other collections of short stories, including A Marsh Island (1885), A White Heron and Other Stories (1886), A Native of Winby (1893), Tales of New England (1894), as well as others, continued to detail the Maine countryside and life. The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), her largest and most mature collection of short stories, was considered a masterpiece by Willa Cather. In these, the narrator, a summer visitor from Boston, brings the perspective of the outside world to the New England scenes. Although Jewett traveled widely in the United States and Europe, meeting and becoming friends with such writers as Howells, Mark Twain, and Henry James, her strongest friendships and closest affinities were with women. A characteristic thread running through her work is that of female friendships and bondings. She spent summers and traveled with Annie Fields, the widow of editor James Fields. Without idealizing the past, Jewett's stories capture the vanishing New England rural life and seaport towns and sympathetically portray the lives of the people whose strength she so admired. Jewett's complete collected works are now available in print. Sarah Jewett stopped writing in 1902, after a fall left her with severe head injuries, but she continued to advise her protege, Willa Cather. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1909.

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