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The Country of the Pointed Firs

Sarah Orne Jewett


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 middle-aged 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.

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