Sarah Orne Jewett : New England Pastoralist

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Terry A. Babb (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Robert Stephens

Abstract: In "Sarah Orne Jewett: New England Pastoralist" I have tried to demonstrate that an old tradition may be used to understand modern fiction, that the pastoral elements in Jewett must be reckoned with if one is to appreciate fully her best work, and that the pastoral elements account for her high reputation as a local colorist. William Empson's instructive discussion of the genre in Some Versions of Pastoral was useful, but this paper depends more on the traditional view of pastoral, as expressed by W. W. Greg and L. K. Chambers, which defines the genre in terms of country life. Chapter II examines Miss Jewett's rural background among the fisher-farmer folk she knew as a child and also examines her reading habits. Chapter III analyzes Deephaven, A Country Doctor, and A Marsh Island and points out how thoroughly they are permeated with pastoral assumptions. And the fourth chapter analyzes in detail Miss Jewett's acknowledged masterpiece, The Country of the Pointed Firs, and shows how her success depends more on pastoral assumptions than on local color. Finally, Sarah Orne Jewett is placed in the main stream of American literature by revealing the similarities between the pastoral theme of innocence and the Adamic myth of innocence which informs classic American literature.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1968
Jewett, Sarah Orne, $d 1849-1909 $x Criticism and interpretation
Pastoral fiction, American

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