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Title:Selected Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett: A Critical Edition With Commentary
Author(s):Stoddart, Scott Frederick
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Baym, Nina
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, American
Abstract:Sarah Orne Jewett once wrote, "I wish some body would invent private telegraphs so we could talk with people at a distance. But perhaps this is a foolish wish for our thoughts would wander frightfully" (Letter 15). This attitude may seem surprising from an author who was such a prolific letter writer--though Jewett preferred talking with her literary acquaintances and confidantes to writing to them, she set aside the early morning hours for a correspondence that amounted to some thirty letters a day throughout her career.
The letters in this edition, all previously unpublished from the E. A. Robinson collection at the Miller Library, Colby College at Waterville, Maine, add two distinct dimensions to current Jewett scholarship, qualifying the image created by early biographers and editors of Jewett as a prudent, bookish spinster. The first dimension is apparent in her letters to Dr. Theophilus Parsons of Cambridge written from 1872 to 1881, detailing Jewett's struggles with religious questions and the composition of her first novel, Deephaven. The second becomes apparent through the letters of her later life written between 1887 and 1907, which show the humor and warmth of the mature author operating within the aristocratic society of Boston's women's community and the provincial countryside of her beloved South Berwick, Maine. These aspects provide evidence of the complexities of the woman to produce a richer portrait of the artist at work.
The edition contains the full texts of eighty-nine letters complete with scholarly annotations. The critical introduction places the importance of these letters in the context of the present state of Jewett biographical scholarship, stressing the importance of this collection to the development of a fuller understanding of Jewett's life and literary credo. In addition, it contains an explanation of editorial practice, a biographical dictionary of correspondents, and an index.
Issue Date:1988
Description:243 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8823260
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1988

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