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Jewett, Sarah Orne (1849-1909)  
page: 1  2  

Jewett died in 1909 of a cerebral hemorrhage, and with her, it seems, died the imaginative possibilities of that premodern, relatively less sex-conscious world. Though Cather took her advice and left journalism, even dedicating her breakthrough novel of 1913, O Pioneers!, to Jewett's memory, she wrestled throughout her career with the problem of representing desire in a culture that by then regarded intimacy between women as "unnatural."

Jewett was a crucial precursor and role model, but the feelings she explores in stories like "Martha's Lady" (1897), in which the protagonist harbors a love for another woman that is "half a pain and half a golden joy," signified something different to the readers of Cather's generation.

Thus, she clung to her "masquerade" as a historical and occupational necessity, feeling forced to conceal what her literary foremother openly celebrated. Jewett's serene insistence that "a woman could love her in that same protecting way" poignantly yet clearly marks the cultural gulf that fell between these two prominent American women writers.

Marilee Lindemann

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Blanchard, Paula. Sarah Orne Jewett: Her World and Her Work. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1994.

Cary, Richard, ed. An Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett. Waterville, Me.: Colby College Press, 1973.

Donovan, Josephine. Sarah Orne Jewett. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1981.

Lindemann, Marilee. "Sarah Orne Jewett." Modern American Women Writers. Elaine Showalter, ed. New York: Scribner's, 1991. 235-250.

Nagel, Gwen L., ed. Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1984.

Roman, Judith A. Annie Adams Fields: The Spirit of Charles Street. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.

Sherman, Sarah Way. Sarah Orne Jewett: An American Persephone. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1989.

Smith-Rosenberg, Carroll. "The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations between Women in Nineteenth-Century America." Signs 1 (Autumn 1975): 1-29.

Toth, Susan Allen. "Sarah Orne Jewett and Friends: A Community of Interest." Studies in Short Fiction 9 (Summer 1972): 233-241.

Zagarell, Sandra A. "Narrative of Community: The Identification of a Genre." Signs 13 (Spring 1988): 498-527.


    Citation Information
    Author: Lindemann, Marilee  
    Entry Title: Jewett, Sarah Orne  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated July 24, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  


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