This submission presents an edition of an unpublished manuscript chapter of Sarah Orne Jewett’s Country of the Pointed Firs, in which protagonist Almira Todd receives a $10,000 bequest from a suitor who rejected her many years before. In our introduction to the edition, we argue that Jewett drafted the chapter intending it to be a culminating chapter of the book version of Firs. Although she decided not to publish it, it represents her thinking at an advanced compositional stage about the genre and themes of her masterwork. In drafting it and then deciding not to use it, Jewett made a choice between recasting “Firs” in the conventional and closed novelistic form of the heterosexual romance or maintaining the queerer open structure and themes of the serialized “Firs” sketches, which are organized around visits and conversations between female friends. The unpublished chapter also casts light on the much-debated character of Jewett’s regionalism. Although we believe that she chose rightly by ending with “The Backward View” and thus pointedly resisting contemporary orthodoxies of genre, gender and sexuality, she simultaneously lost the opportunity to use the enrichment of Almira in “The Other One” to interrogate the economic logic of elite tourism to rural regions.


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pp. 331-365
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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