The Wide, Wide World (Dodo Press)

Susan Bogert Warner (1819-1885), was an American evangelical writer of religious fiction, children's fiction, and theological works. She wrote, under the name of "Elizabeth Wetherell, " thirty novels, many of which went into multiple editions. However, her first novel, The Wide, Wide World (1850), was the most popular. It was translated into several other languages, including: French, German, and Dutch. Other than Uncle Tom's Cabin, it was perhaps the most widely circulated story of American authorship. In the nineteenth-century, critics admired the depictions of rural American life in her early novels. Early twentieth-century critics classified Warner's work as "sentimental" and thus lacking in literary value. In the later twentieth century, feminist critics rediscovered The Wide, Wide World, discussing it as a quintessential domestic novel and focusing on analyzing its portrayal of gender dynamics. Some of her works were written jointly with her younger sister Anna Bartlett Warner, who sometimes wrote under the pseudonym "Amy Lothrop". Her other works include: Queechy (1852), The Law and the Testimony (1853), The Hills of the Shatemuc (1856), The Old Helmet (1863), and Melbourne House (1864).

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By Vanessa (Brooklyn, NY) · ★★★☆☆ · October 19, 2007
i have such a complicated response to this book; it is so very long and so very limited to the narrator's spiritual struggle (and a struggle that is not familiar to, i think, contemporary readers) but it is also so very full of possibilities and the author's intelligence. the reader can see, in t... ...more
By Todd · ★★☆☆☆ · June 29, 2009
I only read half of this book.

If I had to read more of it I may not be alive today. ...more
By Laura · ★★★☆☆ · September 25, 2014
I'll admit it, I love a good old-fashioned stuffily moral book, and enjoyed this one pretty well... but I think you should have a solid understanding of actual Christianity to put up with the extended lectures and didacticism of "The Wide, Wide World." I felt for the heroine, a 10-year-old at the... ...more
By Kathleen (Portland, OR) · ★★☆☆☆ · October 26, 2013
This is DREADFULLY preachy, and I can't believe Jo March ever really liked it and cried over it. Especially at 15 or 16 years old. It's also OVERLY tragical (poor Ellen gets separated from everyone and everything she cares about multiple times, more than once through death). And yet there are a f... ...more
By Nicole (Tampa, FL) · ★☆☆☆☆ · December 26, 2014
This book took me forever, mainly because it made me so angry. I know it's a product of its time, but somehow, that doesn't make it better.
Ellen is a girl of indeterminate age (we find out she's ten or eleven halfway through the book) whose mother is very sickly and must go abroad for her health... ...more
By Lisa (Kirkland, WA) · ★★★☆☆ · August 10, 2010
This is a deeply religious novel with a moral message: all life’s trials are sent by God, and to live a good life is to bow one’s head (as if in a snowstorm), and accept whatever weather God sends. It is a message of more than selflessness; it is a call to erase the self. Give all one has for oth... ...more
By Jill · ★☆☆☆☆ · June 27, 2013
The Wide Wide World was one of America's first best sellers and I thought that sounded like something I should read. But it seems to me that this novel starkly highlights the author's lack of education or worldy experience. Throughout, it's nothing but a woman's--or really a girl's--world, filled... ...more
By Elisabeth · ★★★★☆ · November 04, 2014
Excellent book that grips you so you can't lay it down and inspires you in your Christian walk.

I gave it only 4 stars because I felt like it left you hanging a little at the end. ...more