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Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence.

 

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David Watkins

David Watkins

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Emily Dickinson couldn't find a secure faith or make a career of one. She graduated from Amherst Academy in 1847 and attended nearby Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for one year, returning home shaken by the attempts to persuade her to join the Congregational church.

Article: Emily Dickinson
Source: University of Illinois at...

In the early 1860s she underwent a profound psychological and emotional disturbance, which biographers have tried to connect with a tragic, unrequited love. There has yet to a conclusive answer to who the love was, but during the years 1862-66 she wrote more than a third of her total poems.

Article: Emily Dickinson
Source: University of Illinois at...

Emily Dickinson wrote nearly 1700 poems, though fewer than 10 were published in her lifetime. Her style, consisting of unorthodox phrasing, imagery, syntax, and capitalization, was considered too radical at the time she wrote. Her work has since become considered some of the greatest in American literature.

Article: Poet Emily Dickinson was ...
Source: ReadWriteThink

The first contemporary literary figure to become aware of her existence as a poet was clergyman and author Thomas Higginson. Although Higginson recognised her genius and became her lifelong correspondent and literary mentor, he advised her not to publish her work because of its violation of literary convention.

Article: HumanitiesWeb.org - Emily...
Source: HumanitiesWeb.org

Higginson never spoke to Dickinson, but glimpsed her once through a doorway wearing white. White was the only color she wore in her later years.

Article: HumanitiesWeb.org - Emily...
Source: HumanitiesWeb.org

Only recently did Dickinson's entire body of work become available. Thomas H. Johnson made her complete body of poems available in his 1955 edition, The Poems of Emily Dickinson.

Article: Emily Dickinson's Life
Source: Welcome to English « Dep...

Dickinson grew up in a household of politically active, dominant males. She complained in letters to friends about this. The Dickinson family tradition had prepared the poet for a life of political activity and public service, only to deny her that life because of her sex.

Article: Emily Dickinson's Life
Source: Welcome to English &laquo...

From 1858-1865 "Dickinson demonstrated seasonal changes in mood during the first four years of major productivity, followed by a sustained elevation of creative energy...during the second. They suggest, as supported by family history, a bipolar pattern previously described in creative artists."

Article: CME Activity
Source: PsychiatryOnline

More than a century after she died, new evidence came to light that Dickinson may have suffered from tuberculosis during her lifetime. Dr. Norbert Hirschhorn, after detailing her symptoms, writes, “…the effects such an experience may have had on her poetry have yet to be plumbed.”

Article:   So Has a Daisy Vanished: …
Source:  Offline Book/Journal

The town of Amherst, where Dickinson lived, was plagued by tuberculosis. After she died and the town set to recording its history, they made no mention of tuberculosis, either to make the town look good or because they considered it unremarkable.

Article:   So Has a Daisy Vanished: …
Source:  Offline Book/Journal
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