e. dickinson – general features

Emily Dickinson (1830 –1886 )
was an American poet. Though unknown in her lifetime, Dickinson has come to be regarded, along with Walt Whitman, as one of the two quintessential American poets of the 19th century.

Dickinson lived an introverted and hermetic life. Although she wrote, at the last count, 1,789 poems, only a handful of them were published during her lifetime — all anonymously and some perhaps without her knowledge.

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson in 1830, and lived almost all of her life in her family’s houses in Amherst, which has been preserved as the Emily Dickinson Museum. In 1840, Emily was educated at the nearby Amherst Academy, a former boys’ school which had opened to female students just two years earlier. She studied English and classical literature, learning Latin and reading the Aeneid over several years, and was taught in other subjects including religion, history, mathematics, geology, and biology.
From 1847 to 1848 Dickinson attended Mary Lyon’s Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (which would later become Mount Holyoke College) in South Hadley. After that, she left home only for short trips to visit relatives in Boston, Cambridge, and Connecticut.
Dickinson’s brother Austin married Susan Gilbert in 1856; Susan and Emily had known each other earlier. Emily asked Susan to critique her poems, at which she began working harder than ever.
Dickinson later died on May 15, 1886. The cause of death was listed as Bright’s disease (nephritis). After her death, her family found 40 hand-bound volumes containing more than 1,700 of her poems.

Her poetry is often recognizable Poetry and Influence
at a glance. Her facility with ballad and hymn meter, her extensive use of dashes and unconventional capitalization in her manuscripts, and her idiosyncratic vocabulary and imagery combine to create a unique lyric style.
Although over half of her poems were written during the years of the American Civil War, it bears no overt influence in her poetry.
By her death (1886), only ten of Dickinson’s poems had been published. In the twentieth century she was appreciated as a poet.

Miss Dickinson had an extremely unconventional and grotesque fancy. She was deeply was influenced by the mysticism of Blake, and by the mannerism of Emerson….But her verses are formlessness .
A new wave of feminism created greater cultural sympathy for her as a female poet.
she was a private poet who wrote indefatigably. A later variorum edition provided many alternate wordings from which Johnson, in a more limited editorial intervention, had been forced to choose for the sake of readability.
Because of her frequent use of common metre, many of Dickinson’s poems can easily be set to tunes

World around her and emotions
Themes: nature, religion, love and mortality
Language: cryptic and dramatic; original images and metaphors
Broken metres, frequent eccentric punctuation.
Inner struggle probably for religious reasons

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