emily dickinson (1830 –1886 )

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Film: A Quiet Passion

Emily DICKINSON (1830-1886)Emily Dickinson was born on 10th December 1830, considered universally the greatest American woman poet, was born in Amherst, a small town in Massachusetts, into an old family of New England Puritans. She studied at Amherst Academy, then for a year at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Her failure to become a professing Christian, as would have been expected of her by her teachers and her Calvinist family, was the beginning of her sceptical turn of mind. After Mount Holyoke, Emily Dickinson returned to Amherst where apart from a few visits to Philadelphia, Washington and Boston, she lived more and more as a recluse. Her home and gardens became exclusively the world she chose to inhabit, she refused to have any contacts with visitors, began to dress entirely in white, a practice she never abandoned and started writing, trying to express some of her passionate feelings through letters and poetry.

Works – Of her more than 1,700 poems only seven are known to have been published during her lifetime. After her death appeared Poems by Emily Dickinson – First Series (1890), and further volumes were brought to light during the years until the Complete Edition of the Poems (1955) which marked her worldwide fame and reputation.

Emily Dickinson was concerned with universals, thus the two great sources of her inspiration were the Bible and the phenomena of nature. Some of her poems start from minute observations of animals, plants, light, to move on to deeper subjects, to the eternal and the divine. Others are about love, pain, God, and they reflect both a revolt against conventional religion, morality and prudery, and the influence of her Puritan heritage, which can be felt when she turns to metaphysical questions such as renunciation, guilt and death. Her outlook remains dualistic in the sense that it juxtaposes the abstract with the concrete, the trivial with the sublime, reverence with satire.

In her poems Dickinson employed a complex and unusual syntax, sharp images, paradoxes and she adopted as a basic pattern the hymn metres familiar from her childhood, but her innovation of half-and quarter-rhymes, (the quatrain in iambic trimeters), her combinations of varying poetic feet metres and rhyme patterns helped to create a new sense of the richness with which the language can be used.

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 reason

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