Emily Dickinson Essay

3679 words - 15 pages

In her lifetime Emily Dickinson wrote over 1,775 poems, none of which were published while she was still alive. Dickinson’s writing styles and formats reflected several movements of her era including the revival of Puritanism, feminism, Transcendentalism, and Romanticism. These movements influenced the lifestyle and writing of Emily Dickinson.
Emily Dickinson has shaped much of feminist criticism. Throughout the growth of feminist criticism Dickinson is still the focal point. Dickinson’s poetry also shows evidence of a feminist humor. Feminist studies of Dickinson include her relationships as well as alleged relationships in regards to her sexuality, her humor in a satirical sense when ...view middle of the document...

Possibly the greatest indication that Dickinson had inclinations from transcendentalism was the amount of text in which nature takes a central role.
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts to a prosperous and well known family (wikipedia). Dickinson’s grandfather was one of the founders of Amherst College, and her father, Edward Dickinson, was a prominent lawyer as well as treasurer for the college (wikipedia). Dickinson’s father also served on the Massachusetts General Court, Massachusetts Senate, and the US House of Representatives (wikipedia). Dickinson’s mother, Emily Norcross Dickinson, was a shy and quiet woman who was chronically ill. Dickinson had one brother and one sister: William Austin Dickinson and Lavinia Norcross Dickinson (wikipedia).
Dickinson grew up in her family’s Amherst home, and attended the nearby Amherst Academy until the age of seventeen, when she transferred to Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (wikipedia). After less than a year of attending the seminary, Dickinson took ill and her brother William, more commonly known as Austin, was sent to bring her home. Aside from a few trips to Boston and various other locations after coming home from the seminary, Dickinson spent her entire life living in her father’s house. She dressed only in white and developed the reputation of being anti-social and an agoraphobic recluse (wikipedia) (Myers). Dickinson’s experience at the seminary may well have fueled the fire of her independence and been one of the contributing factors for her decision to stop attending church, and retain her reclusive and anti social reputation.
Dickinson never married, and her relationships and alleged relationships are still studied and debated. “Dickinsons emotional life remains mysterious, despite much speculation about a possible disappointed love affair. Two candidates have been presented: Reverend Charles Wadsworth, with whom she corresponded, and Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield Republican, to whom she addressed many poems” (Books and Writings 1). Some critics are challenging her sexuality and believe that there was more to her intimate relationship with friend and sister-in-law Susan Huntington Gilbert than meets the eye. Her relationships and sexuality have become very controversial amongst biographers and critics alike. Dickinson lived most of her life alone in her house, reclusive and anti social.
Emily Dickinson died on May 15, 1886 of Bright’s disease. Although regarded as one of the most prominent 19th century poets, Dickinson did not publish any of her works in her lifetime. After Dickinsons death her poems were brought out by her sister Lavinia, who co-edited three volumes from 1891 to 1896 (Books and Writings 2). Despite arguments and critics, Emily Dickinson is still a widely read poet.
“Although interest in one or more lovers continues, as does attention to the poets religious quest and to her quiet subversion of gender...

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