Emily Dickinson


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Emily Dickinson

  1. 1. Megan Splain July 12, 2008
  2. 2. <ul><li>Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, MA </li></ul><ul><li>Her family were pillars of the local community </li></ul><ul><li>Their home, Homestead or The Mansion was used as a meeting place for distinguished visitors including Ralph Waldo Emerson </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Distinguished as original thinker </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In her brother’s words: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Her compositions were unlike anything ever heard – and always produced a sensation – both with the scholars and Teachers – her imagination sparkled – and she gave it free reign. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Education was “ambitiously classical for a Victorian girl” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Attended primary school on Pleasant Street </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attended Amherst Academy for 7 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Had a few terms off due to illness </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attended Mary Lyon’s Mount Holyoke Female Seminary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Only there for 10 months before returning home </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Believed to have returned home due to homesickness </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>While attending Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Emily was considered to be an outgoing and energetic person. </li></ul><ul><li>However, in her mid-twenties she began to grow reclusive. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1848 – Severe religious crisis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The one student unwilling to publicly confess faith in Christ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>She keenly felt her isolation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1852 – Leonard Humphrey dies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1853 – Ben Newton dies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1855 – Mother’s long illness begins </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1862 – Suffers emotional crisis </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Stayed home to help take care of her sick mother </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wrote to a friend in 1858 that she would visit if she could leave “home, or mother. I do not go out at all, lest father will come and miss me, or miss some little act, which I might forget, should I run away – Mother is much as usual. I Know not what to hope of her.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Domestic responsibilities increased as mother grew increasingly ill and Emily confined herself within Homestead. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sister Vinnie stated that because their mother was ill, one of them needed to stay with her and Emily took on this role. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ finding the life with her books and nature so congenial, continued to live it.” </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>During lifetime, “was known more widely as a gardener, perhaps, than as a poet.” </li></ul><ul><li>As she withdrew more from society, she began what would be her legacy in 1858. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reviewed previously written poems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Made clean copies of her work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assembled them in manuscript books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>These 40 fascicles created from 1858 – 1865 held nearly 800 poems. No one knew of them until after her death. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Befriended Samuel Bowles in the late 1850s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Owner and editor-in-chief of the Springfield Republican </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Emily sent him over three dozen letters and nearly fifty poems </li></ul><ul><li>Friendship brought out some of her most intense work </li></ul><ul><li>Samuel published some of her poems in his journal </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>The first half of the 1860s proved to be her most productive writing period </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is after she had mostly withdrawn from public life </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wrote many fewer poems after 1866 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal loss and loss of domestic help may have kept Emily too overwhelmed to keep up with previous levels of writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By 1867 she began to talk to visitors from the opposite side of the door rather than face to face. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Despite physical seclusion, Emily remained socially active and expressive through notes and letters. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>June 16, 1874 – Father dies in Boston </li></ul><ul><li>June 15, 1875 – Mother stricken with paralysis </li></ul><ul><li>January 16, 1878 – Samuel Bowles dies </li></ul><ul><li>April 1, 1882 – Rev. Charles Wadsworth dies </li></ul><ul><li>November 14, 1882 – Mother dies </li></ul><ul><li>October 5, 1883 – Nephew Gilbert dies of typhoid </li></ul><ul><li>March 13, 1884 –Judge Lord dies </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Dyings have been too deep for me, and before I could raise my Heart from one, another has come.” </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Fainted while baking in the June 1884 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First attack of final illness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Confined to bed in fall of 1885 </li></ul><ul><li>Dies on May 15, 1886 from Bright’s Disease (nephritis) </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Vinnie kept promise to Emily to burn her correspondence </li></ul><ul><li>Sister Vinnie discovered Emily’s large poetry collection after she died – nearly 1800 poems, though less than a dozen published in lifetime. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emily had left no instructions for these </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vinnie recognized their worth and became obsessed with their publication </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Published first volume four years after her death </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Heavily edited </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Complete Poems not published until 1955 by Thomas H. Johnson </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Three Distinct Periods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-1861: conventional and sentimental in nature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1861 – 1865: most creative period </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post 1866: only about 1/3 of collection written </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Structure and Syntax </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Short lines, no titles, extensive use of dashes, unconventional capitalization, idiosyncratic vocabulary and imagery, utilized slant rhyme and unconventional punctuation. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Three Major Themes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flowers and Gardens </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Master Poems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Morbidity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gospel Poems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Undiscovered Continent </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Though mostly unknown in her lifetime, Emily Dickinson is now recognized as one of the greatest poets of all time. </li></ul><ul><li>Some critics believe that her withdrawal enabled her to write her poetry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gave her the space to write (her room) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gave her time to write (free from woman’s duties) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Writing poetry may have served as a way of releasing or escaping from pain </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Crumbley, Paul. “Emily Dickinson’s Life” Modern American Poetry . 14 Jul 2008. http://www.english/uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/dickinson/bio.htm </li></ul><ul><li>“ Emily Dickinson. 7 Mar 2005. 14 Jul 2008. http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/dickinson.html </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Emily Dickinson.&quot; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia . 14 Jul 2008, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 14 Jul 2008 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Emily_Dickinson&oldid=225666372 . </li></ul><ul><li>Ferlazzo, Paul. Emily Dickinson . Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1976. </li></ul><ul><li>Habegger, Alfred. My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson . New York: Random House, 2001. </li></ul>