A Historical Guide to Emily Dickinson by Vivian R. Pollak

A Historical Guide to Emily Dickinson

EditorVivian R. Pollak

Paperback | April 21, 2004

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One of America's most celebrated women, Emily Dickinson was virtually unpublished in her own time and unknown to the public at large. Yet since the first publication of a limited selection of her poems in 1890, she has emerged as one of the most challenging and rewarding writers of all time.Born into a prosperous family in small town Amherst, Massachusetts, she had an above average education for a woman, attending a private high school and then Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, now Mount Holyoke College. Returning to Amherst to her loving family and her "feast" in the reading line, in the1850s she became increasingly solitary and after the Civil War she spent her life indoors. Despite her cooking and gardening and extensive correspondence, Dickinson's life was strikingly narrow in its social compass. Not so her mind, and on her death in 1886 her sister discovered an astonishingcache of close to eighteen hundred poems. Bitter family quarrels delayed the full publication of Dickinson's "letter to the World," but today her poetry is commonly anthologized and widely praised for its precision, its intensity, its depth and beauty. Dickinson's life and work, however, remain inimportant ways mysterious. The essays presented here, all of them previously unpublished, provide an overview of Dickinson studies at the start of the twenty-first century. Written in an engaging and accessible style, this collection represents the best of contemporary scholarship and points the way toward exciting newdirections for the future. The volume includes a biographical essay that covers some of the major turning points in the poet's life, especially those emphasized by her letters. Other essays discuss Dickinson's religious beliefs, her response to the Civil War, her class-based politics, her place in atradition of American women's poetry, and the editing of her manuscripts. A Historical Guide to Emily Dickinson concludes with a rich bibliographical essay describing the controversial history of Dickinson's life in print, together with a substantial bibliography of relevant sources.

About The Author

Vivian R. Pollak is Professor of English and Women and Gender Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a past president of the Emily Dickinson International Society.

Details & Specs

Title:A Historical Guide to Emily DickinsonFormat:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 5.39 × 8.19 × 0.91 inPublished:April 21, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195151356

ISBN - 13:9780195151350

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Vivian R. Pollak and Marianne Noble: Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886: A Brief Biography2. Emily Dickinson in Her Time3. Jane Donahue Eberwein: "Is Immortality True?": Salvaging Faith in an Age of Upheavals4. Shira Wolosky: History, Language, and God: Emily Dickinson's War Poetry5. Betsy Erkkila: Dickinson and the Art of Politics6. Cheryl Walker: Dickinson in Context: Nineteenth-Century American Women Poets7. Cristanne Miller: The Sound of Shifting Paradigms, or Hearing Dickinson in the Twenty-First CenturyIllustrated ChronologyJonathan Morse: Bibliographical EssayContributors

Editorial Reviews

"This collection will be useful to students as they embark on the arduous yet rewarding task of beginning to understand Emily Dickinson. These essays offer perspectives that encourage thought, demand close reading, and highlight important scholarship."--Emily Dickinson International SocietyBulletin