Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Emily Dickinson – One of the most famous women poets of America, Emily Dickinson was born at Amherst, Massachusetts on 10 December 1830, where the Dickinsons were prominent people. Her grandfather was the founder of Amherst College, and her father, a lawyer, Congressman and a treasurer and trustee of the College. Emily was educated at home except for one year which she spent at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary at South Hadley. Thus her worldly experience was extremely limited, and barring a few visits to nearby Boston and Washington Dc, she remaind confined to her house and garden. A recluse by temperament, she habitually concealed her thoughts from other people and remained single all her life. Dressed always in white she came to be known as the ‘moth’ of Amherst. In 1862 she four of her poems to Thomas Wentworth Higgins, a poetry critic for The Altantic Monthly magazine asking for his comments, and an immediate response from him led to a 22-year-long correspondence. only eight of her poems were published during her lifetime and the others numbering nearly 1800 were discovered after her death in 1886 and published four years later. Her father and brother profoundly affected her emotional life as also reverend Charles Wadsworth, a married man with children whom she met in the 1850s. The exact nature of their relationship is not known but she underwent an emotional crisis when he moved to California and in that one year in an outburst of creativity she wrote nearly 366 poems. Early in her life she had turned against Calvinism and a strain of religious unorthodoxy runs through her poems. She was a mixture of a Puritan and a free-thinker and, like Emerson, had a deep reverence for Nature which she felt was ‘animated’ and a manifestation of the Divine will. Having lived for nearly fifteen years close to a cemetery and suffered the trauma of the death of loved ones, she was obsessed with death and the question of life after death. Though never didactic she had a penchant for truth which led to the discovery and revelation of her innermost experiences often conveyed through homely images. Disregarding accepted and practically all her poems are written in octosyllabic quatrains and coplets, using a mixture of provincialism and the on Solitary Fields standard speech of her Age. Constant use was made of the first person singular and, individualistic stylistic traits were evolved by her to aid unhampered utterance.

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