Emily dickinson
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Emily Dickinson. American Literature Cecilia H.C. Liu 12/27/2004. Outline. Emily Dickinson ’ s Brief Biography Common Questions on Emily Dickinson Dickinson and Higginson Death in Victorian Era The Fascicles References. Emily Dickinson 1830-1886.

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Emily dickinson

Emily Dickinson

American Literature

Cecilia H.C. Liu

12/27/2004


Outline

Outline

  • Emily Dickinson’s Brief Biography

  • Common Questions on Emily Dickinson

  • Dickinson and Higginson

  • Death in Victorian Era

  • The Fascicles

  • References


Emily dickinson 1830 1886

Emily Dickinson 1830-1886

  • Dickinson was born on December 10th, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts, and died on May 15th, 1886, from “Bright’s Disease,” a vague and obsolete term for disease of the kidneys—acute or chronic, followed by stroke.

  • She lived out her life in only two houses and seldom left Amherst, which the period she left are listed as follows:

    • Amherst Academy 1840-46

    • Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary 1847-48

    • During her father’s term in the National House of Representatives, Dickinson visited him in Washington and stayed briefly in Philadelphia on her way home.

    • In 1864-65, she went to Boston for eye treatment.


Emily dickinson and her family

Emily Dickinson and Her Family


The writers dickinson admired

The Writers Dickinson Admired

  • Shakespeare: minute and personal

  • Keats

  • Charles Dickens: revered “sombre Girl”

  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  • Bronte Sisters

  • George Eliot

  • George Sand


Publication of dickinson s poems

Publication of Dickinson’s poems

  • Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s “Letter to a Young Contributor”

  • Only 7 poems published in her life, which were all anonymous and published by friends secretly

  • Lavinia (Vinnie) Dickinson found thousands of poems written by Emily after her death.

  • Helped by Mrs.Todd, the figure of literary prominence with whom the poet corresponded, Todd selected and edited several hundred poems from the mixed cache discovered by Lavinia.


Publication of dickinson s poems1

Publication of Dickinson’s poems

  • Poems 1890

  • Poems: Second Series 1891

  • Letters of Emily Dickinson, edited by Mabel Loomis Todd, 2 vols 1894

  • Poems: Third Series 1896

  • The Single Hound 1914

  • Further Poems 1929

  • Unpublished Poems 1936

  • Bolts of Melody :New Poems 1945

  • The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, 3 vols 1955

  • The Letters of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson. 3 vols 1958


Dickinson s relationship of passion

Dickinson’s Relationship of Passion

  • Has all been a mystery

  • Samuel BowlesAn editor of the Springfield Republican

  • Reverend Charles WadsworthA minister

  • Judge Otis Phillips LordHe was two decades older than Dickinson, as well as a life long friend of Mr. Dickinson, whom might have proposed to her, if Dickinson had not rejected him


Questions on dickinson

Questions on Dickinson

  • Q: What did Dickinson mean by "circumference"?

  • A: Significance for Dickinson

  • Circumference: Derived from the Latin root meaning "to carry or go around," which the emphasis of the word is the sense of encompassing.

  • "Emily Dickinson's most frequent metaphor for ecstasy was Circumference. Each of the negotiations which consciousness conducted between the me and the not me established a circumference. . . . The circle had long been a symbol for the spirit in activity" (Gelpi 121).

    • Earlier, in a letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson (2 July 1862), she said, "My Business is Circumference.“

    • In a letter, she writes, "The Bible dealt with the Center, not with the Circumference."


Questions on dickinson 2

Questions on Dickinson 2

  • Circumference is a double metaphor, which signifies extension and limit.

  • Typically, Dickinson connected this concept with feelings of awe and the sublime; the sublime has an element of fear or terror mingled with aesthetic perception.

  • "Circumference comes to serve as a complex symbol for those disrupted moments when in some sense time transcends time. . . [It is] an indispensable defense perimeter which separates man from God" (Gelpi).


Questions on dickinson 3

Questions on Dickinson 3

  • Why does Emily Dickinson use the dash?

    • To indicate interruption or abrupt shift in thought

    • As a parenthetical device for emphasis.

    • As a substitute for the colon: introducing a list,series, or final appositive.

    • To keep a note of uncertainty or undecidability. Dashes are fluid and indicate incompletion, a way of being in uncertainty,and mark without cutting off meaning.

    • The dash both joins sentences so that they have a boundary in common and resists that joining: it connects and separates.

    • It’s a falling away, an indefinite rather than a definite end to a line.


Questions on dickinson 4

Questions on Dickinson 4

  • Why did Dickinson capitalize so many words?

    • German, a language Dickinson knew, typically capitalizes nouns.

    • Capitalizing words gives additional emphasis.

    • Some believe that her use is at times idiosyncratic and more random than meaningful, since in some instances a word is capitalized in one of Dickinson's handwritten copies of a poem but not in another of her copies.


Dickinson and higginson

Dickinson and Higginson

  • Dickinson was influenced quite deeply by her close friendships with Samuel Bowles and J.G. Holland, and by her deep attachment to Charles Wadsworth and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

  • Thomas Wentworth Higginson was a prominent literary man to whom Dickinson turned for advice on publishing her poetry. He was a Unitarian minister, an abolitionist, and a well-known literary critic.

  • Higginson’s Comments on Dickinson


Higginson s comments on dickinson

Higginson’s Comments on Dickinson

  • "A recluse by temperament and habit, literally spending years without setting her foot beyond the doorstep, and many more years during which her walks were strictly limited to her father's grounds, she habitually concealed her mind, like her person, from all but a very few friends; and it was with great difficulty that she was persuaded to print, during her lifetime, three or four poems. Yet she wrote verses in great abundance; and though curiously indifferent to all conventional rules, had yet a rigorous literary standard of her own, and often altered a word many times to suit an ear which had its own tenacious fastidiousness." 


Death in victorian era

Death in Victorian Era


Death in victorian age

Death in Victorian Age

  • Death was shown in every day life during the 19th century.

  • Death infiltrated in many objects in the 19th century, and bereavement touched in every aspect of Victorian life.

  • Diseases such as rickets, which could have been cured with sunlight, led to bone deformities and left children vulnerable to other diseases.

  • One of the greatest killers of young children was diarrhea, which could kill an infant within 48 hours.

  • Among the deadly hazards older children faced were scarlet fever, measles, diphtheria, and smallpox.


Emily dickinson

“Fading Away,”Harper’s Weekly (1858)


Funeral custom in victorian age the rich and the poor

Funeral Custom in Victorian Age—the Rich and the Poor

  • an elegant hearse

    1. adorned with black ostrich plumes

    2. black horse(s) without riders

  • professional mourners (“mutes”)

  • lavish refreshments

  • paid weekly into a “burial club” in order to afford a horse-drawn hearse

  • not held the funeral until the next Sunday

  • without food during the time


General funeral custom in victorian age

General Funeral Custom in Victorian Age

  • influenced by Queen Victoria

  • deep mourning  half-mourning

  • funerals for children

  • “The closer relationship to the deceased, the more black that was worn, and the longer amount of time that it was worn.”


Emily dickinson

Woman in

Mourning Dress


Emily dickinson

Mourning for Children 

Man in Mourning Dress


Mourning jewelry

Mourning Jewelry

  • a trend of incorporating a lock of the deceased’s hair into mourning jewelry


References

References

  • Armand, Barton Levi St. Emily Dickinson and Her Culture: The Soul’s Society. New York: Cambridge UP, 1984. 39-77.

  • Frisch, Karen. “Childhood Diseases in the Victorian Age.”http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=5552

  • American Transcendentalism: An On-line Guidehttp://www.shepherd.edu/transweb/amherst.htm

  • Emily Dickinson.http://womenshistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.findagrave.com%2Fpictures%2F282.html

  • Beltran, Michele. “Death in America: Ritual and Memorial.”http://www.msu.edu/user/beltranm/mourning/DEATH_EX.HTM


References1

References

  • Douglas, Anne. “Victorian Mourning Customs.”http://ky.essortment.com/victorianmourni_rlse.htm

  • “The Mounring After.”http://www.geocities.com/victorianlace11/mourning.html

  • Campbell, D. “Common Questions on Emily Dickinson.”http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/faculty/campbell/enl311/common.html

  • Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginsonhttp://www.iath.virginia.edu/fdw/volume1/belasco/dickinson-higginson

  • http://www.geocities.com/sir_john_eh/nosurprise.html


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