Emily Dickinson is a poet of great interest because she is one of a handful of artists that “refuse to conform to the Anglo-American literary traditions” (Howe 11). One of the most fascinating aspects of Emily Dickinson’s character is that she willingly shuts her door to the world which ultimately allows her creativity to thrive without criticism. While historical documents allow contemporary readers insight into her life and provide potential reasons for her seclusion, but the best reflection of Dickinson’s character is found in her poetry. Dickinson’s poetry creates a paradox because her intentions are only seen through her critics. This makes it difficult to fully understand what Dickinson really meant through her words. Dickinson compresses the world around her and in doing so, she redefines literature. Dickinson is a part of her poetry, which is a personal, physical portion of what may be considered her soul. While the Anglo-American heritage tries to decompress Dickinson’s poetry so that the masses can understand, readers lose a part of the intensely personal piece that Dickinson put into her art. It is up to the contemporary reader to rediscover her tradition and to incorporate it back into an understanding of her work.
Emily Dickinson challenges rules of language and provides a different way to arrange her words on paper. Anglo-American systems are generally uniform to create a coherent, regular, and distinctive form of communication through language and literature. Dickinson had the courage to question the uniformity of language. Dickinson lived in a time when males were considered to be the scholars and females were designated to household tasks. The advancement that she had over ...
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...s shifted slightly, but the main threads are still visible. Although Todd does have a point, the controversy lies in whether or not she had the right to do what she did. Of course not all of Dickinson’s intention can be recovered, but closer representation through the investigation of original works is now possible. The question still remains pertaining to the issues of editing in general and how the process affects the artist’s true intentions. Let us look to Emily Dickinson’s situation as a reference for the future.
- Franklin, R. W. The Editing of Emily Dickinson: A Reconsideration. Madison, WI:
Wisconsin Press, 1967.
- Howe, Susan. My Emily Dickinson. Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1985.
- Jamison, Kay R. Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic
Temperament. New York, NY: Free Press Paperbacks, 1993.
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