Emily Elizabeth Dickinson only left her home once in the last 20 years of her life. The few people she came in contact with after her official shut-in had a very large effect on her work. By 1865, she had written more than 1100 poems (Poetry Foundation. org). [Therefore,] Emily Dickinson is an astounding and original American Poet from the nineteenth century whose influence to write came from her friends and other authors. She spent the last 20 years of her life as a recluse, only coming out of her house once before she died.
First and foremost, Emily Dickinson was born December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts (PoetryFoundation. rg). Her parents are Edward Dickinson and Emily Norcross-Dickinson, along with her siblings William Austin and Lavinia Norcross(Biography. com). Her father, Edward, was part of the Whig party and was elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature, and later elected to the Massachusetts State Senate. Her two sibling were not only her family, but they were also her friends throughout her lifetime. Emily and her siblings were all educated at Amherst Academy until Austin was sent away, and Emily decided to move on from the Academy.
Dickinson enrolled in the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in the fall of 1847, where she continued her schooling at the Academy. When she left Mount Holyoke, that was the end of her formal schooling (Poetry Foundation. org). Additionally, by 1860, Dickinson had written more than 150 poems. Susan Gilbert, Dickinson brother’s wife, and Emily had a lot in common. Dickinson sent Gilbert more than 270 poems for her to read. At the same time that Dickinson was celebrating having new friendships, she was also limiting her time with the outside world (Poetry Foundation. rg).
Emily was the main caregiver for her mother until her mother died in 1882 (Biography. com). Carol J. Cook states “Dickinson only left her home once in the last 20 years of her life, but actively maintained correspondences and read widely… She continued to engage with the outside world by reading newspapers, journals, and poetry”. Emily Dickinson died of Kidney Disease on May 15, 1886, in Amherst, at the age of 56 (Biography. com). Furthermore, Emily Dickinson was a very original poet, who was not publicly recognized until after her death.
She had many different inspirations and influences to continue writing her poems. Dickinson began writing when she was a teenager. She turned her letters from practice into performance. Her response to the death of the Amherst Academy Principal Leonard Humphrey in 1850 suggests her growing poetic interest. During her time at the Academy, Dickinson had chances to see Edward Hitchcock, the President of Amherst College, speak (PoetryFoundation. org). She also admired her family friend Benjamin Franklin Newton (Biography. com). Admittedly, these men inspired her to keep writing with her original poems.
Yet, she also looked to Susan Gilbert, her brother’s wife, as one of her most important readers (Poetry Foundation. org). The people she came into contact with during her lifetime had an impact in her poetry (Poets. org). Other poets and authors also inspired her to keep writing. She read the works of other authors, such as the Bronte Sisters, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Emerson (Poetry Foundation. org). Likewise, she also admired Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Poets. org). Ultimately, Dickinson used many different resources as inspirations, two she used a lot was religion and nature.
The only source she quoted more than Shakespeare in her poetry was the King James Bible, and she expressed a mixed relationship to the Bible. She engaged in many religious matters in her works and used the Bible as a source of metaphor as well as a solace. Yet, she also thought that the nature of poetry was an art form of sacred stature (Cook). It was not religion, but poetry that was important to her. Some of her poetry was heavily influenced by the metaphysical poets of the 17th century England (Biography. com). The 1850s marked the greatest poetic period, and by 1865, she had written more than 1100 poems.
A poem from 1859 carries the pattern of a hymn. After Dickinson’s death, her family found hand sewn books of poems called “Facies. ” Mabel Loomis Todd, Dickinson’s first editor, said that the “Facies were fair copies of poems, several written on a page, and pages are sewn together. ” It wasn’t until R. W. Franklin’s version of her poems came out in 1998 that the original order, unusual punctuation, and spelling choices of her poetry was restored (Poetry Foundation. org). Dickinson became known for her sharp verse that influenced the direction of the 20th-century poetry (Biography. om).
Dickinson has many works that are admired by many people. After her death, when the first volume of her poetry was published and given to the public, it was met with huge success (Poetry Foundation. org). Dickinson’s stature as a writer soared after the first publication of her poems in their intended form (Biography. com). Books, articles and musical renditions have multiplied to attempt to solve the puzzles of Dickinson’s poems. The awareness of complex thoughts between economics, liberty, and sacrifice typified in the Civil War appears in one of her elegies (Cook).
In the 1950s, Dickinson’s poems followed the rhythm of a hymn form she adopted. Dickinson started writing poems called the “wife” poems in the 1860s to reflect the ambiance of unmet demands of married women (Poetry Foundation. org). Dickinson has been viewed as a rebel against her upbringing to students (Cook). Her handwritten poems show a variety of dash-like marks of various sizes and directions (Poets. org). She often referenced to different things in her poems. Such as when she referenced to “escape” in one of her poems “Escape is such as Thankful Word”, from 1875 (Poetry Foundation. rg).
Critics have wondered different things about Dickinson’s poetry for years, and they still do. Works by critics that have enhanced Dickinson’s “art of belief” are written by Jane Donahue Eberwein, Roger Lundin, James Mackintosh, and Victoria N. Morgan. The authors realize the tangled web of Dickinson’s work and the impossibility of finding the definition and description of her philosophical and religious perspective. Victoria Morgan explains that Dickinson borrowed liberally from hymn phrases, images, and underlying piety they expressed (Cook).
Different critics argued that there is a unity in small collections, rather than the order being just chronological (Poets. org). Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s first recorded comments about Dickinson’s poetry is dismissive. Higginson counseled on her work longer and harder on her poetry before publication. One of Dickinson’s letters dated back to 1854 states “Sue-you can go or stay- There is but one alternative – we differ often lately and this must be the last. ” Critics speculated about its connections to religion, Austin Dickinson, poetry, or their love for each other (Poetry Foundation. org).
Dickinson was also her own critic. She criticized her own poetry and work. Dickinson sent her poems to the friends that she had, and they were very approving of women’s literature, culture in the 19th century (Poetry Foundation. org). Dickinson’s comments on herself as a poet implies a larger audience for her poems. It is evidenced that she wants a larger audience in one of her most famous poems “This is my letter to the World,” (Cook). Emily Dickinson had many famous works and many critics that thought all different things. Emily Dickinson talks about two things the most: nature and religion.
In a lot of her poems, she talks about religion and God a lot. Dickinson tells us about her views on religion in “‘Faith” is a fine invention,” and says that the men who actually see religion and God, believe faith is a good thing and that faith is a blessing from God. Her poem “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers” has a tone of calmness and unafraid of death. This poem gives out symbols of religion and imagery when she states”Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection” she gives out a symbol of religion. Dickinson also uses imagery of sight when saying the words “Morning”, “noon”, and “Crescent above them. She also uses figurative language as a simile when she states “Soundless as Dots. ”
Dickinson’s poem “Some keep the Sabbath going to Church,” Emily suggests that true worship comes from within or occurs at home. She reflects that she is getting somewhat bored of leaving her house and going to church in the line “I keep it, staying at Home -,” and she gives out a symbol of religion in the lines “God preaches, a noted Clergyman -,” and “So instead of going to Heaven, at last -” In conclusion, Emily Dickinson, and her poetry inspired many people and changed the direction of the 20th-century poetry.
She was and is known as a rebel against her religious upbringing to scholars. Her work was impacted very much by the people she came into contact with. In other words, Emily Dickinson is an astounding and original American Poet from the nineteenth century whose influence to write came from her friends and other authors. She spent the last 20 years of her life as a recluse, only coming out of her house once before she died.