Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886)
was an American poet.
Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. Although part of a
prominent family with strong ties to its community, Dickinson lived
much of her life in reclusive isolation. After studying at the Amherst
Academy for seven years in her youth, she briefly attended the Mount
Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in
Amherst. Considered an eccentric by locals, she developed a noted
penchant for white clothing and became known for her reluctance to
greet guests or, later in life, to even leave her bedroom. Dickinson
never married, and most friendships between her and others depended
entirely upon correspondence. Dickinson was a recluse for the later
years of her life.
While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her
nearly 1,800 poems were published during her lifetime. The work
that was published during her lifetime was usually altered
significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules
of the time. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she
wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use
slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and
punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and
immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.
Although Dickinson's acquaintances were most likely aware of her
writing, it was not until after her death in 1886—when Lavinia,
Dickinson's younger sister, discovered her cache of poems—that the
breadth of her work became apparent to the public. Her first
collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, though both heavily
edited the content. A complete, and mostly unaltered, collection of
her poetry became available for the first time when scholar Thomas H.
Johnson published The Poems of
Emily Dickinson in 1955.
1.1 Family and early childhood
1.2 Teenage years
1.3 Early influences and writing
1.4 Adulthood and seclusion
1.5 Is "my Verse ... alive?"
1.6 The woman in white
1.7 Posies and poesies
1.8 Later life
1.9 Decline and death
3.1 Structure and syntax
3.2 Major themes
4 Modern influence and inspiration
6 See also
7.2 Editions of poetry
7.3 Secondary sources
8 Further reading
8.1 Archival sources
9 External links
Family and early childhood
The Dickinson children (Emily on the left), ca. 1840. From the
Dickinson Room at Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born at the family's homestead in
Amherst, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1830, into a prominent, but
not wealthy, family. Her father,
Edward Dickinson was a lawyer in
Amherst and a trustee of Amherst College. Two hundred years
earlier, her patrilineal ancestors had arrived in the New World—in
Puritan Great Migration—where they prospered. Emily
Dickinson's paternal grandfather, Samuel Dickinson, was one of the
founders of Amherst College. In 1813, he built the Homestead, a
large mansion on the town's Main Street, that became the focus of
Dickinson family life for the better part of a century. Samuel
Dickinson's eldest son, Edward, was treasurer of
Amherst College for
nearly forty years, served numerous terms as a State Legislator, and
represented the Hampshire district in the United States Congress. On
May 6, 1828, he married Emily Norcross from Monson. They had three
William Austin (1829–1895), known as Austin, Aust or Awe
Lavinia Norcross (1833–1899), known as Lavinia or Vinnie
By all accounts, young Emily was a well-behaved girl. On an extended
visit to Monson when she was two, Emily's Aunt Lavinia described Emily
as "perfectly well & contented—She is a very good child &
but little trouble." Emily's aunt also noted the girl's affinity
for music and her particular talent for the piano, which she called
Dickinson attended primary school in a two-story building on Pleasant
Street. Her education was "ambitiously classical for a Victorian
girl". Her father wanted his children well-educated and he
followed their progress even while away on business. When Emily was
seven, he wrote home, reminding his children to "keep school, and
learn, so as to tell me, when I come home, how many new things you
have learned". While Emily consistently described her father in a
warm manner, her correspondence suggests that her mother was regularly
cold and aloof. In a letter to a confidante, Emily wrote she "always
ran Home to Awe [Austin] when a child, if anything befell me. He was
an awful Mother, but I liked him better than none."
On September 7, 1840, Dickinson and her sister Lavinia started
together at Amherst Academy, a former boys' school that had opened to
female students just two years earlier. At about the same time,
her father purchased a house on North Pleasant Street. Emily's
brother Austin later described this large new home as the "mansion"
over which he and Emily presided as "lord and lady" while their
parents were absent. The house overlooked Amherst's burial ground,
described by one local minister as treeless and "forbidding".
They shut me up in Prose –
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet –
Because they liked me "still" –
Still! Could themself have peeped –
And seen my Brain – go round –
They might as wise have lodged a Bird
For Treason – in the Pound –
Emily Dickinson, c. 1862
Dickinson spent seven years at the Academy, taking classes in English
and classical literature, Latin, botany, geology, history, "mental
philosophy," and arithmetic. Daniel Taggart Fiske, the school's
principal at the time, would later recall that Dickinson was "very
bright" and "an excellent scholar, of exemplary deportment, faithful
in all school duties". Although she had a few terms off due to
illness—the longest of which was in 1845–1846, when she was
enrolled for only eleven weeks—she enjoyed her strenuous
studies, writing to a friend that the Academy was "a very fine
Dickinson was troubled from a young age by the "deepening menace" of
death, especially the deaths of those who were close to her. When
Sophia Holland, her second cousin and a close friend, grew ill from
typhus and died in April 1844, Emily was traumatized. Recalling
the incident two years later, Emily wrote that "it seemed to me I
should die too if I could not be permitted to watch over her or even
look at her face." She became so melancholic that her parents sent
her to stay with family in
Boston to recover. With her health and
spirits restored, she soon returned to Amherst Academy to continue her
studies. During this period, she first met people who were to
become lifelong friends and correspondents, such as Abiah Root, Abby
Wood, Jane Humphrey, and Susan Huntington Gilbert (who later married
Emily's brother Austin).
In 1845, a religious revival took place in Amherst, resulting in 46
confessions of faith among Dickinson's peers. Dickinson wrote to a
friend the following year: "I never enjoyed such perfect peace and
happiness as the short time in which I felt I had found my
savior." She went on to say that it was her "greatest pleasure to
commune alone with the great God & to feel that he would listen to
my prayers." The experience did not last: Dickinson never made a
formal declaration of faith and attended services regularly for only a
few years. After her church-going ended, about 1852, she wrote a
poem opening: "Some keep the Sabbath going to Church – / I keep
it, staying at Home".
During the last year of her stay at the Academy, Emily became friendly
with Leonard Humphrey, its popular new young principal. After
finishing her final term at the Academy on August 10, 1847, Dickinson
began attending Mary Lyon's Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (which later
became Mount Holyoke College) in South Hadley, about ten miles
(16 km) from Amherst. She was at the seminary for only ten
months. Although she liked the girls at Holyoke, Dickinson made no
lasting friendships there. The explanations for her brief stay at
Holyoke differ considerably: either she was in poor health, her father
wanted to have her at home, she rebelled against the evangelical
fervor present at the school, she disliked the discipline-minded
teachers, or she was simply homesick. Whatever the specific reason
for leaving Holyoke, her brother Austin appeared on March 25, 1848, to
"bring [her] home at all events". Back in Amherst, Dickinson
occupied her time with household activities. She took up baking
for the family and enjoyed attending local events and activities in
the budding college town.
Early influences and writing
When she was eighteen, Dickinson's family befriended a young attorney
by the name of Benjamin Franklin Newton. According to a letter written
by Dickinson after Newton's death, he had been "with my Father two
years, before going to Worcester – in pursuing his studies, and
was much in our family." Although their relationship was probably
not romantic, Newton was a formative influence and would become the
second in a series of older men (after Humphrey) that Dickinson
referred to, variously, as her tutor, preceptor or master.
Newton likely introduced her to the writings of William Wordsworth,
and his gift to her of Ralph Waldo Emerson's first book of collected
poems had a liberating effect. She wrote later that he, "whose name my
Father's Law Student taught me, has touched the secret Spring".
Newton held her in high regard, believing in and recognizing her as a
poet. When he was dying of tuberculosis, he wrote to her, saying that
he would like to live until she achieved the greatness he foresaw.
Biographers believe that Dickinson's statement of 1862—"When a
little Girl, I had a friend, who taught me Immortality – but
venturing too near, himself – he never returned"—refers to
Dickinson was familiar not only with the
Bible but also with
contemporary popular literature. She was probably influenced by
Lydia Maria Child's Letters from New York, another gift from
Newton (after reading it, she gushed "This then is a book! And
there are more of them!"). Her brother smuggled a copy of Henry
Wadsworth Longfellow's Kavanagh into the house for her (because her
father might disapprove) and a friend lent her Charlotte Brontë's
Jane Eyre in late 1849. Jane Eyre's influence cannot be measured,
but when Dickinson acquired her first and only dog, a Newfoundland,
she named him "Carlo" after the character St. John Rivers' dog.
William Shakespeare was also a potent influence in her life. Referring
to his plays, she wrote to one friend, "Why clasp any hand but this?"
and to another, "Why is any other book needed?"
Adulthood and seclusion
In early 1850, Dickinson wrote that "Amherst is alive with fun this
winter ... Oh, a very great town this is!" Her high spirits soon
turned to melancholy after another death. The Amherst Academy
principal, Leonard Humphrey, died suddenly of "brain congestion" at
age 25. Two years after his death, she revealed to her friend
Abiah Root the extent of her depression:
some of my friends are gone, and some of my friends are
sleeping – sleeping the churchyard sleep – the hour of
evening is sad – it was once my study hour – my master
has gone to rest, and the open leaf of the book, and the scholar at
school alone, make the tears come, and I cannot brush them away; I
would not if I could, for they are the only tribute I can pay the
The Evergreens, built by Edward Dickinson, was the home of Austin and
During the 1850s, Emily's strongest and most affectionate relationship
was with her sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert. Emily eventually sent her
over three hundred letters, more than to any other correspondent, over
the course of their friendship. Susan was supportive of the poet,
playing the role of "most beloved friend, influence, muse, and
adviser" whose editorial suggestions Dickinson sometimes followed, Sue
played a primary role in Emily's creative processes." Sue married
Austin in 1856 after a four-year courtship, though their marriage was
not a happy one.
Edward Dickinson built a house for Austin and Sue
naming it the Evergreens, a stand of which was located on the west
side of the Homestead. There is controversy over how to view
Emily's friendship with Susan; according to a point of view first
promoted by Mabel Loomis Todd, Austin's longtime mistress, Emily's
missives typically dealt with demands for Sue's affection and the fear
of unrequited admiration. Todd believed that because Sue was often
aloof and disagreeable, Emily was continually hurt by what was mostly
a tempestuous friendship. However, the notion of a "cruel"
Susan—as promoted by her romantic rival—has been questioned, most
especially by Sue and Austin's surviving children, with whom Emily was
Until 1855, Dickinson had not strayed far from Amherst. That spring,
accompanied by her mother and sister, she took one of her longest and
farthest trips away from home. First, they spent three weeks in
Washington, where her father was representing Massachusetts in
Congress. Then they went to
Philadelphia for two weeks to visit
family. In Philadelphia, she met Charles Wadsworth, a famous minister
of the Arch Street Presbyterian Church, with whom she forged a strong
friendship which lasted until his death in 1882. Despite seeing
him only twice after 1855 (he moved to
San Francisco in 1862), she
variously referred to him as "my Philadelphia", "my Clergyman", "my
dearest earthly friend" and "my Shepherd from 'Little Girl'hood".
In September 2012, the
Amherst College Archives and Special
Collections unveiled this daguerreotype, proposing it to be Dickinson
and her friend
Kate Scott Turner
Kate Scott Turner (ca. 1859); it has not been
From the mid-1850s, Emily's mother became effectively bedridden with
various chronic illnesses until her death in 1882. Writing to a
friend in summer 1858, Emily said that she would visit if she could
leave "home, or mother. I do not go out at all, lest father will come
and miss me, or miss some little act, which I might forget, should I
run away – Mother is much as usual. I Know not what to hope of
her". As her mother continued to decline, Dickinson's domestic
responsibilities weighed more heavily upon her and she confined
herself within the Homestead. Forty years later, Lavinia stated that
because their mother was chronically ill, one of the daughters had to
remain always with her. Emily took this role as her own, and
"finding the life with her books and nature so congenial, continued to
Withdrawing more and more from the outside world, Emily began in the
summer of 1858 what would be her lasting legacy. Reviewing poems she
had written previously, she began making clean copies of her work,
assembling carefully pieced-together manuscript books. The forty
fascicles she created from 1858 through 1865 eventually held nearly
eight hundred poems. No one was aware of the existence of these
books until after her death.
In the late 1850s, the Dickinsons befriended Samuel Bowles, the owner
and editor-in-chief of the Springfield Republican, and his wife,
Mary. They visited the Dickinsons regularly for years to come.
During this time Emily sent him over three dozen letters and nearly
fifty poems. Their friendship brought out some of her most intense
writing and Bowles published a few of her poems in his journal. It
was from 1858 to 1861 that Dickinson is believed to have written a
trio of letters that have been called "The Master Letters". These
three letters, drafted to an unknown man simply referred to as
"Master", continue to be the subject of speculation and contention
The first half of the 1860s, after she had largely withdrawn from
social life, proved to be Dickinson's most productive writing
period. Modern scholars and researchers are divided as to the
cause for Dickinson's withdrawal and extreme seclusion. While she was
diagnosed as having "nervous prostration" by a physician during her
lifetime, some today believe she may have suffered from illnesses
as various as agoraphobia and epilepsy.
Is "my Verse ... alive?"
In April 1862, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a literary critic, radical
abolitionist, and ex-minister, wrote a lead piece for The Atlantic
Monthly titled, "Letter to a Young Contributor". Higginson's essay, in
which he urged aspiring writers to "charge your style with life",
contained practical advice for those wishing to break into print.
Dickinson's decision to contact Higginson suggests that by 1862 she
was contemplating publication and that it may have become increasingly
difficult to write poetry without an audience. Seeking literary
guidance that no one close to her could provide, Dickinson sent him a
letter which read in full:
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Thomas Wentworth Higginson in uniform; he was colonel of the First
South Carolina Volunteers from 1862 to 1864.
Are you too deeply occupied to say if my Verse is alive?
The Mind is so near itself – it cannot see, distinctly –
and I have none to ask –
Should you think it breathed – and had you the leisure to tell
me, I should feel quick gratitude –
If I make the mistake – that you dared to tell me –
would give me sincerer honor – toward you –
I enclose my name – asking you, if you please –
Sir – to tell me what is true?
That you will not betray me – it is needless to ask –
since Honor is it's [sic] own pawn –
This highly nuanced and largely theatrical letter was unsigned, but
she had included her name on a card and enclosed it in an envelope,
along with four of her poems. He praised her work but suggested
that she delay publishing until she had written longer, being unaware
that she had already appeared in print. She assured him that
publishing was as foreign to her "as Firmament to Fin", but also
proposed that "If fame belonged to me, I could not escape her".
Dickinson delighted in dramatic self-characterization and mystery in
her letters to Higginson. She said of herself, "I am small, like
the wren, and my hair is bold, like the chestnut bur, and my eyes like
the sherry in the glass that the guest leaves." She stressed her
solitary nature, stating that her only real companions were the hills,
the sundown, and her dog, Carlo. She also mentioned that whereas her
mother did not "care for Thought", her father bought her books, but
begged her "not to read them – because he fears they joggle the
Dickinson valued his advice, going from calling him "Mr. Higginson" to
"Dear friend" as well as signing her letters, "Your Gnome" and "Your
Scholar". His interest in her work certainly provided great moral
support; many years later, Dickinson told Higginson that he had saved
her life in 1862. They corresponded until her death, but her
difficulty in expressing her literary needs and a reluctance to enter
into a cooperative exchange left Higginson nonplussed; he did not
press her to publish in subsequent correspondence. Dickinson's own
ambivalence on the matter militated against the likelihood of
publication. Literary critic Edmund Wilson, in his review of Civil
War literature, surmised that "with encouragement, she would certainly
The woman in white
In direct opposition to the immense productivity that she displayed in
the early 1860s, Dickinson wrote fewer poems in 1866. Beset with
personal loss as well as loss of domestic help, Dickinson may have
been too overcome to keep up her previous level of writing. Carlo
died during this time after providing sixteen years of companionship;
Dickinson never owned another dog. Although the household servant of
nine years, Margaret O Brien, had married and left the Homestead that
same year, it was not until 1869 that her family brought in a
permanent household servant, Margaret Maher, to replace the old
one. Emily once again was responsible for chores, including the
baking, at which she excelled.
A solemn thing – it was – I said –
A Woman – White – to be –
And wear – if God should count me fit –
Her blameless mystery –
Emily Dickinson, c. 1861
Around this time, Dickinson's behavior began to change. She did not
leave the Homestead unless it was absolutely necessary and as early as
1867, she began to talk to visitors from the other side of a door
rather than speaking to them face to face. She acquired local
notoriety; she was rarely seen, and when she was, she was usually
clothed in white. Dickinson's one surviving article of clothing is a
white cotton dress, possibly sewn circa 1878–1882. Few of the
locals who exchanged messages with Dickinson during her last fifteen
years ever saw her in person. Austin and his family began to
protect Emily's privacy, deciding that she was not to be a subject of
discussion with outsiders. Despite her physical seclusion,
however, Dickinson was socially active and expressive through what
makes up two-thirds of her surviving notes and letters. When visitors
came to either the Homestead or the Evergreens, she would often leave
or send over small gifts of poems or flowers. Dickinson also had a
good rapport with the children in her life. Mattie Dickinson, the
second child of Austin and Sue, later said that "Aunt Emily stood for
indulgence." MacGregor (Mac) Jenkins, the son of family friends
who later wrote a short article in 1891 called "A Child's Recollection
of Emily Dickinson", thought of her as always offering support to the
When Higginson urged her to come to
Boston in 1868 so that they could
formally meet for the first time, she declined, writing: "Could it
please your convenience to come so far as Amherst I should be very
glad, but I do not cross my Father's ground to any House or town".
It was not until he came to Amherst in 1870 that they met. Later he
referred to her, in the most detailed and vivid physical account of
her on record, as "a little plain woman with two smooth bands of
reddish hair ... in a very plain & exquisitely clean white piqué
& a blue net worsted shawl." He also felt that he never was
"with any one who drained my nerve power so much. Without touching
her, she drew from me. I am glad not to live near her."
Posies and poesies
Scholar Judith Farr notes that Dickinson, during her lifetime, "was
known more widely as a gardener, perhaps, than as a poet".
Dickinson studied botany from the age of nine and, along with her
sister, tended the garden at Homestead. During her lifetime, she
assembled a collection of pressed plants in a sixty-six page
leather-bound herbarium. It contained 424 pressed flower specimens
that she collected, classified, and labeled using the Linnaean
system. The Homestead garden was well-known and admired locally in
its time. It has not survived but efforts to revive it have begun.
Dickinson kept no garden notebooks or plant lists, but a clear
impression can be formed from the letters and recollections of friends
and family. Her niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, remembered "carpets
of lily-of-the-valley and pansies, platoons of sweetpeas, hyacinths,
enough in May to give all the bees of summer dyspepsia. There were
ribbons of peony hedges and drifts of daffodils in season, marigolds
to distraction—a butterfly utopia". In particular, Dickinson
cultivated scented exotic flowers, writing that she "could inhabit the
Spice Isles merely by crossing the dining room to the conservatory,
where the plants hang in baskets". Dickinson would often send her
friends bunches of flowers with verses attached, but "they valued the
posy more than the poetry".
On June 16, 1874, while in Boston,
Edward Dickinson suffered a stroke
and died. When the simple funeral was held in the Homestead's entrance
hall, Emily stayed in her room with the door cracked open. Neither did
she attend the memorial service on June 28. She wrote to Higginson
that her father's "Heart was pure and terrible and I think no other
like it exists." A year later, on June 15, 1875, Emily's mother
also suffered a stroke, which produced a partial lateral paralysis and
impaired memory. Lamenting her mother's increasing physical as well as
mental demands, Emily wrote that "Home is so far from Home".
Though the great Waters sleep,
That they are still the Deep,
We cannot doubt –
No vacillating God
Ignited this Abode
To put it out –
Emily Dickinson, c. 1884
Otis Phillips Lord, an elderly judge on the Massachusetts Supreme
Judicial Court from Salem, in 1872 or 1873 became an acquaintance of
Dickinson's. After the death of Lord's wife in 1877, his friendship
with Dickinson probably became a late-life romance, though as their
letters were destroyed, this is surmised. Dickinson found a
kindred soul in Lord, especially in terms of shared literary
interests; the few letters which survived contain multiple quotations
of Shakespeare's work, including the plays Othello, Antony and
Hamlet and King Lear. In 1880 he gave her Cowden Clarke's
Complete Concordance to Shakespeare (1877). Dickinson wrote that
"While others go to Church, I go to mine, for are you not my Church,
and have we not a Hymn that no one knows but us?" She referred to
him as "My lovely Salem" and they wrote to each other religiously
every Sunday. Dickinson looked forward to this day greatly; a
surviving fragment of a letter written by her states that "Tuesday is
a deeply depressed Day".
After being critically ill for several years, Judge Lord died in March
1884. Dickinson referred to him as "our latest Lost". Two years
before this, on April 1, 1882, Dickinson's "Shepherd from 'Little
Girl'hood", Charles Wadsworth, also had died after a long illness.
Decline and death
Although she continued to write in her last years, Dickinson stopped
editing and organizing her poems. She also exacted a promise from her
sister Lavinia to burn her papers. Lavinia, who never married,
remained at the Homestead until her own death in 1899.
Emily Dickinson's tombstone in the family plot
The 1880s were a difficult time for the remaining Dickinsons.
Irreconcilably alienated from his wife, Austin fell in love in 1882
with Mabel Loomis Todd, an
Amherst College faculty wife who had
recently moved to the area. Todd never met Dickinson but was intrigued
by her, referring to her as "a lady whom the people call the
Myth". Austin distanced himself from his family as his affair
continued and his wife became sick with grief. Dickinson's mother
died on November 14, 1882. Five weeks later, Dickinson wrote "We were
never intimate ... while she was our Mother – but Mines in the
same Ground meet by tunneling and when she became our Child, the
Affection came." The next year, Austin and Sue's third and
youngest child, Gilbert—Emily's favorite—died of typhoid
As death succeeded death, Dickinson found her world upended. In the
fall of 1884, she wrote that "The Dyings have been too deep for me,
and before I could raise my Heart from one, another has come."
That summer she had seen "a great darkness coming" and fainted while
baking in the kitchen. She remained unconscious late into the night
and weeks of ill health followed. On November 30, 1885, her feebleness
and other symptoms were so worrying that Austin canceled a trip to
Boston. She was confined to her bed for a few months, but managed
to send a final burst of letters in the spring. What is thought to be
her last letter was sent to her cousins, Louise and Frances Norcross,
and simply read: "Little Cousins, Called Back. Emily". On May 15,
1886, after several days of worsening symptoms,
Emily Dickinson died
at the age of 55. Austin wrote in his diary that "the day was awful
... she ceased to breathe that terrible breathing just before the
[afternoon] whistle sounded for six." Dickinson's chief physician
gave the cause of death as
Bright's disease and its duration as two
and a half years.
Dickinson was buried, laid in a white coffin with vanilla-scented
Lady's Slipper orchid, and a "knot of blue field
violets" placed about it. The funeral service, held in the
Homestead's library, was simple and short; Higginson, who had met her
only twice, read "No Coward Soul Is Mine", a poem by Emily Brontë
that had been a favorite of Dickinson's. At Dickinson's request,
her "coffin [was] not driven but carried through fields of buttercups"
for burial in the family plot at West Cemetery on Triangle Street.
Despite Dickinson's prolific writing, fewer than a dozen of her poems
were published during her lifetime. After her younger sister Lavinia
discovered the collection of nearly 1800 poems, Dickinson's first
volume was published four years after her death. Until Thomas H.
Johnson published Dickinson's Complete Poems in 1955, Dickinson's
poems were considerably edited and altered from their manuscript
versions. Since 1890 Dickinson has remained continuously in print.
"Safe in their Alabaster Chambers –," titled "The Sleeping," as
it was published in the
Springfield Republican in 1862.
A few of Dickinson's poems appeared in Samuel Bowles' Springfield
Republican between 1858 and 1868. They were published anonymously and
heavily edited, with conventionalized punctuation and formal
titles. The first poem, "Nobody knows this little rose", may have
been published without Dickinson's permission. The Republican
also published "A narrow Fellow in the Grass" as "The Snake", "Safe in
their Alabaster Chambers –" as "The Sleeping", and "Blazing in
the Gold and quenching in Purple" as "Sunset". The poem "I
taste a liquor never brewed –" is an example of the edited
versions; the last two lines in the first stanza were completely
I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such an Alcohol!
I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not Frankfort Berries yield the sense
Such a delirious whirl!
In 1864, several poems were altered and published in Drum Beat, to
raise funds for medical care for Union soldiers in the war.
Another appeared in April 1864 in the Brooklyn Daily Union.
In the 1870s, Higginson showed Dickinson's poems to Helen Hunt
Jackson, who had coincidentally been at the Academy with Dickinson
when they were girls. Jackson was deeply involved in the
publishing world, and managed to convince Dickinson to publish her
poem "Success is counted sweetest" anonymously in a volume called A
Masque of Poets. The poem, however, was altered to agree with
contemporary taste. It was the last poem published during Dickinson's
After Dickinson's death, Lavinia Dickinson kept her promise and burned
most of the poet's correspondence. Significantly though, Dickinson had
left no instructions about the 40 notebooks and loose sheets gathered
in a locked chest. Lavinia recognized the poems' worth and became
obsessed with seeing them published. She turned first to her
brother's wife and then to Mabel Loomis Todd, her brother's mistress,
for assistance. A feud ensued, with the manuscripts divided
between the Todd and Dickinson houses, preventing complete publication
of Dickinson's poetry for more than half a century.
Cover of the first edition of Poems, published in 1890
The first volume of Dickinson's Poems, edited jointly by Mabel Loomis
Todd and T. W. Higginson, appeared in November 1890. Although
Todd claimed that only essential changes were made, the poems were
extensively edited to match punctuation and capitalization to late
19th-century standards, with occasional rewordings to reduce
Dickinson's obliquity. The first 115-poem volume was a critical
and financial success, going through eleven printings in two
years. Poems: Second Series followed in 1891, running to five
editions by 1893; a third series appeared in 1896. One reviewer, in
1892, wrote: "The world will not rest satisfied till every scrap of
her writings, letters as well as literature, has been published".
Nearly a dozen new editions of Dickinson's poetry, whether containing
previously unpublished or newly edited poems, were published between
1914 and 1945. Martha Dickinson Bianchi, the daughter of Susan
and Austin Dickinson, published collections of her aunt's poetry based
on the manuscripts held by her family, whereas Mabel Loomis Todd's
daughter, Millicent Todd Bingham, published collections based on the
manuscripts held by her mother. These competing editions of
Dickinson's poetry, often differing in order and structure, ensured
that the poet's work was in the public's eye.
The first scholarly publication came in 1955 with a complete new
three-volume set edited by Thomas H. Johnson. Forming the basis of
later Dickinson scholarship, Johnson's variorum brought all of
Dickinson's known poems together for the first time. Johnson's
goal was to present the poems very nearly as Dickinson had left them
in her manuscripts. They were untitled, only numbered in an
approximate chronological sequence, strewn with dashes and irregularly
capitalized, and often extremely elliptical in their language.
Three years later, Johnson edited and published, along with Theodora
Ward, a complete collection of Dickinson's letters, also presented in
In 1981, The Manuscript Books of
Emily Dickinson was published. Using
the physical evidence of the original papers, the poems were intended
to be published in their original order for the first time. Editor
Ralph W. Franklin relied on smudge marks, needle punctures and other
clues to reassemble the poet's packets. Since then, many critics
have argued for thematic unity in these small collections, believing
the ordering of the poems to be more than chronological or convenient.
Dickinson biographer Alfred Habegger wrote in My Wars Are Laid Away in
Books: The Life of
Emily Dickinson (2001) that "The consequences of
the poet's failure to disseminate her work in a faithful and orderly
manner are still very much with us".
Main article: List of
Emily Dickinson poems
Dickinson's poems generally fall into three distinct periods, the
works in each period having certain general characters in common.
Pre-1861. These are often conventional and sentimental in nature.
Thomas H. Johnson, who later published The Poems of Emily Dickinson,
was able to date only five of Dickinson's poems before 1858. Two
of these are mock valentines done in an ornate and humorous style, and
two others are conventional lyrics, one of which is about missing her
brother Austin. The fifth poem, which begins "I have a Bird in
spring", conveys her grief over the feared loss of friendship and was
sent to her friend Sue Gilbert.
1861–1865. This was her most creative period—these poems represent
her most vigorous and creative work. Johnson estimated that she
composed 86 poems in 1861, 366 in 1862, 141 in 1863, and 174 in 1864.
He also believed that during this period, she fully developed her
themes of life and mortality.
Post-1866. It is estimated that two-thirds of the entire body of her
poetry was written before this year.
Structure and syntax
Dickinson's handwritten manuscript of her poem "Wild Nights –
The extensive use of dashes and unconventional capitalization in
Dickinson's manuscripts, and the idiosyncratic vocabulary and imagery,
combine to create a body of work that is "far more various in its
styles and forms than is commonly supposed". Dickinson avoids
pentameter, opting more generally for trimeter, tetrameter and, less
often, dimeter. Sometimes her use of these meters is regular, but
oftentimes it is irregular. The regular form that she most often
employs is the ballad stanza, a traditional form that is divided into
quatrains, using tetrameter for the first and third lines and trimeter
for the second and fourth, while rhyming the second and fourth lines
(ABCB). Though Dickinson often uses perfect rhymes for lines two and
four, she also makes frequent use of slant rhyme. In some of her
poems, she varies the meter from the traditional ballad stanza by
using trimeter for lines one, two and four, while only using
tetrameter for line three.
Since many of her poems were written in traditional ballad stanzas
with ABCB rhyme schemes, some of these poems can be sung to fit the
melodies of popular folk songs and hymns that also use the common
meter, employing alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic
trimeter. Familiar examples of such songs are "O Little Town of
Bethlehem" and "Amazing Grace'".
Dickinson scholar and poet
Anthony Hecht finds resonances in
Dickinson's poetry not only with hymns and song-forms but also with
psalms and riddles, citing the following example: "Who is the
East? / The Yellow Man / Who may be Purple if he can /
That carries the Sun. / Who is the West? / The Purple
Man / Who may be Yellow if He can / That lets Him out
Late 20th-century scholars are "deeply interested" by Dickinson's
highly individual use of punctuation and lineation (line lengths and
line breaks). Following the publication of one of the few poems
that appeared in her lifetime – "A narrow Fellow in the Grass",
published as "The Snake" in the Republican – Dickinson
complained that the edited punctuation (an added comma and a full stop
substitution for the original dash) altered the meaning of the entire
A narrow Fellow in the Grass
Occasionally rides –
You may have met Him – did you not
His notice sudden is –
A narrow Fellow in the Grass
Occasionally rides –
You may have met Him – did you not,
His notice sudden is.
As Farr points out, "snakes instantly notice you"; Dickinson's version
captures the "breathless immediacy" of the encounter; and The
Republican's punctuation renders "her lines more commonplace".
With the increasingly close focus on Dickinson's structures and syntax
has come a growing appreciation that they are "aesthetically
based". Although Johnson's landmark 1955 edition of poems was
relatively unaltered from the original, later scholars critiqued it
for deviating from the style and layout of Dickinson's manuscripts.
Meaningful distinctions, these scholars assert, can be drawn from
varying lengths and angles of dash, and differing arrangements of text
on the page. Several volumes have attempted to render Dickinson's
handwritten dashes using many typographic symbols of varying length
and angle. R. W. Franklin's 1998 variorum edition of the poems
provided alternate wordings to those chosen by Johnson, in a more
limited editorial intervention. Franklin also used typeset dashes of
varying length to approximate the manuscripts' dashes more
Dickinson left no formal statement of her aesthetic intentions and,
because of the variety of her themes, her work does not fit
conveniently into any one genre. She has been regarded, alongside
Emerson (whose poems Dickinson admired), as a Transcendentalist.
However, Farr disagrees with this analysis, saying that Dickinson's
"relentlessly measuring mind ... deflates the airy elevation of the
Transcendental". Apart from the major themes discussed below,
Dickinson's poetry frequently uses humor, puns, irony and satire.
Flowers and gardens: Farr notes that Dickinson's "poems and letters
almost wholly concern flowers" and that allusions to gardens often
refer to an "imaginative realm ... wherein flowers [are] often emblems
for actions and emotions". She associates some flowers, like
gentians and anemones, with youth and humility; others with prudence
and insight. Her poems were often sent to friends with
accompanying letters and nosegays. Farr notes that one of
Dickinson's earlier poems, written about 1859, appears to "conflate
her poetry itself with the posies": "My nosegays are for
Captives – / Dim – long expectant
eyes – / Fingers denied the plucking, / Patient till
Paradise – / To such, if they sh'd whisper / Of
morning and the moor – / They bear no other errand, /
And I, no other prayer".
The Master poems: Dickinson left a large number of poems addressed to
"Signor", "Sir" and "Master", who is characterized as Dickinson's
"lover for all eternity". These confessional poems are often
"searing in their self-inquiry" and "harrowing to the reader" and
typically take their metaphors from texts and paintings of Dickinson's
day. The Dickinson family themselves believed these poems were
addressed to actual individuals but this view is frequently rejected
by scholars. Farr, for example, contends that the Master is an
unattainable composite figure, "human, with specific characteristics,
but godlike" and speculates that Master may be a "kind of Christian
Morbidity: Dickinson's poems reflect her "early and lifelong
fascination" with illness, dying and death. Perhaps surprisingly
for a New England spinster, her poems allude to death by many methods:
"crucifixion, drowning, hanging, suffocation, freezing, premature
burial, shooting, stabbing and guillotinage". She reserved her
sharpest insights into the "death blow aimed by God" and the "funeral
in the brain", often reinforced by images of thirst and starvation.
Dickinson scholar Vivian Pollak considers these references an
autobiographical reflection of Dickinson's "thirsting-starving
persona", an outward expression of her needy self-image as small, thin
and frail. Dickinson's most psychologically complex poems explore
the theme that the loss of hunger for life causes the death of self
and place this at "the interface of murder and suicide".
Gospel poems: Throughout her life, Dickinson wrote poems reflecting a
preoccupation with the teachings of Jesus Christ and, indeed, many are
addressed to him. She stresses the Gospels' contemporary
pertinence and recreates them, often with "wit and American colloquial
language". Scholar Dorothy Oberhaus finds that the "salient
feature uniting Christian poets ... is their reverential attention to
the life of Jesus Christ" and contends that Dickinson's deep
structures place her in the "poetic tradition of Christian devotion"
alongside Hopkins, Eliot and Auden. In a Nativity poem, Dickinson
combines lightness and wit to revisit an ancient theme: "The Savior
must have been / A docile Gentleman – / To come so
far so cold a Day / For little Fellowmen / The Road to
Bethlehem / Since He and I were Boys / Was leveled, but for
that twould be / A rugged billion Miles –".
The Undiscovered Continent: Academic Suzanne Juhasz considers that
Dickinson saw the mind and spirit as tangible visitable places and
that for much of her life she lived within them. Often, this
intensely private place is referred to as the "undiscovered continent"
and the "landscape of the spirit" and embellished with nature imagery.
At other times, the imagery is darker and forbidding—castles or
prisons, complete with corridors and rooms—to create a dwelling
place of "oneself" where one resides with one's other selves. An
example that brings together many of these ideas is: "Me from
Myself – to banish – / Had I Art – /
Impregnable my Fortress / Unto All Heart – / But
since myself—assault Me – / How have I peace /
Except by subjugating / Consciousness. / And since We're
mutual Monarch / How this be / Except by
Abdication – / Me – of Me?".
Dickinson wrote and sent this poem ("A Route to Evanescence") to
Thomas Higginson in 1880.
The surge of posthumous publication gave Dickinson's poetry its first
public exposure. Backed by Higginson and with a favorable notice from
William Dean Howells, an editor of Harper's Magazine, the poetry
received mixed reviews after it was first published in 1890. Higginson
himself stated in his preface to the first edition of Dickinson's
published work that the poetry's quality "is that of extraordinary
grasp and insight", albeit "without the proper control and
chastening" that the experience of publishing during her lifetime
might have conferred. His judgment that her opus was "incomplete
and unsatisfactory" would be echoed in the essays of the New Critics
in the 1930s.
Maurice Thompson, who was literary editor of The Independent for
twelve years, noted in 1891 that her poetry had "a strange mixture of
rare individuality and originality". Some critics hailed
Dickinson's effort, but disapproved of her unusual non-traditional
style. Andrew Lang, a British writer, dismissed Dickinson's work,
stating that "if poetry is to exist at all, it really must have form
and grammar, and must rhyme when it professes to rhyme. The wisdom of
the ages and the nature of man insist on so much". Thomas Bailey
Aldrich, a poet and novelist, equally dismissed Dickinson's poetic
The Atlantic Monthly
The Atlantic Monthly in January 1892: "It is plain that
Miss Dickinson possessed an extremely unconventional and grotesque
fancy. She was deeply tinged by the mysticism of Blake, and strongly
influenced by the mannerism of Emerson ... But the incoherence and
formlessness of her — versicles are fatal ... an eccentric,
dreamy, half-educated recluse in an out-of-the-way New England village
(or anywhere else) cannot with impunity set at defiance the laws of
gravitation and grammar".
Critical attention to Dickinson's poetry was meager from 1897 to the
early 1920s. By the start of the 20th century, interest in her
poetry became broader in scope and some critics began to consider
Dickinson as essentially modern. Rather than seeing Dickinson's poetic
styling as a result of lack of knowledge or skill, modern critics
believed the irregularities were consciously artistic. In a 1915
Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant
Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant called the poet's inspiration
"daring" and named her "one of the rarest flowers the sterner New
England land ever bore". With the growing popularity of modernist
poetry in the 1920s, Dickinson's failure to conform to 19th-century
poetic form was no longer surprising nor distasteful to new
generations of readers. Dickinson was suddenly referred to by various
critics as a great woman poet, and a cult following began to
In the 1930s, a number of the New Critics – among them R. P.
Blackmur, Allen Tate,
Cleanth Brooks and Yvor Winters –
appraised the significance of Dickinson's poetry. As critic Roland
Hagenbüchle pointed out, their "affirmative and prohibitive tenets
turned out to be of special relevance to Dickinson scholarship".
Blackmur, in an attempt to focus and clarify the major claims for and
against the poet's greatness, wrote in a landmark 1937 critical essay:
"... she was a private poet who wrote as indefatigably as some women
cook or knit. Her gift for words and the cultural predicament of her
time drove her to poetry instead of antimacassars ... She came... at
the right time for one kind of poetry: the poetry of sophisticated,
The second wave of feminism created greater cultural sympathy for her
as a female poet. In the first collection of critical essays on
Dickinson from a feminist perspective, she is heralded as the greatest
woman poet in the English language. Biographers and theorists of
the past tended to separate Dickinson's roles as a woman and a poet.
For example, George Whicher wrote in his 1952 book This Was a Poet: A
Critical Biography of Emily Dickinson, "Perhaps as a poet [Dickinson]
could find the fulfillment she had missed as a woman." Feminist
criticism, on the other hand, declares that there is a necessary and
powerful conjunction between Dickinson being a woman and a poet.
Adrienne Rich theorized in Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily
Dickinson (1976) that Dickinson's identity as a woman poet brought her
power: "[she] chose her seclusion, knowing she was exceptional and
knowing what she needed. ... She carefully selected her society and
controlled the disposal of her time ... neither eccentric nor quaint;
she was determined to survive, to use her powers, to practice
Some scholars question the poet's sexuality, theorizing that the
numerous letters and poems that were dedicated to Susan Gilbert
Dickinson indicate a lesbian romance, and speculating about how this
may have influenced her poetry. Critics such as John Cody,
Lillian Faderman, Vivian R. Pollak, Paula Bennett, Judith Farr, Ellen
Louise Hart, and
Martha Nell Smith have argued that Susan was the
central erotic relationship in Dickinson's life.
In the early 20th century, Martha Dickinson Bianchi and Millicent Todd
Bingham kept the achievement of
Emily Dickinson alive. Bianchi
promoted Dickinson's poetic achievement. Bianchi inherited The
Evergreens as well as the copyright for her aunt's poetry from her
parents, publishing works such as
Emily Dickinson Face to Face and
Letters of Emily Dickinson, which stoked public curiosity about her
aunt. Bianchi's books perpetrated legends about her aunt in the
context of family tradition, personal recollection and correspondence.
In contrast, Millicent Todd Bingham's took a more objective and
realistic approach to the poet.
Emily Dickinson is now considered a powerful and persistent figure in
American culture. Although much of the early reception
concentrated on Dickinson's eccentric and secluded nature, she has
become widely acknowledged as an innovative, proto-modernist
poet. As early as 1891,
William Dean Howells
William Dean Howells wrote that "If
nothing else had come out of our life but this strange poetry, we
should feel that in the work of Emily Dickinson, America, or New
England rather, had made a distinctive addition to the literature of
the world, and could not be left out of any record of it." Critic
Harold Bloom has placed her alongside Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens,
Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, and
Hart Crane as a major American
poet, and in 1994 listed her among the 26 central writers of
Dickinson is taught in
American literature and poetry classes in the
United States from middle school to college. Her poetry is frequently
anthologized and has been used as texts for art songs by composers
such as Aaron Copland, Nick Peros, John Adams and Michael Tilson
Thomas. Several schools have been established in her name; for
Emily Dickinson Elementary Schools exist in Bozeman,
Montana,Redmond, Washington, and New York City. A few
literary journals—including The
Emily Dickinson Journal, the
official publication of the
Emily Dickinson International
Society—have been founded to examine her work. An 8-cent
commemorative stamp in honor of Dickinson was issued by the United
States Postal Service on August 28, 1971 as the second stamp in the
"American Poet" series. A one-woman play titled The Belle of
Amherst first appeared on Broadway in 1976, winning several awards; it
was later adapted for television.
Dickinson's herbarium, which is now held in the
Houghton Library at
Harvard University, was published in 2006 as Emily Dickinson's
Harvard University Press. The original work was
compiled by Dickinson during her years at Amherst Academy, and
consists of 424 pressed specimens of plants arranged on 66 pages of a
bound album. A digital facsimile of the herbarium is available
online. The town of Amherst Jones Library's
department has an
Emily Dickinson Collection consisting of
approximately seven thousand items, including original manuscript
poems and letters, family correspondence, scholarly articles and
books, newspaper clippings, theses, plays, photographs and
contemporary artwork and prints. The Archives and Special
Amherst College has substantial holdings of Dickinson's
manuscripts and letters as well as a lock of Dickinson's hair and the
original of the only positively identified image of the poet. In 1965,
in recognition of Dickinson's growing stature as a poet, the Homestead
was purchased by Amherst College. It opened to the public for tours,
and also served as a faculty residence for many years. The Emily
Dickinson Museum was created in 2003 when ownership of the Evergreens,
which had been occupied by Dickinson family heirs until 1988, was
transferred to the college.
The Dickinson Homestead today, now the
Emily Dickinson Museum
Emily Dickinson commemorative stamp, 1971
Modern influence and inspiration
"Yesterday is History" as a wall poem in The Hague (2016)
Emily Dickinson's life and works have been the source of inspiration
to artists, particularly to feminist orientated artists, of a variety
of mediums. A few notable examples are as follows:
The feminist artwork The Dinner Party, by Judy Chicago, first
exhibited in 1979, features a place setting for Dickinson.
Jane Campion's film The Piano and its novelization (co-authored by
Kate Pullinger) were inspired by the poetry of
Emily Dickinson as well
as the novels by the Bronte Sisters.
A character who is a literary scholar at a fictional New England
college in the comic campus novel by
Pamela Hansford Johnson
Pamela Hansford Johnson Night and
Silence Who Is Here? is intent on proving that Emily Dickinson
was a secret dipsomaniac. His obsession costs him his job.
The 2016 film
A Quiet Passion
A Quiet Passion by
Terence Davies is a biography of
Dickinson, in which
Cynthia Nixon plays the poet.
Emily Dickinson's poetry has been translated to different languages
including French, Spanish, Farsi, Kurdish, and Russian. A few examples
of these translations are as follows:
The Queen of Bashful Violets, a Kurdish translation by Madeh Piryonesi
published in 2016.
French translation by Charlotte Melançon which includes 40
Farsi translations: Three
Farsi translations of
Emily Dickinson are
available from Saeed Saeedpoor, Madeh Piryonesi and Okhovat.
Emily Dickinson poems
^ D'Arienzo (2006)
Emily Dickinson biography".
^ Sources differ as to the number of poems that were published, but
most put it between seven and ten.
^ a b McNeil (1986), 2.
^ Sewall (1974), 321.
^ "Dickinson, #657". itech.fgcu.edu. Archived from the original on
2016-10-04. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
^ Sewall (1974), 17–18.
^ Sewall (1974), 337; Wolff (1986), 19–21.
^ Wolff (1986), 14.
^ Wolff (1986), 36.
^ Sewall (1974), 324.
^ Habegger (2001), 85.
^ a b Sewall (1974), 337.
^ Farr (2005), 1.
^ Sewall (1974), 335.
^ Wolff (1986), 45.
^ a b Habegger (2001), 129.
^ Sewall (1974) 322.
^ Johnson (1960), 302.
^ Habegger (2001). 142.
^ Sewall (1974), 342.
^ Habegger (2001), 148.
^ a b Wolff (1986), 77.
^ a b c Ford (1966), 18.
^ Habegger (2001), 172.
^ Ford (1966), 55.
^ Ford (1966), 47–48.
^ a b Habegger (2001), 168.
^ Ford (1966), 37.
^ Johnson (1960), 153.
^ Ford (1966), 46.
^ Sewall (1974), 368.
^ Sewall (1974), 358.
^ Habegger (2001), 211.
^ a b Pickard (1967), 19.
^ Habegger (2001), 213.
^ Habegger (2001), 216.
^ Sewall (1974), 401.
^ a b Habegger (2001), 221.
^ Habegger (2001), 218.
^ Knapp (1989), 59.
^ Sewall (1974), 683.
^ a b Habegger (2001), 226.
^ Sewall (1974), 700–701.
^ Sewall (1974), 340.
^ Sewall (1974), 341.
^ Martin (2002), 53.
^ Habegger (2001), 338.
^ Pickard (1967), 21.
^ Longenbach, James. (June 16, 2010.) "Ardor and the Abyss". The
Nation. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
^ Sewall (1974), 444.
^ Sewall (1974), 447.
^ Habegger (2001), 330.
^ 'The World Is Not Acquainted With Us': A New Dickinson
Amherst College Archives and
Website. September 6, 2012.
^ Walsh (1971), 87.
^ a b c Habegger (2001). 342.
^ a b Habegger (2001), 353.
^ Sewall (1974), 463.
^ Sewall (1974), 473.
^ Habegger (2001), 376; McNeil (1986), 33.
^ Franklin (1998), 5
^ Ford (1966), 39.
^ Habegger (2001), 405.
^ McDermott, John F. 2000. "Emily Dickinson's 'Nervous Prostration'
and Its Possible Relationship to Her Work". The Emily Dickinson
Journal. 9(1). pp. 71–86.
^ Fuss, Diana. 1998. "Interior Chambers: The Emily Dickinson
Homestead". A Journal of
Feminist Cultural Studies. 10(3). pp. 1–46
^ "A bomb in her bosom: Emily Dickinson's secret life". The Guardian.
February 13, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
^ Johnson (1960), v.
^ Wolff (1986), 249–250.
^ Sewall (1974), 541.
^ Habegger (2001), 453.
^ Johnson (1960), vii.
^ Habegger (2001), 455.
^ Blake (1964), 45.
^ Habegger (2001), 456.
^ Sewall (1974), 554–555.
^ Wolff (1986), 254.
^ Wolff (1986), 188.
^ Wolff (1986), 188, 258.
^ Wilson (1986), 491.
^ Habegger (2001), 498.
^ Habegger (2001), 501; Murray (1996), 286–287.
^ Habegger (2001), 502; Murray (1996), 287.
^ Johnson (1960), 123–124.
^ Habegger (2001), 517.
^ Habegger (2001), 516.
^ Habegger (2001), 540.
^ Habegger (2001), 548.
^ Habegger (2001), 541.
^ a b Habegger (2001), 547.
^ Habegger (2001), 521.
^ Habegger (2001), 523.
^ Habegger (2001), 524.
^ a b c Farr (2005), 3–6.
^ Habegger (2001), 154.
^ "The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson". The New York Times. 17 May
^ a b c Parker, G9.
^ Habegger (2001), 562.
^ Habegger (2001), 566.
^ Habegger (2001), 569.
^ Johnson (1960), 661.
^ Habegger (2001: 587); Sewall (1974), 642.
^ Sewall (1974), 651.
^ Sewall (1974), 652.
^ Habegger (2001), 592; Sewall (1974), 653.
^ Habegger (2001), 591.
^ Habegger (2001), 597.
^ Habegger (2001), 604.
^ Walsh (1971), 26.
^ Habegger (2001), 612.
^ Habegger (2001), 607.
^ Habegger (2001), 615.
^ Habegger (2001), 623.
^ Habegger (2001), 625.
^ Wolff (1986), 534.
^ a b Habegger (2001), 627.
^ Habegger (2001), 622.
^ a b Wolff (1986), 535.
^ Ford (1966), 122
^ McNeil (1986), 33.
^ Habegger (2001), 389.
^ a b c d Ford (1966), 32.
^ Wolff (1986), 245.
^ Habegger (2001), 402–403.
^ Habegger (2001), 403.
^ a b Sewall (1974), 580–583.
^ a b c d Farr (1996), 3.
^ Pickard (1967), xv.
^ Wolff (1986), 6
^ a b Wolff (1986), 537.
^ McNeil (1986), 34; Blake (1964), 42.
^ Buckingham (1989), 194.
^ Grabher (1988), p. 243
^ Mitchell (2009), p. 75
^ Grabher (1988), p. 122
^ a b c Martin (2002), 17.
^ McNeil (1986), 35.
^ Habegger (2001), 628.
^ Ford (1966), 68.
^ a b Pickard (1967), 20.
^ a b Johnson (1960), viii.
^ a b Hecht (1996), 153–155.
^ Ford (1966), 63.
^ Wolff (1986), 186.
^ Crumbley (1997), 14.
^ Bloom (1998), 18.
^ Farr (1996), 13.
^ Wolff (1986), 171.
^ a b c d Farr (2005), 1–7.
^ a b c Farr (1996), 7–8.
^ a b c d Pollak (1996), 62–65.
^ a b c d Oberhaus (1996), 105–119
^ a b c Juhasz (1996), 130–140.
^ Blake (1964), 12.
^ Wolff (1986), 175.
^ Blake (1964), 28.
^ Blake (1964), 37.
^ Blake (1964), 55.
^ Blake (1964), vi.
^ Wells (1929), 243–259.
^ Blake (1964), 89.
^ Blake (1964), 202.
^ Grabher (1998), 358–359.
^ Blake (1964), 223.
^ Juhasz (1983), 1.
^ Juhasz (1983), 9.
^ Juhasz (1983), 10.
^ Martin (2002), 58
^ Comment (2001), 167.
^ Grabher (1998), p. 31
^ Martin (2002), 1.
^ Martin (2002), 2.
^ Blake (1964), 24.
^ Bloom (1999), 9
^ Bloom (1994), 226
^ "Vocal music set to texts by Emily Dickinson". The LiederNet
Archive. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
^ "Mission Statement".
Emily Dickinson School website, Bozeman,
Montana. Archived from the original on October 2, 2007. Retrieved
January 16, 2008.
^ "The Real Emily Dickinson".
Emily Dickinson Elementary School
website, Redmond, Washington. Archived from the original on December
20, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
^ P.S. 075
Emily Dickinson at NYC Department of Education
Emily Dickinson Journal". The Johns Hopkins University Press
website, Baltimore. Retrieved December 18, 2007.
Emily Dickinson commemorative stamps and ephemera". Harvard
University Library. Retrieved June 22, 2009.
^ "Belle of Amherst".
Emily Dickinson Museum. Retrieved September 23,
^ "Emily Dickinson's Herbarium".
Harvard University Press. Retrieved
August 4, 2011.
^ "Dickinson, Emily, 1830–1886. Herbarium, circa 1839–1846. 1
volume (66 pages) in green cloth case; 37 cm. MS Am 1118.11,
Harvard University Library. Retrieved August 4,
Emily Dickinson Collection". Jones Library, Inc. website, Amherst,
Massachusetts. Archived from the original on December 25, 2007.
Retrieved December 18, 2007.
^ "History of the Museum".
Emily Dickinson Museum
Emily Dickinson Museum website, Amherst,
Massachusetts. Archived from the original on October 23, 2007.
Retrieved December 13, 2007.
^ Place Settings. Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved on 2015-08-06.
^ "Tour and Home". Brooklyn Museum. 1979-03-14. Retrieved
^ Davis Langdell, Cheri. "Pain of Silence". Retrieved 21 August
^ "Books: Midsummer Night's Waking". Time. July 26, 1963.
(Subscription required (help)).
^ "CBC: Why a civil engineer is translating
Emily Dickinson into
^ "MiddleEastEye: Student translates literature into Kurdish to
celebrate native language".
^ "Signature Reads: Inside an Engineering Student's Quest to Translate
Emily Dickinson Into Kurdish".
^ "Eurodit: Emily Dickinson, 40 poèmes by Charlotte Melançon".
^ "CBC: Why a civil engineer is translating
Emily Dickinson into
^ "MehrNews: The Taste of Forbidden Fruit under Publication [in
Editions of poetry
Franklin, R. W. (ed.). 1999. The Poems of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge:
Belknap Press. ISBN 0-674-67624-6.
Johnson, Thomas H. (ed.). 1960. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson.
Boston: Little, Brown & Co.
Bianchi, Martha Dickinson. 1970.
Emily Dickinson Face to Face:
Unpublished Letters with Notes and Reminiscences. Hamden, Conn.:
Blake, Caesar R. (ed). 1964. The Recognition of Emily Dickinson:
Selected Criticism Since 1890. Ed. Caesar R. Blake. Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press.
Bloom, Harold. 1999. Emily Dickinson. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House
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Bloom, Harold. 1994. The Western Canon: The Books and School of the
Ages. New York: Harcourt Brace.
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1890s: A Documentary History. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh
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of Emily Dickinson. University of Alabama Press.
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Emily Dickinson Papers, 1844–1891 (3 microfilm reels) are housed at
Sterling Memorial Library
Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University.
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"Success is Counted Sweetest" (1864)
"Because I could not stop for Death" (1890)
"I taste a liquor never brewed" (1890)
"A Bird came down the Walk" (1891)
"I'm Nobody! Who are you?" (1891)
"I like to see it lap the Miles" (1891)
"I heard a Fly buzz—when I died" (1896)
"There is a pain — so utter —" (1929)
Edward Dickinson (father)
William Austin Dickinson
William Austin Dickinson (brother)
Lavinia Norcross Dickinson
Lavinia Norcross Dickinson (sister)
Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson
Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson (sister in law)
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Thomas Wentworth Higginson (editor)
Mabel Loomis Todd
Mabel Loomis Todd (editor)
Emily Dickinson home and museum
Dickinson Historic District
Collected manuscripts and papers
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The Belle of Amherst
The Belle of Amherst (1976 play)
A Quiet Passion
A Quiet Passion (2016 film)
Inductees to the National Women's Hall of Fame
Susan B. Anthony
Mary McLeod Bethune
Pearl S. Buck
Margaret Chase Smith
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Helen Brooke Taussig
Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias
Juliette Gordon Low
Elizabeth Bayley Seton
Carrie Chapman Catt
Mary "Mother" Harris Jones
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Billie Jean King
Florence B. Seibert
Gertrude Belle Elion
Ethel Percy Andrus
Marian Wright Edelman
Martha Wright Griffiths
Fannie Lou Hamer
Constance Baker Motley
Ellen Swallow Richards
Katherine Siva Saubel
Madam C. J. Walker
Rosalyn S. Yalow
Annie Jump Cannon
Jane Cunningham Croly
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Helen LaKelly Hunt
Zora Neale Hurston
Frances Wisebart Jacobs
Susette La Flesche
Betty Bone Schiess
Elizabeth Hanford Dole
Anne Dallas Dudley
Mary Baker Eddy
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Nannerl O. Keohane
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Charlotte Anne Bunch
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Mary A. Hallaren
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Mary Ann Shadd Cary
Joan Ganz Cooney
Julia Ward Howe
Shirley Ann Jackson
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Rozanne L. Ridgway
Edith Nourse Rogers
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Angelina Grimké Weld
Faye Glenn Abdellah
Emma Smith DeVoe
Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Sylvia A. Earle
Leontine T. Kelly
Frances Oldham Kelsey
Anna Howard Shaw
Wilma L. Vaught
Mary Edwards Walker
Annie Dodge Wauneka
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Dorothy H. Andersen
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Marian de Forest
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