Dickinson, Emily - Research Article from Feminism in Literature

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Emily Dickinson: General Commentary

Adrienne Rich (Essay Date 1976)

SOURCE: Rich, Adrienne. "Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson." On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978, pp. 157-84. New York: W. W. Norton, 1979.

In the following essay, originally published in 1976, Rich celebrates Dickinson's poetry as a work of genius that was partly a response to the patriarchal culture of the nineteenth century but also informed by the poet's relationships with women. Rich also asserts that poetry was the primary goal of Dickinson's life, not the byproduct of other events, as has been claimed by some critics.

I am travelling at the speed of time, along the Massachusetts Turnpike. For months, for years, for most of my life, I have been hovering like an insect against the screens of an existence which inhabited Amherst, Massachusetts, between 1831 and 1884. The methods, the...

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This section contains 7,482 words
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