My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close Historical Context

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Critics and historians frequently draw a connection between Emily Dickinson's poetry and the New England Transcendentalist movement. Dickinson was growing up and formulating her own ideas when the Transcendentalist movement was reaching its peak between the 1830s and the 1860s. Dickinson lived in Amherst, only seventy-five miles away from the center of Transcendentalism in Boston. Furthermore, Dickinson openly discussed the influence of Transcendentalism, especially the influence of the ideas in the essay called "The Poet" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, a key figure in the movement. However, literary critics point out that, although Dickinson's poetry reflects aspects of Transcendentalism it also reflects many of the Puritan religious beliefs that Transcendentalism supposedly contradicted and replaced. Some interpret this duality as a sign that Dickinson, in her devotion to her family's religious heritage, allowed herself to be trapped in the contradiction of embracing both modern thinking and a putatively antiquated way...

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This section contains 891 words
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Poetry for Students
My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.