Much Madness Is Divinest Sense Historical Context

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Civil War

While Dickinson wrote this poem, chances are the Civil War was in progress. She never mentions this war in her poems; however, in her letters to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, she comes in contact with the effects of battle. She wrote quite often to Higginson, including during the time that he served in the war. She also corresponded with him after he was injured, while he was in the hospital, so she was aware of the pain and suffering on a somewhat personal level.

Calvinism and Transcendentalism

Calvinism was the dominant religion in New England in Dickinson's time. The Calvinists believed in a church-dominated society, the absolute sovereignty of God's will, and punishment for sins. They emphasized materialism and logic, from which the Puritan ethic of hard work is derived. They also believed that salvation only came through faith in God, and if chosen by God, one...

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This section contains 978 words
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Poetry for Students
Much Madness Is Divinest Sense from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.