Topic: Literature / Literature (General)

 
Emily Dickinson
A Biography
Connie Ann Kirk
978-0-31308-550-5

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Connie Ann Kirk
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Emily Dickinson

A Biography

Connie Ann Kirk Connie Ann Kirk


June 2004

Greenwood

Series: Greenwood Biographies

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Pages
Volumes
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Hardcover
216
1
6 1/8x9 1/4
 
ISBN
eISBN
978-0-313-32206-8
978-0-313-08550-5
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$38.95

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Using updated scholarship and never-before-published primary research, this new biography takes a fresh look at a genius of American letters.

Using updated scholarship and never before published primary research, this new biography peels away the myths surrounding Emily Dickinson and takes a fresh look at the complex and busy life of this genius of American letters. As a research tool, the volume is also useful for its explanation of current nomenclature for the poems, mysteries and controversies, and the poet's influence on American poetry and culture.

Emily Dickinson saw fewer than a dozen of her poems published in her lifetime, but she has since become one of the most revered and beloved of all American poets. As a shy woman living in 19th century New England, Dickinson wrote about large subjects through close observation of small, everyday details. After her death, her sister found more than 1,775 poems and solicited help in seeing them into print. Dickinson preferred to live most of her life at home among those she loved, but over time, some of the more unusual facts of her life became mythologized and distorted. Using updated scholarship and never before published primary research, this new biography peels away the myths surrounding Emily Dickinson and takes a fresh look at the complex and busy life of this genius of American letters.

As a research tool, the volume is also useful for its explanation of current nomenclature for the poems, mysteries and controversies, and the poet's influence on American poetry and culture. A chronology is set alongside significant historical and cultural events of the period. Also included are locations of major holdings for Dickinson study, a listing of poems published in her lifetime, and a full bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
Preface
Introduction
Ancestry, Early Life, and Family
Education, Religion, and Early Friendships
"For Occupation -This -": The Poet at Home
"Her Travels Daily Be": Traveling Near and Far
A Poets Reading
The "Flood" Years and the Civil War
To Print or Publish?
Later Years, Last Days
The Fluid Text and the Problem of Editing
Mysteries and Controversies
"An Amethyst Remembrance": Dickinson's Reception and Legacy
Appendix A: Chronology and Historical Context Timeline
Appendix B: Family Tree
Appendix C: List of Poems Published in the Poet's Lifetime
Appendix D: Index of First Lines of Emily Dickinson Poems
Appendix E: Selected Reading of Emily Dickinson
Appendix F: Important Places and Holdings in Dickinson Studies
Bibliography
Reviews
[P]rovides an accessible account of the poet's life and the major influences on her work ... a clearly written and admiring appraisal of the poet's life, with a conscientious attention to detail that ensures Dickinson becomes a vivid presence in the mind of the attentive reader. It is a valuable reference work for students new to Dickinson and Dickinson studies, and deserves a place on the relevant recommended reading lists.—Journal of American Studies

Endorsements
This biography is ground-breaking in so many wonderful ways--it presents a version of Dickinson that is neither the simpering old maid in white, nor the lunatic recluse, nor the untroubled woman of perfect health. It is a human portrait, drawing on new and never-released materials, as well as the best from all other materials. Kirk presents a balanced, thoughtful and thought-provoking picture of a dedicated female artist, who lived in many ways at the very heart of the cultured world, and in other ways in a world of her own determined devising. Young adults will appreciate the lively stories and prose, the illuminating details of a life (her sloppy and unsigned cross-stitchery, her skillful bread-baking, which chores she liked and which she hated; her friendships, relations, possible and probable loves). Adult admirers of Dickinson's work will find this a treasure trove as well. It is an altogether new thing: a full and fair biography of Emily Dickinson for young adult readers.—Liz Rosenberg^LProfessor of English & Creative Writing, Binghamton University

Connie Ann Kirk's biography of the poet Emily Dickinson is a scholarly achievement, based on contemporary scholarship and meticulous in its accuracy. Treading carefully and sensitively among the many different views of the poet, Dr. Kirk paints a generous and lively picture of Emily Dickinson, her life, her work, her family and friends that offsets false mythologies. She provides fascinating new insights from her own research. Especially noteworthy is the scope of coverage Dr. Kirk gives to the story of the poet's life, the editing of the manuscripts, and the record of the poetry's subsequent reception and influence, all within a manageable and readable length. The book is a welcome and important addition to existing publications on the poet.—Margaret H. Freeman^LEmerita Professor of English at Los Angeles Valley College^LFounding President of the Emily Dickinson International Society