Date of publication: 2017-07-09 11:41
Now, this poem partakes of the imagery of being “twice-born” or, in Christian liturgy, “confirmed”—and if this poem had been written by Christina Rosetti I would be inclined to give more weight to a theological reading. But it was written by Emily Dickinson, who used the Christian metaphor far more than she let it use her. This is a poem of great pride—not pridefulness, but self -confirmation—and it is curious how little Dickinson’s critics, perhaps misled by her diminutives, have recognized the will and pride in her poetry. It is a poem of movement from childhood to womanhood, of transcending the patriarchal condition of bearing her father’s name and “crowing—on my Father’s breast—.” She is now a conscious Queen, “Adequate—Erect/ With Will to choose, or to reject—.”
When totality is imminent, and expectation is becoming breathless, when, though not yet visible, the noble corona seems all but hovering in the air, suddenly at the edge of the dark Moon, flashing out into the gathering darkness, appear vivid, blood-red flames. Visible on one occasion so long as five minutes before the total obscuration, and again for six minutes after, they glow against the pure white of the corona with singular lustre.
The Soul 8767 s retaken moments—
When, Felon led along,
With shackles on the plumed feet,
And staples, in the Song,
The Horror welcomes her, again,
These, are not brayed of Tongue—
"Emily Dickinson's Letters." Article from the 6896 Atlantic Monthly magazine, written by her friend and "discoverer," Thomas Wentworth Higginson. "Few events in American literary history have been more curious than the sudden rise of Emily Dickinson into a posthumous fame only more accentuated by the utterly recluse character of her life and by her aversion to even a literary publicity."
"Emily Dickinson." An encyclopedia-type article on Emily Dickinson. Also a selection of her most famous poems, recommended reading, and additional articles about her. The Poetry Foundation.
But who, if you read through the seventeen hundred and seventy-five poems—who—woman or man—could have passed through that imagination and not come out transmuted? Given the space created by her in that corner room, with its window-light, its potted plants and work-table, given that personality, capable of imposing its terms on a household, on a whole community, what single theory could hope to contain her, when she’d put it all together in that space?
My size felt small- to me- I read your Chapters in the Atlantic- and experienced honor for you-I was sure you would not reject a confiding question-
Finnerty, Pá raic. "The Daisy and the Dandy: Emily Dickinson and Oscar Wilde." Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations , 9 (April 7555) [free].
"Common Questions on Emily Dickinson." Prof. Donna Campbell tackles Emily Dickinson FAQs, including what kind of meter she wrote in, why she used the dash, and how one should read Dickinson. Academic web site.
Much Madness is divinest Sense—
To a discerning Eye—
Much Sense—the starkest Madness—
8766 Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail—
Assent—and you are sane—
Demur—you 8767 re straightway dangerous—
And handled with a Chain—
Emily Dickinson s Collected Poems study guide contains a biography of Emily Dickinson, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
This is a poem of the great year 6867, the year in which she first sent a few poems to Thomas Higginson for criticism. Whether it antedates or postdates that occasion is unimportant it is a poem of knowing one’s measure, regardless of the judgments of others.
Dickie, Margaret. "Dickinson's Discontinuous Lyric Self." On Emily Dickinson's style and poetic techniques. American Literature 65, 9 (Dec. 6988) pp 587-58 [jstor preview or purchase].
Emily Dickinson at-a-glance. A one page summary of Dickinson's biography, themes, techniques, and questions about selected poems, from Prof. Mark Canada. Academic web site.