One of the most prominent 19th century poet, who sharpened her skill with self reflection and seclusion and made such a huge impact in literature
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson born in 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S. her father Edward Dickinson was a Whig lawyer and her mother was a docile housekeeper. Her parents were loving but strict with their 3 children. So Emily and her siblings Austin and Lavinia got closer. The 2 sisters never got married and stayed at home.
Emily was a well behaved, docile little girl just like anyone would expect a 19th century girl to be like. All the siblings went to the same school where Emily excelled academically and was particularly good in music and composition and she also played the piano.
Emily’s family was highly religious and she grew up with religious faith all around her household and it inspired some of her work as well. Contrary to her family’s beliefs, Emily herself was not particularly religious and was the only member from her family who did not join Amherst’s First Congregational Church.
Dickinson was introduced to the works of William Wordsworth, Ralph Waldo Emerson by one of her father’s friends Benjamin Franklin Newton, who she also talks about in one of her poems.
It was during her late teens when Dickinson started writing poetry consistently. And later her poems took the form of letters assorted with a little bit of humor which she sent to her brother and her friends, one of whom was married to Austin. She was especially close with Susan Gilbert, her brother’s wife and sent more than 300 letters to her. Susan was very supportive of Dickinson’s work and was a very dear friend.
Her poems also possessed a sense of alienation and seclusion as she faced loss of friends in her life.
As time passed Emily withdrew to herself and became isolated from the outside world. This was because of her mother’s illness and someone had to stay with her at all times. During this time she found comfort in reading and writing. In 1858, she started rewriting her previously written poems. Between 1858 and 1865 she wrote around 800 poems, which no one was aware of until after her death. These are the works that Dickinson is most famous for.
Dickinson’s work possessed a certain melancholy to it, the kind that can also be seen in Sylvia Plath’s work, which shows that Plath was inspired by Dickinson. Her poems mostly revolved around death, which for some weird reason she seemed aggressive, self reflection and immortality. Her poems have been punctuated with dashes that critics are still not sure as to why they were used by the poet.
The last few years of Emily’s life were extremely tough for the Dickinsons; one death followed another. In an 1884 poem she wrote “The Dyings have been too deep for me, and before I could raise my Heart from one, another has come.” In 1886 she died, her physician gave the cause of her death as Bright’s disease. Before her death she asked her sister Lavinia to burn all her poems. Lavinia found 1800 poems after her sister’s death. Her first volume of poems was published four years after her death and Thomas H. Johnson published Dickinson’s Complete Poems in 1955.