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Emily Dickinson

The purpose of this research is to examine selected critic-isms of the work of Emily Dickinson and discuss why certain

assertions about Dickinson's work are or are not valid, with

specific reference to her poetry. Additionally, the principal

poetic technique of Dickinson will be discussed, with a view

It seems fair to say that the literary reputation of Dickinson is generally high among critics of her work. Allen Tate, identified with the New Criticism's practice of close textual analysis (1:160, passim), begins his study of modern American poetry with Emily Dickinson. Mazzaro's collection of critical essays includes Northrop Frye's "Emily Dickinson," in which Frye alludes obliquely to the universality, hence collective unconscious, of Dickinson's themes (7:112).

The perception of Dickinson as a contemporary writer appears significant for the reason that Dickinson's life began and ended

well within the margins of the Victorian era (1830-1886) and well

within the confines of traditionally Puritan New England. Received wisdom would tend to suggest that a modern, not to say

contemporary approach to poetic style and theme would be highly

unusual coming from such a milieu. Acknowledging the spare nature

of Dickinson's diction, Tate notes the way in which Dickinson

manages to compress the whole of life into a few stanzas, a few

images, a few figures of speech. In particular, he points to

"Because I Could Not Stop for Death" as "one of the greatest

[poems] in the English language" (11:33)

Martin states that among the first critics to cite Dickinson's exceptional poetic achievement was William Dean

Howells, whose criticism "appeared in influential journals from

the 1860's to 1920 . . . When the poems of Emily Dickinson first

appeared, Howells alone unequivocally praised her genius and

recognized the value of her feminine voice" (6:2668). The so-called "Imagists" such as Amy Lowell, app...

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Emily Dickinson. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:22, July 01, 2022, from