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III.7.Emily Dickinson The Focus of Study : Life Experience Literary Career Point of View Writing Style Poetry : four categories Significance.

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Presentation on theme: "III.7.Emily Dickinson The Focus of Study : Life Experience Literary Career Point of View Writing Style Poetry : four categories Significance."— Presentation transcript:

1 III.7.Emily Dickinson The Focus of Study : Life Experience Literary Career Point of View Writing Style Poetry : four categories Significance

2 Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) “ Nun of Amherst ” Greatest American woman poet. Pivotal between the Puritans and the moderns.

3 Life Experience & Literary Career  1830, born in Amherst, Massachusetts.  1834-48, educated at Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.  1850-53, encouraged by Benjamin Newton to write.  1854, Charles Wadsworth provided her with intellectual challenge and contact with outside.  1862, started her life long correspondence and friendship with Thomas Higginson.  1872, began her life of seclusion.  1886, died from Bright's disease with completion of 1775 poems.

4 Point of View  Her poetry is intensely private and personal, a searching and deliberate self-examination and analysis.  The range of her poetry suggests not her limited experience but the power of her creativity and imagination.

5 Poetry: Four Categories 1. Nature: her close and loving friend. In looking at nature, she ponder on the transience of life and fame which led her to note the inevitable decay in nature embodied in the seasonal change. Meanwhile, she sees nature as both gaily benevolent and cruel.

6 2. Religion: she had an ambiguous relationship with God throughout her poetry. She could converse directly with God on her personal terms and constantly identifies truth and beauty with God. 3. Love: she knew love with a depth and violence that could only come from repression, so she buried her passionate and eternal love into imagination. 4. Death: a large portion of her poetry concerned death and immortality. In brief, her ideas are witty, rebellious, and original.

7 Nature Poems  “I taste a liquor never brewed” depicts a perfect unity of self and nature by offering a light, lively picture of a drunken intoxicated from air and dew in inns of molten blue, i.e. the sky. Nature is the fountain of her inspiration and poetry.  “A Bird came down the Walk” provides a subtle description of a lively, easy bird under the embrace of nature. Its “fly-away” by poet’s kind interference reveals the indifference of nature.  “I died for beauty…” shows poet’s determined pursuit for truth and beauty. It also implies only the harmonious union of both can lead to immortality.

8 Quotations  Publication--is the Auction Of the Mind of Man--  Nay 一 Nature is Harmony- Nature is what we know- Yet have no art to say- So impotent Our Wisdom- To her Simplicity. (#668)  Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-- Success in Circuit lies …… The Truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be blind---(P-1129)

9 Death Poems  “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” describes a dramatization of mental anguish leading to spiritual disintegration and a final sinking into a protective numbness.  “I heard a Fly buzz 一 when I died” is a lively vivid description upon the dying man’s inner activity, satirizes the puritan idea that death is a release from earthly life pressures and a glorious entrance to immortality, reveals her ambiguity and suspicion about death problem---maybe it means bitterness, agony and corruption.  "Because I could not stop for Death" expresses the traditional Puritan conception of death. The journey of Salvation or being elected is not anguish and mystery,

10 Style 1. Condensation which makes her poetry highly elusive and cryptic. 2. Omission, irregularity and casualty resemble the frustrations of life itself. 3. Avoids rhyme by means of assonance and dissonance; delights in ambiguity, paradox, ellipsis and obscure syntax. 4. Vocabulary ranges from virtual dialect to theological expressions, which makes her thought complex. 5. Tone is despairing, ironic, even sentimental.

11 Dickinson & Whitman: a comparative study I. Similarity:  romantic poets, interested in self-expression, loving nature and seeing nature as a symbol for what is going on inside the human heart.  Influenced by Emerson’s transcendental idea about self-expression, non-conformity, etc.  Pioneers for American modern poetry: breaking free of the convention of the iambic pentameter and exhibiting a freedom in form.

12 2.Difference  Outlook: Whitman is national, he seems to keep his eye on society at large; Dickinson is regional, she explores the inner life of the individual.  Form: Whitman’s endless, all-inclusive catalogs contrast with the concise, direct and simple diction and syntax which characterize Dickinson’s poetry.  Tone: optimistic vs. pessimistic.

13 Study Questions  Think about Dickinson's descriptions of nature, such as in "A Bird came down the Walk" and "A narrow Fellow in the Grass." What techniques does she use to create her indelible images? What makes poems such as these memorable despite their thematic simplicity?  Dickinson is often described as a poet of "inwardness." What do you think this means? How does Dickinson convey the inner workings of the mind in a poem such as "I cannot live with You"?  Compare and contrast two of Dickinson's poems that deal with the subject of death. How does Dickinson portray the fact of death in a new and startling way in each? What are her apparent attitudes about dying?  Dickinson's poems often introduce an idea, then develop it with a sequence of metaphoric images. Name two examples of this kind of poem. What are some of her images? How do they work as metaphors?

14 Reference  Dickinson, Emily. The Essential Dickinson. Selected and with an introduction by Joyce Carol Oates. New York: The Ecco Press, 1996.  Boruch, Marianne. “Dickinson Descending.” The Georgia Review 40 (1986): 863-877.  Carruth, Hayden. “Emily Dickinson’s Unexpectedness.” Ironwood 14 (1986): 51-57.  Dickenson, Donna. Emily Dickinson. Oxford, England: Berg, 1985.  Eberwein, Jane Donahue. An Emily Dickinson Encyclopedia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.  Ferlazzo, Paul, ed. Critical Essays on Emily Dickinson. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1984.  Juhasz, Suzanne, ed. Feminist Critics Read Emily Dickinson. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983.

15  Thank You Very Much for Attending This Lecture

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