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This is my letter to the world, That never wrote to me,-- The simple news that Nature told, With tender majesty. Her message is committed To hands I cannot.

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Presentation on theme: "This is my letter to the world, That never wrote to me,-- The simple news that Nature told, With tender majesty. Her message is committed To hands I cannot."— Presentation transcript:

1 This is my letter to the world, That never wrote to me,-- The simple news that Nature told, With tender majesty. Her message is committed To hands I cannot see; For love of her, sweet countrymen, Judge tenderly of me! Emily Dickinson

2 The Belle of Amherst


4 Emily was born… Emily Elizabeth Dickinson on December 10, 1830 to a very prominent family in Amherst, MA Second child to Elizabeth Norcross Dickinson and Edward Dickinson (Yale grad, lawyer, Congressman) Granddaughter to Samuel Fowler Dickinson (one of the founders of Amherst College and builder of the National Historic Landmark “The Homestead”, Emily’s home)

5 Edward and Elizabeth Norcross Dickinson

6 Emily had… An older brother named William Austin (Austin) and a younger sister Lavinia Norcross (Vinnie)

7 Emily attended… Amherst Academy from 1840-1847 Left for Mount Holyoke Female Seminary at the age of 17 Returned home 10 months later from either homesickness, illness, or her refusal to publicly announce her faith

8 At home, Emily… Baked for her family Took place in household activities Ventured out to attend local events in the budding college town Was an avid gardener

9 Emily stayed close to home.. Besides one big trip to D.C. and Philly in 1855 When her mother became chronically ill, Emily would barely leave “The Homestead” to be near her In 1858, she began to write clean copies of her work Forty bundles comprising nearly eight hundred poems – but no one knew of these until after her death

10 The manuscript of her poem “Wild Nights – Wild Nights!”

11 A family friend… Samuel Bowles published some of Emily’s poems from 1858-1868 in his Springfield Republican They were anonymous and heavily edited They included: “A narrow Fellow in the Grass” as “The Snake”, and “Nobody knows this little rose”


13 In 1862… Emily answered a call for poetry submissions in The Atlantic Monthly from Thomas Wentworth Higginson He told her to delay publishing, but they became close friends, as he provided great moral support Emily once told him he saved her life in 1862

14 Thomas Wentworth Higginson

15 In 1864… Several of Emily’s poems were published in Drum Beat to raise money for wounded Union soldiers during the Civil War and Another was published that year in the Brooklyn Daily Union

16 Emily made a trip to Boston… In 1865, which would be her last venture from Amherst She rarely even left “The Homestead” She became known as the Myth because she was rarely seen Also The Lady in White because she was always wearing white when she was seen As early as 1867, she began to talk to her visitors from behind closed doors

17 Despite her seclusion… Emily was socially active and expressive through her letters and poems Though she would leave when visitors came, she would write them poems or give them small gifts However, she met Higginson in her home in 1870

18 In 1874… Emily’s father suffered a stroke and died—she only opened her door a crack for the funeral, and did not attend memorial service A year later, her mother suffered a stroke, and was left in bad physical and mental state Around this time, Emily stopped going out in public, but still had visitors and wrote to close friends

19 In the 1878… Helen Hunt Jackson convinced Emily to publish “Success is counted sweetest” anonymously in A Masque of Poets This was the last poem published in her lifetime

20 In the summer of 1884… Emily fainted while baking, which led to weeks of ill health On November 30, 1885, her brother cancelled a trip to Boston because she was confined to bed and worried him She wrote a burst of letters the following spring, including one thought to be her last to her cousins, “Little Cousins, Called Back. Emily”

21 On May 15, 1886… Emily died at the age of 55 of Bright’s Disease Her coffin was carried through daffodils, and Higginson read “No Coward Soul is Mine” by Emily Bronte, Emily’s favorite poem She was buried at West Cemetery on Triangle Street in Amherst

22 Lavinia promised… That she would burn Emily’s correspondence after her death No instructions were left regarding the forty notebooks and loose sheets Emily left in her chest Vinnie sought to have them published

23 Poems was published in 1890…

24 Poems: Second Series was published in 1891…

25 In 1894… Two volumes of Emily’s letters, highly edited, appeared Susan Dickinson (Austin’s wife) published some poems in literary magazines, such as Scribner’s Magazine and The Independent Martha Dickenson Bianchi (Emily’s niece) published a series of collections between 1914 and 1929 Other volumes followed throughout the 1930s

26 Poems: Third Series was published in 1896…

27 In 1960… The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson was published by Thomas H. Johnson It contained all 1,775 of her poems—all unedited Various books of her poems and letters have been published since


29 Emily is known for… Unconventional broken rhyming meter The use of dashes Random capitalization Use of metaphor Varied line lengths No titles Various genres

30 Emily Dickinson is… Considered one of the most original poets of the 19 th century Placed alongside such poets as Walt Whitman and Robert Frost Taught in grade school, high school and college A powerful and persistent figure of American culture Heralded as the greatest woman poet in the English language


32 Works Consulted “Emily Dickinson.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 12 July 2008 “Emily Dickinson.” The Literature Network. 12 July 2008

33 Pictures Slide # 3: Emily in black dress from Slide # 5: Emily’s parents from and Slide # 6: Emily and siblings from Slide # 10: “Wild Nights – Wild Nights!” from ld_nights%22_manuscript.jpg/180px- Emily_Dickinson_%22Wild_nights%22_manuscript.jpg ld_nights%22_manuscript.jpg/180px- Emily_Dickinson_%22Wild_nights%22_manuscript.jpg Slide # 12: The Republican from px-Emilyrepublican.jpg px-Emilyrepublican.jpg Slide # 14: Higginson from jpg/180px-Thomas_Wentworth_Higginson.jpg jpg/180px-Thomas_Wentworth_Higginson.jpg

34 Pictures (Cont’d) Slide # 23: Poems from _%281890%29.djvu/page1-300px-Emily_Dickinson_Poems_%281890%29.djvu.jpg _%281890%29.djvu/page1-300px-Emily_Dickinson_Poems_%281890%29.djvu.jpg Slide # 24: Poems: Second Series from _%281890%29.djvu/page1-300px-Emily_Dickinson_Poems_%281890%29.djvu.jpg _%281890%29.djvu/page1-300px-Emily_Dickinson_Poems_%281890%29.djvu.jpg Slide # 25: Poems: Third Series from _-_third_series_%281896%29.djvu/page1-381px-Emily_Dickinson_Poems_- _third_series_%281896%29.djvu.jpg _-_third_series_%281896%29.djvu/page1-381px-Emily_Dickinson_Poems_- _third_series_%281896%29.djvu.jpg Slide # 28: “Rowing in Eden” from Slide # 30: Emily sitting from

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