Third week of April 2014
• NAME: Emily Dickinson
• OCCUPATION: Poet
• BIRTH DATE: December 10, 1830
• DEATH DATE: May 15, 1886
• Did You Know?: In addition to writing poetry, Emily Dickinson studied botany. She compiled a vast herbarium that is now owned by Harvard University.
• EDUCATION: Amherst Academy (now Amherst College), Mount Holyoke Female Seminary
• PLACE OF BIRTH: Amherst, Massachusetts
• PLACE OF DEATH: Amherst, Massachusetts
• Full Name: Emily Elizabeth Dickinson
• AKA: Emily Dickinson
Never married, thus no children.
An American poet, Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born 10 December 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a prominent family with strong community ties (her grandfather almost single-handedly founded Amherst College). Conversely, Emily lived a mostly reclusive and introverted life, in her later years rarely even leaving her room. Most of her friendships were carried out through correspondence. Due to a promise made by Lavinia, Emily’s sister, most of that correspondence was burned upon the poet’s death. Dickinson was thought of by the locals as eccentric and was known for her proclivity for white clothing and reluctance to greet guests.
Though she wrote nearly 1800 poems in her lifetime, few were known of until after her death, when Emily’s sister Lavinia discovered her repository of them. Her first collection of poetry was published four years after her death, though it was heavily edited by two of her personal acquaintances. Because of a feud between sister Lavinia and brother William’s mistress, it was not until 1955 when a complete and mostly unaltered collection of the poet’s work was published by a scholar named Thomas H. Johnson. Emily Dickinson is now considered to be one of the most important American poets.
After suffering from Bright’s disease for two and half years, Emily Dickinson died on 15 May 1886, at the age of 85. Her brother William wrote in his diary, “… that day was awful. She ceased to breathe that terrible breathing just before the whistle sounded for six.”
Emily was laid to rest in a white coffin a Lady’s Slipper orchid, a knot of blue field violets placed about it and a vanilla-scented heliotrope. The funeral service was short, with the reading of Emily Bronte’s poem “No Coward Soul of Mine”, one of Emily Dickinson’s favorites. Per Emily’s request, her casket was carried through fields of buttercups to the family plot where she was then buried.
Emily Dickinson was a troubled soul; and arguably one today’s best-known iconic poets of the American Romance movement. She and Herman Melville were not well known during the period of their lifetimes; but are the most widely read in the modern age. She was a contemporary of the better-known Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Edgar Allen Poe, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman. I was a student of the Romance Movement in American Literature.
The history of this period in the United States, at least by 1818 with William Cullen Bryant's "To a Waterfowl", Romantic poetry was being published. American Romantic Gothic literature made an early appearance with Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820) and Rip Van Winkle (1819), followed from 1823 onwards by the Leatherstocking Tales of James Fenimore Cooper, with their emphasis on heroic simplicity and their fervent landscape descriptions of an already-exotic mythicized frontier peopled by "noble savages", similar to the philosophical theory of Rousseau, exemplified by Uncas, from The Last of the Mohicans. There are picturesque "local color" elements in Washington Irving's essays and especially his travel books. Edgar Allan Poe's tales of the macabre and his balladic poetry were more influential in France than at home, but the romantic American novel developed fully with the atmosphere and melodrama of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1850). Later Transcendentalist writers such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson still show elements of its influence and imagination, as does the romantic realism of Walt Whitman. The poetry of Emily Dickinson—nearly unread in her own time—and Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick can be taken as epitomes of American Romantic literature. By the 1880s, however, psychological and social realism were competing with Romanticism in the novel.
It was the spring of 1969; I was an English Major at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. The class was called “The American Romantics”, taught by Donald Koch, PhD. Before leaving high school (thanks to my teachers Jean Moulton and Alice Kubo), I was a fan of Nathaniel Hawthorne and had read all of his novels and short stories. I had also read most of Edgar Allen Poe’s works. You might call me a fan. The first assignment given us was a semester long research project. Each student was handed a name of one of the authors or poets of the Era. The name on my slip pf paper was Emily Dickinson. My heart sank. I wanted Hawthorne. Alas, I had my assignment and went with it. It was the best assignment for my future. By studying Ms. Dickinson, I learned to appreciate the loneliness of writing, the troubled souls of the writers of that era and of the English Romance Movement. It caused me to look inward and to know that I was living in the wrong time period. Though I never knew my great-grandfather (he was of that era) I got to know him through his journals. This is what Emily Dickinson did for me. This is why I became excited when asked to write a profile by members of the Scottish Clan Gunn for this member of the Clan.
Her poetry transcends time and distance. As a writer, I am always reading my competition. I am currently reading a novel by the English author Martha Grimes. Wouldn’t you know it, the hero carries a book of Emily Dickinson poems around with him at all times. I highly recommend that everyone, at some time in their lives, read the poems of Ms. Dickinson.
Emily Dickinson was a recluse. She rarely went out in public and in her later years rarely left her room in the large house where she grew up. In spite of that she was called the Belle of Amherst and she wrote 597 poems. Each and every one of them can touch the very essence of the human heart, soul, or emotion. For example from her poem “Heaven” – is what I cannot reach:
The Color, on the Cruising Cloud—
The interdicted Land—
Behind the Hill—the House behind—
Or her poem “Hope” – is the thing with feathers:
"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
I like the line, “That perches in the soul—“. I can feel the talons clutching at the strings that bind me together and make me who I am. We all have our doubts, our fears, our superstitions. Ms. Dickinson can put words to those feelings. It is not enough to know the history of who a person was. It is important to understand who he/she was and how they reacted to their environment and those other people with whom they came in contact. With Emily Dickinson, you can only really know who she was by reading her poems. The thesis I submitted to my professor back in 1969 was one-hundred, thirty-six pages in length. I have read through hundreds of histories and biographies of Emily Dickinson and I cannot condense the life of Emily Dickinson any better than what Wikipedia has done on the Internet. It is the best chronological short history of Emily Dickinson I have ever seen. It is the only place that doesn’t jump around the events of her life, making the reader sit back and wonder was this before that or after this. I have, therefore decided to incorporate it in to this profile as being the best timeline of Ms. Dickinson’s life.
by,Scott H. Hendricks, 06 Apr 2014
“The Complete Works of Emily Dickinson, Kindle Edition By Emily Dickinson, Mabel Loomis Todd
“Emily Dickinson” A College Thesis by Scott H. Hendricks 1969
Find A Grave #282
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On 24 Aug 2017 at 03:26 GMT Christopher Childs wrote:
On 12 Apr 2017 at 23:58 GMT Weldon Smith wrote:
On 17 Nov 2015 at 20:24 GMT Cathleen Bachman wrote:
On 7 Dec 2014 at 15:11 GMT Paula J wrote:
On 18 Apr 2014 at 14:09 GMT R. (Geleick) G. wrote:
The suggestions I was asked to make on this profile are for discussion and implementation by the PM's and trusted list. Once the changes are made the review request category can be removed and any posts about the changes on this board.
Thank you for your cooperation.
On 17 Apr 2014 at 14:43 GMT Paula J wrote:
On 17 Apr 2014 at 13:53 GMT R. (Geleick) G. wrote:
I am not sure why there is a freespace page that is an exact copy of this page. It might be an idea to replace references on this page like 'Clan Gunn Ancestry' with a link to the freespace page.
Most of the direct copy from Wikipedia should be replaced by a summery of the article and a link to the full text.
More use should be made of <ref> tags to add citations or footnotes explaining the source of the fact.
On 1 Apr 2014 at 19:57 GMT Scott Hendricks wrote:
Emily is 15 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 23 degrees from Robynne Lozier, 16 degrees from Pocahontas Rolfe and 20 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.