The Dickinson Homestead was the birthplace and home from — of 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson —whose poems were discovered in her bedroom there after her death. The house next door, called the Evergreens, was built by the poet's father, Edward Dickinsonin as a wedding present for her brother Austin. Located in AmherstMassachusettsthe houses are preserved as a single museum and are open to the public on guided tours.
Like writers such as Ralph Waldo EmersonHenry David Thoreauand Walt Whitmanshe experimented with expression in order to free it from conventional restraints. To make the abstract tangible, to define meaning without confining it, to inhabit a house that never became a prison, Dickinson created in her writing a distinctively elliptical language for expressing what was possible but not yet realized.
Like the Concord Transcendentalists whose works she knew well, she saw poetry as a double-edged sword. While it liberated the individual, it as readily left him ungrounded. The literary marketplace, however, offered new ground for her work in the last decade of the 19th century.
When the first volume of her poetry was published infour years after her death, it met with stunning success. Going through eleven editions in less than two years, the poems eventually extended far beyond their first household audiences.
Educated at Amherst and Yale, he returned to his hometown and joined the ailing law practice of his father, Samuel Fowler Dickinson. Edward also joined his father in the family home, the Homestead, built by Samuel Dickinson in Between and he served a single term as a representative from Massachusetts to the U.
In Amherst he presented himself as a model citizen and prided himself on his civic work—treasurer of Amherst College, supporter of Amherst Academy, secretary to the Fire Society, and chairman of the annual Cattle Show.
Her few surviving letters suggest a different picture, as does the scant information about her early education at Monson Academy. Academy papers and records discovered by Martha Ackmann reveal a young woman dedicated to her studies, particularly in the sciences.
Her brother, William Austin Dickinson, had preceded her by a year and a half.
Her sister, Lavinia Norcross Dickinson, was born in All three children attended the one-room primary school in Amherst and then moved on to Amherst Academy, the school out of which Amherst College had grown.
The school prided itself on its connection with Amherst College, offering students regular attendance at college lectures in all the principal subjects— astronomy, botany, chemistry, geology, mathematics, natural history, natural philosophy, and zoology.
As this list suggests, the curriculum reflected the 19th-century emphasis on science. In an early poem, she chastised science for its prying interests.
She encouraged her friend Abiah Root to join her in a school assignment: I hope you will, if you have not, it would be such a treasure to you.
Behind her school botanical studies lay a popular text in common use at female seminaries. Written by Almira H. Lincoln, Familiar Lectures on Botany featured a particular kind of natural history, emphasizing the religious nature of scientific study. Edward Hitchcock, president of Amherst College, devoted his life to maintaining the unbroken connection between the natural world and its divine Creator.
He was a frequent lecturer at the college, and Emily had many opportunities to hear him speak. Dickinson found the conventional religious wisdom the least compelling part of these arguments. From what she read and what she heard at Amherst Academy, scientific observation proved its excellence in powerful description.
The writer who could say what he saw was invariably the writer who opened the greatest meaning to his readers.
The individual who could say what is was the individual for whom words were power. Although Dickinson undoubtedly esteemed him while she was a student, her response to his unexpected death in clearly suggests her growing poetic interest. She wrote Abiah Root that her only tribute was her tears, and she lingered over them in her description.
She will not brush them away, she says, for their presence is her expression. So, of course, is her language, which is in keeping with the memorial verses expected of 19th-century mourners.
At the academy she developed a group of close friends within and against whom she defined her self and its written expression.
Other girls from Amherst were among her friends—particularly Jane Humphrey, who had lived with the Dickinsons while attending Amherst Academy.
As students, they were invited to take their intellectual work seriously. Many of the schools, like Amherst Academy, required full-day attendance, and thus domestic duties were subordinated to academic ones.
When asked for advice about future study, they offered the reading list expected of young men. Thus, the time at school was a time of intellectual challenge and relative freedom for girls, especially in an academy such as Amherst, which prided itself on its progressive understanding of education.
The students looked to each other for their discussions, grew accustomed to thinking in terms of their identity as scholars, and faced a marked change when they left school. As was common, Dickinson left the academy at the age of 15 in order to pursue a higher, and for women, final, level of education.
Under the guidance of Mary Lyon, the school was known for its religious predilection. The young women were divided into three categories: No one else did.Levertov and Emily Dickinson: The Poets in Place” has two sections wherein the poets are considered in relation to their background, and their poems as the consummate expression of a region and a period.
Emily Dickinson on solitude. There are many kinds of solitude. There is the solitude of space, of all the planets and stars in the sky quietly being. The solitude of the sea exper. Terence Davies (TD): Well really, I responded to three things in [Emily Dickinson’s] life.
One, she was very ill with homesickness when she was at Mount Holyoke [Dickinson’s alma mater]. See Naoki Onishi, “Emily Dickinson Knew How to Suffer,” Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin 23, no.
2 (): 4–5. “It is natural for a human being to try to extend some kind of help to suffering people, physically and emotionally. Nov 16, · The Poems of Emily Dickinson begins Dickinson’s poetry with the year At this point, Emily would have been twenty years old and in the prime of her life, of marriageable age and a member of a comfortable, middle class family.
May 27, · Emily Dickinson’s personal life had heavily affected her writing style. After she had left school, she barely leaves her family’s house.
It is because at that time, unmarried daughters are expected to abolish their personal interest for the sake of fulfilling the needs of their home.