Emily Dickinson at Large
America’s greatest writer of extremity, Emily Dickinson roamed the universe like a devil hungry for souls—while remaining, for the most part, at home in Amherst, Massachusetts. To this day, the scary magnificence of her achievement is still unsurpassed. Indeed, even some of the most basic questions about her writing (how much of it is poetry?) have never been satisfactorily answered. And we have yet to take the full measure of her uninhibited contact with the sheer power of things: God, nature, time, language, idealism, markets, the unconscious. In this seminar, our intensive focus on Dickinson’s writings will be complemented by our research on the world she inhabited, from the most intimate scenes of composition and friendship to the cataclysms, including the Civil War, that shaped the era. We’ll also explore the history of her reception and edition up to the present moment, from her own correspondence and early publications to the latest variorum edition, the new web-based archives, the poets she influenced, and the cutting edge of criticism.
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics requirement
Sector 5: 19th-Century Literature requirement