Critical Insights: Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson's poetry, letters, and life have astounded readers and scholars alike for more than one hundred years. Though she rarely left her hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts, and in her later years never ventured beyond the fence encircling her family's home, Dickinson nevertheless wrote some of the world's most original, enigmatic, and expansive poems. And though she was certainly aware of her talent, she largely shunned publication, famously deriding it as "the Auction/ Of the Mind of Man -," and thus upon her death left it to her family to decide what to do with the nearly 1,800 poems she had hoarded in a locked dresser drawer. By turns strangely intimate, witty, sardonic, ebullient, and frighteningly sublime, the poems have since fascinated generations of readers and generated endless speculation about the poet's mind and life.
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