Emily Dickinson

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Emily Dickinson

Post  Fionaaa :) on Fri May 15, 2009 2:52 am

Once again, an early morning post.

Ms. Kay, your question – is Emily Dickinson a transcendentalist? – is kind of murky. Do you mean the values reflected in her poems? Or do you mean her person, her character? A person’s work may differ greatly from the author (or in this case, poet)

One theory of mine is that Emily Dickinson was once a transcendentalist (in person, not talking about poems), before the one she loved moved away. After Charles Wadsworth departed for San Franciso, Dickinson began writing more and more poems. This is definitely correlation with causation. Perhaps she was trying to seek something that was lost when the man moved away. Perhaps she was trying to connect with the Universal Essence….seeking comfort, maybe. Maybe she lost confidence in transcendentalism after she lost love. Didn’t Emerson teach unlimited human potential? So why wasn’t she able to successfully be in a relationship with the man she loves?

(This brings me to the topic of love. Such a sensitive topic. What brings two people together? Is it the essence that connects two people? Or is it their ego-mind? Why is it between two particular people when the essence is universal? What sets them apart? I think I will switch from questions about the afterlife to these questions for when I am a moderator.)

Anyway, back to transcendentalism.
As many have mentioned, it seems like the most plausible theory is that Emily Dickinson is a mixture of both transcendentalism and anti-transcendentalism. We can find proof for the former by observing Dickinson’s mode of expression – concise, informal, and often abrupt. This style is one of a kind. It “seems to belong not to a particular tradition or period of time but especially and only to herself.” This shows her trust in herself, the self-reliance. She trusted in her own ability to create poems with radical structure and format. She didn’t care what the standard mode of expression was, for every single poem she wrote was filled to the brim with her unique style. This represents trust in the essence.

However, she was reluctant to publish her poems. Only SEVEN out of eight HUNDRED of her poems were published. Doesn’t this mean that she has no self-reliance, she doesn’t trust in her work enough to let the world see it? Maybe there are other reasons for her reluctance, but this seems like the most relevant reason. So maybe Emily Dickinson was a transcendentalist who didn’t realize it, just like Captain Ahab. . .
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Re: Emily Dickinson

Post  Kenny on Sun May 17, 2009 3:30 pm

Fionaaa Smile wrote:
However, she was reluctant to publish her poems. Only SEVEN out of eight HUNDRED of her poems were published. Doesn’t this mean that she has no self-reliance, she doesn’t trust in her work enough to let the world see it? Maybe there are other reasons for her reluctance, but this seems like the most relevant reason. So maybe Emily Dickinson was a transcendentalist who didn’t realize it, just like Captain Ahab. . .

I think it was more because she wasn't looking for recognition for her work rather than because she didn't have the confidence in her ability. Most true artists that do their work because they love it usually don't care what other people think and are discovered by other people rather than taken in. So yeah, that's just my theory, maybe she didn't care and would rather have liked to live in her own world BECAUSE she believed so strongly in her work, maybe she thought that her poems were good enough that she would rather keep them to herself.

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