Separation, skepticism, and the self : the developing mind and art of Emily Dickinson

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Gaylor Forrest Callahan (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Murray Arndt

Abstract: Emily Dickinson's poetic development was closely linked to the development of her religious thought. Any analysis of her poetry must necessarily include extensive commentary on the nature of her religious experiences; conversely, a discussion of her religion must depend largely on her poetry for insights and revelations. The processes evolved interdependently into a tension that produced the right interior climate for the creation of her curiously sacred art. It could be said that poetry served as Emily Dickinson's religion; however, it seems nearer to the truth, and to her own artistic intentions, to say that both poetry and religion served as means to a still larger end — the knowledge and eventual transcendence of the self. Emily Dickinson lived and worked by shaping her relatively narrow experience to the demands of her exacting intellect and her acute consciousness; her poetic vision was telescopic, sharpening the focus of the eye and the mind from the general to the particular. Poetry and religion, the two shaping forces of her life, were lenses through which she sought to clarify undefined existence into real significance. A study of her work reveals that this final significance rested within the self, and that transcendence of the self was achieved through the interaction of spiritual, artistic, and intellectual effort.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1977
Dickinson, Emily, $d 1830-1886 $x Criticism and interpretation
Dickinson, Emily, $d 1830-1886 $x Philosophy
Dickinson, Emily, $d 1830-1886 $x Religion

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