Emily Dickinson

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and works of Emily Dickinson, arguably the most startling and original poet in America in the C19th. According to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, her correspondent and mentor, writing 15 years after her death, “Few events in American literary history have been more curious than the sudden rise of Emily Dickinson into a posthumous fame only more accentuated by the utterly recluse character of her life and by her aversion to even a literary publicity.” That was in 1891 and, as more of Dickinson’s poems were published, and more of her remaining letters, the more the interest in her and appreciation of her grew. With her distinctive voice, her abundance, and her exploration of her private world, she is now seen by many as one of the great lyric poets.

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  • Fiona Green No other episodes
    Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Jesus College
  • Linda Freedman No other episodes
    Lecturer in English and American Literature at University College London
  • Paraic Finnerty No other episodes
    Reader in English and American Literature at the University of Portsmouth

Reading list

  • A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade
    Christopher Benfey (Penguin Books, 2009) Google Books →
  • Emily Dickinson and Philosophy
    Jed Deppman, Marianne Noble and Gary Lee Stonum (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • The Gardens of Emily Dickinson
    Judith Farr (Harvard University Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • The Passion of Emily Dickinson
    Judith Farr (Harvard University Press, 1992) Google Books →
  • Emily Dickinson's Shakespeare
    Paraic Finnerty (University of Massachusetts Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • The Master Letters of Emily Dickinson
    Ralph William Franklin (ed.) (University Massachusetts Press, 1998)
  • The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition
    Ralph William Franklin (ed.) (Harvard University Press, 1998)
  • Emily Dickinson and the Religious Imagination
    Linda Freedman (Cambridge University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Emily Dickinson Handbook
    Gudrun Grabher, Roland Hagenbuchle and Cristanne Miller (eds.) (University of Massachusetts Press, 1998)
  • My Wars are Laid Away in Books: The Early Life of Emily Dickinson
    Alfred Habegger (Random House, 2001)
  • Open Me Carefully: Emily Dickinson's Intimate Letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson
    Ellen Louise Hart and Martha Nell Smith (eds.) (Paris Press, 1998)
  • Dickinson's Misery: A Theory of Lyric Reading
    Virginia Jackson (Princeton University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • Emily Dickinson: Selected Letters
    Thomas H. Johnson (ed.) (Harvard University Press, 1986)
  • Poems of Emily Dickinson
    Thomas H. Johnson (ed.) (Faber & Faber, 1976) Google Books →
  • The Letters of Emily Dickinson
    Thomas Herbert Johnson and Theodora Ward (eds.) (Belknap Press, 1958) Google Books →
  • Emily Dickinson's Readings of Men and Books
    Benjamin Lease (Palgrave Macmillan, 1990) Google Books →
  • The Value of Emily Dickinson
    Mary Loeffelholz (Cambridge University Press, 2016) Google Books →
  • Nimble Believing: Dickinson and the Unknown
    James McIntosh (University of Michigan Press, 2000) Google Books →
  • A Vice for Voices: Reading Emily Dickinson's Correspondence
    Marietta Messmer (University of Massachusetts Press, 2001) Google Books →
  • Emily Dickinson's Poems: As She Preserved
    Cristanne Miller (ed.) (Harvard University Press, 2016)
  • Reading in Time: Emily Dickinson in the Nineteenth Century
    Cristanne Miller (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012) Google Books →
  • Emily Dickinson: Personae and Performance
    Elizabeth Phillips (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1988) Google Books →
  • Emily Dickinson in Context
    Eliza Richards (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • The Life of Emily Dickinson
    Richard B. Sewall (Harvard University Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • Emily Dickinson's Open Folios: Scenes of Reading, Surfaces of Writing
    Marta L. Werner (University of Michigan Press, 1996) Google Books →
  • White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson
    Brenda Wineapple (Anchor Books, 2009) Google Books →
  • Emily Dickinson: A Voice of War
    Shira Wolosky (Yale University Press, 1984)

Related episodes

Programme ID: b08p5lbp

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08p5lbp

Auto-category: 811.4 (American poetry)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 in Amherst, New England.