Approaching Emily Dickinson

Approaching Emily Dickinson

Critical Currents and Crosscurrents since 1960

Fred D. White

An examination of the past half-century's critical reassessments of one of the most-studied American poets.
When Klaus Lubbers's meticulously detailed Emily Dickinson: The Critical Revolution appeared in 1968, examining Dickinson criticism up to 1962, a second revolution in Dickinson criticism was already gathering force, as a new generation of scholars representing a wide spectrum of critical perspectives began reassessing the poet's life and work. In the intervening forty years, approximately 100 books about Dickinson and her oeuvre have appeared, making her one of the most extensively studied American poets in history. Approaching Emily Dickinson provides an objective examination of that vast body of scholarship. It gives detailed attention to the principal trends in Dickinson scholarship during the past half-century: biographical studies; feminist perspectives on the poet's life and work; rhetorical and stylistic analyses; textual studies of the bound and unbound fascicles and the so-called worksheet drafts; studies of Dickinson's social and cultural milieu, including influences on her spirituality, and of her theories of poetry. Fred White also examines Dickinson's artistic reception -- an area of ever-growing fascination, not only among Dickinson scholars but among artists, creative writers, dramatists, and musicians for whom Dickinson's genius has proven to be a powerful conduit for insights into the human condition. A fundamental research tool for both scholars and students, Approaching Emily Dickinson also enables fruitful comparisons both among and within the different critical and artistic perspectives.

Fred D. White is Professor of English at Santa Clara University. His studies of Emily Dickinson have been published in College Literature and in the Cambridge Companion to Emily Dickinson.

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Table of Contents

Approaching Dickinson's Rhetoric, Poetics and Stylistics
Trends in Dickinson Biography and Biographical/Psychoanalytic Criticism
The Feminist Revolution in Dickinson Crticism
The Manuscripts of a Non-Print Poet
Dickinson in Cultural Context: Principal Critical Insights
Dickinson's Poetic Spirituality
Scholarship on Archetypal and Philosophical Themes in Dickinson's Poetry
Reassesing Dickinson's Poetic Project: A Postmodern Perspective
Emily Dickinson in Belles Lettres, Music, and Art
Concluding Reflections
Selected Editions of Emily Dickinson's Poems and Lettres
Works Cited
Index of First Lines


Fred White's survey of Dickinson scholarship since 1960 is an essential resource for both long-term readers of Dickinson and those coming to her work for the first time.... Readers interested in knowing how Dickinson criticism developed from 1960 to the present will find this book a highly informative and stimulating read. THE EMILY DICKINSON JOURNAL

Author Bio

Associate Professor of English, Santa Clara University.

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