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My Emily Dickinson

My Emily Dickinson

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Susan Howe

For Wallace Stevens, 'Poetry is the scholar’s art.' Susan Howe embodies that art in her My Emily Dickinson. Howe shows ways in which earlier scholarship had shortened Dickinson’s intellectual reach by ignoring the use to which she put her wide reading. Giving close attention to the well-known poem, 'My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun', Howe tracks Dickens, Browning, Emily Brontë, Shakespeare, and Spenser, as well as local Connecticut River Valley histories, Puritan sermons, captivity narratives, and the popular culture of the day.

'Dickinson’s life was language and a lexicon her landscape. Forcing, abbreviating, pushing, padding, subtracting, riddling, interrogating, re-writing, she pulled text from text.'

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