restricted access “After Great Pain”: The Epistemology of the Grave according to Emily Dickinson


To what extent does experimenting with words make it possible to produce a richer vision of reality? Starting from an analysis of Dickinson’s “After Great Pain,” I argue that the poem can be interpreted as an interrogation of the way the subject is constituted. One first needs, however, to examine the modalities along which time and the body can be represented. I will consider interpretive traditions, then analyze the poem in conjunction with works by other artists using the same strategies. More generally, I will propose that choosing an empiricist and radically immanent approach reveals more possibilities than other approaches.