Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Although quickly written, this book both builds on ideas about Dickinson I have been developing since graduate school and has enjoyed the assistance of numbers of people that would imply a longer period of gestation. First my deep thanks to the University at Buffalo for granting me a year’s leave to conduct the required research ...

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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1. Reading in Dickinson’s Time

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pp. 1-18

Emily Dickinson wrote the large majority of her poems during and in at least partial relation to antebellum culture and the Civil War, partaking in popular discourse, experimenting with form in ways congruent with her peers, and both accepting and experimenting with basic genre assumptions of her era. ...

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2. Lyric Strains

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pp. 19-48

Genre criticism is dominated by transhistorical definitional distinctions, albeit distinctions determined by the critical assumptions of the period in which they are made. This makes sense; a genre must be inclusive in its defining characteristics. In contrast, while poets may set themselves a particular generic task (to write a sonnet, an ode, an epic), ...

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3. Hymn, the “Ballad Wild,” and Free Verse

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pp. 49-81

As the previous chapter demonstrates, although a great variety of verse was considered lyric, from sea chanties to verse of highly irregular rhyming and stanzaic structure, the lyric poem as such was not a much discussed genre in the mid-nineteenth-century United States. ...

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4. Spoken Poetry and the Written Poem

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pp. 82-117

The two preceding chapters present evidence of Dickinson’s closeness to her antebellum peers in valuing forms of verse that reveal some strain of wildness and in playing out the innovative rhythmic possibilities of both hymn and ballad forms and the intersections between them. ...

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5. Becoming a Poet in “turbaned seas”

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pp. 118-146

Scholars writing on Dickinson’s borrowings from popular culture and popular literature have generally treated this phenomenon as an unchanging aspect of her poetry. This may be the case with her enthusiasm for some authors or types of work and for her general interest in popular culture; there are distinct patterns of difference, ...

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6. Reading and Writing the Civil War

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pp. 147-175

Scholars have debated the extent to which Dickinson was aff ected by the Civil War and responded to it in her poems, from Thomas H. Johnson’s famous pronouncement that Dickinson “did not live in history and held no view of it” (xx) to Shira Wolosky’s groundbreaking Emily Dickinson: A Voice of War ...

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Coda: Portrait of a Non-Publishing Poet

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pp. 176-196

Like many others, I believe that during the early 1860s Dickinson entertained the idea of publication, albeit ambivalently— an ambivalence that seems to have reappeared briefly in the 1880s. Had T. W. Higginson responded to her work in 1862 with the same enthusiasm Helen Hunt Jackson did in the 1880s, the story of Dickinson’s life might have developed differently. ...

Appendix A: Poems on the Orient

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pp. 197-200

Appendix B: Poems Mentioning Travel, Escape, or Foreign Places or People (1860)

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pp. 201-202

Notes

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pp. 203-258

Works Cited

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pp. 259-272

General Index

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pp. 273-276

Index of Poems

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pp. 277-279

Back Cover

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