Inspired by the works of her British and continental contemporaries, including Elizabeth Barrett Browning and George Eliot, Emily Dickinson joined others of her generation in seeking details of their lives. Few critics to date have considered the impact of the cult of literary celebrity on Dickinson's memorializing of other writers. Poetic and biographical tributes to Barrett Browning and George Eliot were carried in the popular newspapers and journals Dickinson read, such as the Atlantic Monthly and Springfield Republican. Likewise, the distribution of their photographs further expanded their renown and created a sense of fictional intimacy between readers and writers. As I hope to demonstrate, Dickinson's letters and three elegies about Barrett Browning, "Her - last Poems -" (Fr600), "I think I was enchanted" (Fr627), and "I went to thank Her -" (Fr637), suggest that the construction of the poet's life and her posthumous fame unfairly superseded her work. In a similar way, her letters about George Eliot portray Dickinson as a literary fan and, simultaneously, problematize the relationship between the dead poet and her living readers.


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pp. 6-24
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