The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

43 views
Book Recommendations > Book Review: "Dickinson--Selected Poems and Commentaries"

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.), Founder (last edited Sep 12, 2010 02:38PM) (new)

Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
I found an excellent little review in the Sunday (September 12, 2010) Los Angeles Times, "Arts & Culture" section. Susan Salter Reynolds wrote a review of a new book on Emily Dickinson's poetry. The book is entitled Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries, published by Harvard University Press, 530 pp., $35.

Here's Ms. Reynolds' review--
"I'm just a regular reader, you say. I read for pleasure. Why should I read the commentaries of critic Helen Vendler on the "epigrammatic, terse, abrupt, surprising, unsettling, flirtatious, savage, winsome, metaphysical, provocative, blasphemous, tragic, funny" poems of an isolated New England poet? I know, I know. First, Emily Dickinson is the sorcerer's stone. Her poetry contains, no, is, the most essential, passionate use of English and the most essential, passionate connection between the English language and nature (our nature, birds and bees nature, God's nature). So you've got to plant her somewhere in your garden, even if it's a tiny corner with no sun. Second, while commentary on poetry is rarely a good idea, Dickinson's spare use of words are just the tip of her iceberg; the waters below contain so many secrets that it truly helps to have a guide to the meter, the myth, the thread of dreams. Third, if you're going to hire a guide, you may as well have the best, and Vendler is the best. It's like, I don't know, reading Virginia Woolf on Alice Munro; it's like Brillat-Savarin on Alice Waters, it's like Leonardo da Vinci on Robert Motherwell. Life is short. Go to the top."
I am also going to post this review in our 'book recommendations' folder, and add the volume to our group bookshelf.


message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 12, 2010 02:55PM) (new)

This biography also sounds interesting, and the explanation of epilepsy as a rationale for her reclusive behavior is really compelling.

Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds
by Lyndall Gordon


Excerpt of article:

"Emily Dickinson was a great poet whose life has remained a mystery. The time has come to dispel the myth of a quaint and helpless creature, disappointed in love, who gave up on life. I think she was unafraid of her own passions and talent; that her brother's sexual betrayal and subsequent family feud had a profound effect on the Dickinson legend that has come down to us; and perhaps most significantly, I believe that Emily had an illness – a secret that explains much."



Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "This biography also sounds interesting, and the explanation of epilepsy as a rationale for her reclusive behavior is really compelling.

Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's F..."


Thanks, Kate! Definitely a book I need to check out. I am an absolutely unabashed Dickinson fan!


message 4: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Kate wrote: "This biography also sounds interesting, and the explanation of epilepsy as a rationale for her reclusive behavior is really compelling.

Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's F..."


I've read several articles on this theory, which has been around for awhile, and the scholars seem to disagree on the question. (Dickinson scholars disagree -- now there's a headline! )


message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 12, 2010 03:12PM) (new)

Everyman wrote: "Dickinson scholars disagree -- now there's a headline! "

LOL.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
I just made a cross-posting about Dr. Vendler's study of Dickinson's poetry in the thread above, "Meet the Poets Corner".


message 7: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (karenvirginiaflaxman) | 220 comments Here's another really interesting book about Dickinson:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10...

This present a very unique perspective on the relationship between Dickinson and her sister-in-law. Scholarly, but very well-written. Has anyone read this one yet?

Thanks,
Ellen


back to top