The History of Literature #120 – The Astonishing Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) might be the most enigmatic poet who ever lived. Her innovative use of meter and punctuation – and above all the liveliness of her ideas, as she crashes together abstract thoughts and concrete images – astonished her nineteenth-century readers and have retained their power to delight, puzzle, confound, and enlighten us today. Who was this quiet person in Amherst, Massachusetts, and how did she come to write such unusual poems? Host Jacke Wilson celebrates Emily Dickinson and her special genius – and offers some thoughts on how we can benefit from studying different forms of genius, whether it’s John Lennon describing his childhood or Icelandic chanteuse Björk, interviewing herself.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

FOR A LIMITED TIME: Special holiday news! Now for a limited time, you can purchase History of Literature swag (mugs, tote bags, and “virtual coffees” for Jacke) at historyofliterature.com/shop. Get yours today!

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4 thoughts on “The History of Literature #120 – The Astonishing Emily Dickinson

  1. Great conversation–I enjoyed how you linked to Bjork. I’ll be listening to her again as it has been awhile, but I have always liked her because she did not sound like anyone else.
    You asked several times ‘who thinks like that?’ I do. Your podcast was like visiting my mothership for an hour.
    I think in metaphor and yes, I do sometimes drive my husband crazy. But not with that. That part he likes, though I think he wishes I’d stay on one topic a while before flitting away.

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      1. Much love for it, and also the next one on Ashbery–who I have never read. I like finding out I am not as literaryknowledgeable as I thought I was. Always more to learn, even when you’re old as dirt

        I hope you and yours have a happy Christmas–

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