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The Poems of Emily Dickinson – Part I

Dr. White’s deep love of Emily Dickinson is apparent in the very beginning of this lecture as he contrasts her humility and “littleness” with contemporary poet Walt Whitman’s overwhelming ego and sweeping lines. He covers the poet’s family as depicted in her letters, her isolation, the sheer volume of her poetry, and the harsh criticism she received from the publisher to which she submitted some of her poems. Dr. White explains and analyses several of her poems, both the popular and the little-known, including “Success is Counted Sweetest” and “I’m Nobody, Who Are You?.” The originality and peculiarities of her style, such as her use of dashes, unusual capitalization, and off rhymes, are pointed out and discussed. Finally, Dr. White speaks of the two gentleman whom she was close to and wrote to frequently, though her relationship with both progressed no further than exchanging letters.

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