When the complete Letters of Emily Dickinson appeared in three volumes in 1958, Robert Kirsch welcomed them in the Los Angeles Times, saying “The missives offer access to the mind and heart of one of America’s most intriguing literary personalities.” This one-volume selection is at last available in paperback. It provides crucial texts for the appreciation of American literature, women’s experience in the nineteenth century, and literature in general.
[These letters] present us with as inward a view of one of God’s rarer creatures as we are likely to be given… The letters themselves are as no others. The briefest line can be a mystery (and, when fathomed, a communion), the formal note a sign… If [these letters] are put alongside those of…Coleridge and Keats, they will present the most striking contrast in a poet’s reactions and sensibilities. But they will stand there unashamed.
She was no solemn bookworm destined to grow into a crabbed recluse, but a lively original creature, fully participating in the joys and despairs of a busy circle of friends and relatives… Here was a woman capable of the most intense emotion who was forced, or forced herself, to crystallize her feelings into words and phrases. The letters and poems are all of a piece. The letters, in fact, read sometimes like the raw materials of the poems.
Emily Dickinson’s letters are among the major treasures of American literature… [In] this one-volume selection…virtually everything of interest to the general reader or nonspecialist has been retained.
- 384 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
From this author
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