Friday, February 26, 2010

Imagining Emily Dickinson

Whether they're true or not, myths and legends that surround poets help us to see their work in a comprehensible context. Say the names Keats, Poe or Plath, for instance, and images of consumption, drug addiction and mental illness may come to mind, just as the image of 19th century poet Emily Dickinson as an eccentric recluse has persisted largely based on her poetry and a few scraps of biographical information. Slim pickings for a biographical novel, yet the attraction of Dickinson's poetry for Jerome Charyn inspired him to attempt to put flesh on those mythical bones in his novel "The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson."

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