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Title:"My friends are very few": The influence of Emily Dickinson's select contemporary audience on her poetry
Author(s):Tingley, Stephanie Ann
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, American
Abstract:This study contributes a new information about Emily Dickinson's poetic purposes and methods, refuting the common assumption that the poet wrote in isolation. It examines the nearly six hundred poems embedded in letters, enclosed with letters, shared as fair copies, or published, that the poet chose to share with her peers. These shared poems allow the poet to explore the relationship between self and others, poet and audience. An analysis of these poems as a group reveals that Dickinson is ambivalent about writing to and for an audience, and this ambivalence influences the subject matter and style of her poetry.
Each chapter explores one way in which Dickinson's preoccupation with the problem of audience affects her work. Chapter One describes the social and cultural contexts that fostered Dickinson's impulse to share her work with others, while Chapter Two traces the development of her small, carefully-selected group of contemporary readers. The third chapter examines patterns of emphasis and omission in the subject matter of the shared poems, while Chapter Four explores how the poet juxtaposes public and private voices and adjusts her style in an effort to make the public poems accessible to her readers. The last chapter focuses on how Dickinson's relationship with her audience influenced her composing process.
Issue Date:1987
Description:273 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8721771
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1987

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