< earlywomenmasters.net
Sundial Seashell
Upside-down sundial seashell with mirror reflection below.    
Emily Dickinson
< Early Feminist Essays   |   Emily Dickinson's Nature Mysticism >
Emily Dickinson: An Early Imagist, by Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant -- (pg.4)
from The New Republic, 1915, Review of the The Single Hound
1 2 3 [4] - HOME PAGE >
(page 4)
There are poems, too, where lovers of literary "influence" might find echoes of Donne's rhetoric and abstract vocabulary:

     Eternity will be
          Velocity, or pause,
     At fundamental signals
          From fundamental laws.

     To die, is not to go --
          On doom's consummate chart
     No territory new is staked
          Remain thou as thou art.

Donne may well have been in the Hon. Mr. Dickinson's library. But provincial New England kept, well through the nineteenth century, much of the seventeenth century tradition; and transcendentalism was, of course, Emily Dickinson's air -- the academic-minded should take these facts to heart before assuming that either her ideas or her quaint expression were borrowed. They should read Emerson's Journals and compare Emily with his "Cousin Margaret." Her letters show that she thought obliquely, yet unflinchingly, as Meredith did; if ever his "Comic Spirit" found personification, if was in this woman, with her wit, her glancing mind, her range from the sublime to the ridiculous. The difficulties of syntax, the obscurities and abstractions which mark her verse were no more derived than her Amherst realisms, but a very part of her. So were her impertinencies toward her Creator and his prophets:

     Papa above!
          Regard a Mouse
     O'erpowered by the Cat --

"To live," she once wrote, "is so startling it leaves but little room for other occupations"; and I believe it is her deeply "startled" sense of man and the universe that keeps her terse and pregnant yet thistle-down verse from archaism, though it sometimes has a jingle, sometimes no rhyme at all. "The Single Hound" is as surprising as a cold dourche, as acute as the edge of a precipice, as lambent as a meteor cleaving the night. "If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off," she said, "I know that is poetry." To those who like to find their brians exposed to the illimitable I recommend this white and fearless New England spinster.

     Except the smaller size, no Lives are round.
     They hurry to a sphere, and show, and end.
     The larger, slower grow, and later hang --
     The Summers of Hesperides are long.
    #

1 2 3 [4] - HOME PAGE >
 
Emily Dickinson: Early Feminist Essays
Search Pop-up English Dictionary for:

Search by Hyperdictionary.com