A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade (Google eBook)

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Penguin, Apr 17, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
17 Reviews
The country's most noted writers, poets, and artists converge at a singular moment in American life

At the close of the Civil War, the lives of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade intersected in an intricate map of friendship, family, and romance that marked a milestone in the development of American art and literature. Using the image of a flitting hummingbird as a metaphor for the gossamer strands that connect these larger-than-life personalities, Christopher Benfey re-creates the summer of 1882, the summer when Mabel Louise Todd-the protégé to the painter Heade-confesses her love for Emily Dickinson's brother, Austin, and the players suddenly find themselves caught in the crossfire between the Calvinist world of decorum, restraint, and judgment and a new, unconventional world in which nature prevails and freedom is all.


  

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Review: A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade

User Review  - Sarah Joyce Bryant - Goodreads

This is a wonderfully written, interesting book. I like how the author wove the intersecting parts of these infamous people's lives together so flawlessly. I really enjoyed reading the book. Read full review

Review: A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade

User Review  - Melissa - Goodreads

disappointingly dull. As a history and american studies major who went on to do graduate work in art history, I really wanted to like this book, but I could barely finish it. The connections were there, yes, but they were tangential. It needed a good editor. Read full review

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Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Christopher Benfey is art critic for "Slate" magazine and Associate Professor of English/Chair of American Studies at Mount Holyoke College. He is the author of "The Double Life of Stephen Crane" (1992) and "Emily Dickinson and the Problem of Others" (1984). He is the recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships.

Bibliographic information