Dickinson, Strategies of Limitation

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University of Massachusetts Press, 1985 - Literary Criticism - 308 pages
Eberwein offers a fresh perspective on Emily Dickinson's use of the limiting factors in life to accomplish her quest for empowerment. She begins with Dickinson's experience of limitation, including the distortedly dimunitive self-image she projected in her writing, and her emphasis on limitation and deprivation. She examines the literary strategies Dickinson used to penetrate these boundaries--literary role models, stylistic devices that empowered her writing, and her engagement in dramatic role play to experience alternative life situations such as that of aristocrat, traveler, boy, bride, or sentimental or Gothic hero. Studying Dickinson's poems in their 19th century Christian Calvinist context, the author demonstrates how the poet intensified the limitations and losses she found in the "circuit world" of ordinary experience, in order to heighten awareness of what she called "circumference," the boundary of mortal existence. ISBN 0-87023-473-0: $25.00.

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