By A. Walton Litz
This number of serious and biographical articles covers striking authors from the seventeenth century to the current day.
Read Online or Download AMERICAN WRITERS, Retrospective Supplement I PDF
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Additional info for AMERICAN WRITERS, Retrospective Supplement I
At age sixteen she entered Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in nearby South Hadley. Mount Holyoke offered the nearest thing to a college education that was then available to women. Its founder, Mary Lyon, directed instruction toward producing young women who would subordinate their personal desires to the social good. Such notions of a woman's role in society were much in the air during the decades before the Civil War. Seeking to raise women's status without challenging male dominance in public life, writers and educators articulated a philosophy that saw women's special mission as one of improving the nation by exerting a moral influence in the home and community.
In 1862 she began leaving some copied poems unbound, and she stopped binding them altogether in 1864, having created forty fascicles containing over eight hundred poems. From 1867 on her practice of making fair copies became intermittent. During the last years of her life she left poems on the odd bits of paper on which she had first drafted them. From 1858 to 1862 Dickinson's productivity increased. The fair copies of 366 poems have been dated to 1862 based on an analysis of the manuscripts. Whether she actually composed all these poems during this remarkable year or copied some of them from earlier drafts is not known since she did not date the poems herself.
During the 1830s and 1840s Amherst and other New England towns became increasingly dependent on the wider industrialized economy. The rising class of merchants and manufacturers began to displace New England's old aristocracy at the top of local social hierarchies. The fortunes of the Dickinson house illustrate the family's vulnerability to such change. The Homestead's alternate names, the Manor and the Mansion, signify the borrowing of status from English feudalism for an American setting. It was the first brick house built in Amherst.