76 Facts About Emily Dickinson


Evidence suggests that Emily Dickinson lived much of her life in isolation.


Emily Dickinson never married, and most friendships between her and others depended entirely upon correspondence.


Emily Dickinson's poems were unique for her era; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation.


In 1998, The New York Times reported on an infrared technology study revealing that much of Emily Dickinson's work had been deliberately censored to exclude the name "Susan".


At least eleven of Emily Dickinson's poems were dedicated to her sister-in-law Susan Huntington Gilbert Emily Dickinson, though all the dedications were obliterated, presumably by Todd.


Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born at the family's homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts, on December 10,1830, into a prominent, but not wealthy, family.


Emily Dickinson's father, Edward Dickinson was a lawyer in Amherst and a trustee of Amherst College.


Emily Dickinson was a distant cousin to Baxter Dickinson and his family, including his grandson the organist and composer Clarence Dickinson.


Emily Dickinson attended primary school in a two-story building on Pleasant Street.


Emily Dickinson's education was "ambitiously classical for a Victorian girl".


When Emily Dickinson was seven, he wrote home, reminding his children to "keep school, and learn, so as to tell me, when I come home, how many new things you have learned".


Emily Dickinson was an awful Mother, but I liked her better than none.


Emily Dickinson spent seven years at the academy, taking classes in English and classical literature, Latin, botany, geology, history, "mental philosophy," and arithmetic.


Daniel Taggart Fiske, the school's principal at the time, would later recall that Emily Dickinson was "very bright" and "an excellent scholar, of exemplary deportment, faithful in all school duties".


Emily Dickinson was troubled from a young age by the "deepening menace" of death, especially the deaths of those who were close to her.


Emily Dickinson stayed at the seminary for only ten months.


Back in Amherst, Emily Dickinson occupied her time with household activities.


Emily Dickinson took up baking for the family and enjoyed attending local events and activities in the budding college town.


When she was eighteen, Emily Dickinson's family befriended a young attorney by the name of Benjamin Franklin Newton.


Emily Dickinson wrote later that he, "whose name my Father's Law Student taught me, has touched the secret Spring".


Emily Dickinson was familiar with not only the Bible but contemporary popular literature.


Emily Dickinson was probably influenced by Lydia Maria Child's Letters from New York, another gift from Newton.


Emily Dickinson's brother smuggled a copy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Kavanagh into the house for her and a friend lent her Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre in late 1849.


Jane Eyres influence cannot be measured, but when Emily Dickinson acquired her first and only dog, a Newfoundland, she named him "Carlo" after the character St John Rivers' dog.


Emily Dickinson eventually sent her over three hundred letters, more than to any other correspondent, over the course of their relationship.


Edward Emily Dickinson built a house for Austin and Sue naming it the Evergreens, a stand of which was located on the west side of the Homestead.


Emily Dickinson took this role as her own, and "finding the life with her books and nature so congenial, continued to live it".


Emily Dickinson praised her work but suggested that she delay publishing until she had written longer, being unaware she had already appeared in print.


Emily Dickinson assured him that publishing was as foreign to her "as Firmament to Fin", but proposed that "If fame belonged to me, I could not escape her".


Emily Dickinson delighted in dramatic self-characterization and mystery in her letters to Higginson.


In direct opposition to the immense productivity that she displayed in the early 1860s, Emily Dickinson wrote fewer poems in 1866.


Carlo died during this time after having provided sixteen years of companionship; Emily Dickinson never owned another dog.


Emily Dickinson was responsible for the kitchen, including cooking and cleaning up, as well as the baking at which she excelled.


Emily Dickinson did not leave the Homestead unless it was absolutely necessary, and as early as 1867, she began to talk to visitors from the other side of a door rather than speaking to them face to face.


Emily Dickinson acquired local notoriety; she was rarely seen, and when she was, she was usually clothed in white.


Austin and his family began to protect Emily Dickinson's privacy, deciding that she was not to be a subject of discussion with outsiders.


Emily Dickinson had a good rapport with the children in her life.


Emily Dickinson studied botany from the age of nine and, along with her sister, tended the garden at Homestead.


Emily Dickinson kept no garden notebooks or plant lists, but a clear impression can be formed from the letters and recollections of friends and family.


In particular, Emily Dickinson cultivated scented exotic flowers, writing that she "could inhabit the Spice Isles merely by crossing the dining room to the conservatory, where the plants hang in baskets".


On June 16,1874, while in Boston, Edward Emily Dickinson suffered a stroke and died.


Lamenting her mother's increasing physical as well as mental demands, Emily Dickinson wrote that "Home is so far from Home".


Emily Dickinson found a kindred soul in Lord, especially in terms of shared literary interests; the few letters which survived contain multiple quotations of Shakespeare's work, including the plays Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet and King Lear.


Emily Dickinson looked forward to this day greatly; a surviving fragment of a letter written by her states that "Tuesday is a deeply depressed Day".


Emily Dickinson exacted a promise from her sister Lavinia to burn her papers.


Todd never met Emily Dickinson but was intrigued by her, referring to her as "a lady whom the people call the Myth".


Emily Dickinson remained unconscious late into the night and weeks of ill health followed.


Emily Dickinson was confined to her bed for a few months, but managed to send a final burst of letters in the spring.


On May 15,1886, after several days of worsening symptoms, Emily Dickinson died at the age of 55.


Emily Dickinson was buried, laid in a white coffin with vanilla-scented heliotrope, a lady's slipper orchid, and a "knot of blue field violets" placed about it.


Jackson was deeply involved in the publishing world, and managed to convince Emily Dickinson to publish her poem "Success is counted sweetest" anonymously in a volume called A Masque of Poets.


Significantly though, Emily Dickinson had left no instructions about the 40 notebooks and loose sheets gathered in a locked chest.


Emily Dickinson turned first to her brother's wife and then to Mabel Loomis Todd, his lover, for assistance.


Johnson's goal was to present the poems very nearly as Emily Dickinson had left them in her manuscripts.


Three years later, Johnson edited and published, along with Theodora Ward, a complete collection of Emily Dickinson's letters, presented in three volumes.


Emily Dickinson avoids pentameter, opting more generally for trimeter, tetrameter and, less often, dimeter.


Emily Dickinson left no formal statement of her aesthetic intentions and, because of the variety of her themes, her work does not fit conveniently into any one genre.


Emily Dickinson has been regarded, alongside Emerson, as a Transcendentalist.


Emily Dickinson's poems were often sent to friends with accompanying letters and nosegays.


Morbidity: Emily Dickinson's poems reflect her "early and lifelong fascination" with illness, dying and death.


Emily Dickinson reserved her sharpest insights into the "death blow aimed by God" and the "funeral in the brain", often reinforced by images of thirst and starvation.


Death and morbidity in Emily Dickinson's poetry is heavily connected to winter themes.


Gospel poems: Throughout her life, Emily Dickinson wrote poems reflecting a preoccupation with the teachings of Jesus Christ and, indeed, many are addressed to him.


Emily Dickinson stresses the Gospels' contemporary pertinence and recreates them, often with "wit and American colloquial language".


Higginson himself stated in his preface to the first edition of Emily Dickinson's published work that the poetry's quality "is that of extraordinary grasp and insight", albeit "without the proper control and chastening" that the experience of publishing during her lifetime might have conferred.


Critical attention to Emily Dickinson's poetry was meager from 1897 to the early 1920s.


Emily Dickinson was suddenly referred to by various critics as a great woman poet, and a cult following began to form.


Emily Dickinson is considered a powerful and persistent figure in American culture.


Emily Dickinson is taught in American literature and poetry classes in the United States from middle school to college.


Emily Dickinson's poetry is frequently anthologized and has been used as text for art songs by composers such as Aaron Copland, Nick Peros, John Adams and Michael Tilson Thomas.


An 8-cent commemorative stamp in honor of Emily Dickinson was issued by the United States Postal Service on August 28,1971, as the second stamp in the "American Poet" series.


Emily Dickinson was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1973.


The town of Amherst Jones Library's Special Collections department has an Emily Dickinson Collection consisting of approximately seven thousand items, including original manuscript poems and letters, family correspondence, scholarly articles and books, newspaper clippings, theses, plays, photographs and contemporary artwork and prints.


In 1965, in recognition of Emily Dickinson's growing stature as a poet, the Homestead was purchased by Amherst College.


The Emily Dickinson Museum was created in 2003 when ownership of the Evergreens, which had been occupied by Dickinson family heirs until 1988, was transferred to the college.


Emily Dickinson's poetry has been translated into languages including French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Persian, Kurdish, Turkish, Georgian, Swedish, and Russian.