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Monday, February 22, 2010

The Belle of Amherst

There is a new biography of Emily Dickinson called Lives Like a Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds by Lyndall Gordon. It just came out in England, but alas, it won't be released here until June! I went looking for biographical information about Dickinson and found that the only books we have on her life are in the children's room!

It seems that the mousey woman portrayed in many books, and in the play, The Belle of Amherst: A Play Based on the Life of Emily Dickinson by William Luce [812 LUC] (also in DVD starring Julie Harris [DVD 812.54 BEL]) may have been a myth. Dickinson was a vibrant personality who chose to be seen as a recluse. Gordon hypothesizes that Dickinson may have had epilepsy, a disease, which at the time stigmatized its sufferer, and as a result she made a conscious decision to stay out of the public eye.

I look forward to learning more about Dickinson and the new book by Gordon!

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