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我的时光我的爱

回忆不褪色

 
 
 

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文坛奇葩  

2009-05-04 17:23:05|  分类: 花中李的Emily Di |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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纪念那些不得不用英语写东西的日子3---记文坛奇葩:艾米莉.狄金森

I'm nobody who are you?

Are you nobody too?

There's a pair of us don't tell!

They'd banish us you know!

How dreary to be somebody!

How public like a frog

To tell your name the livelong day

To an admiring bog!

These singular words are by an American poet Emily Dickinson. Almost unknown as a poet in her lifetime Emily Dickinson is now recognised as one of our greatest poets and in the view of some one of the greatest lyric poets of all time. She has become part of our language without really being part of our history. Some see her as the last poet of an early American tradition. Others see her as the first modern American poet. Each reader seems to find a different Emily Dickinson. She remains as mysterious as she was when she was alive.

Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst Massachussetts in 1830. She attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley but severe homesickness led her to return home after one year. Throughout her life she seldom left her house and visitors were scarce. The people with whom she did come in contact however had an enormous impact on her thoughts and poetry. She was particular stirred by the Reverend Charles Wadsworth whom she met on a trip to Philadephia. He left for the West Coast shortly after a visit to her home in 1860 and some critics believe his departure gave rise to the heartsick flow of verse from Dickinson in the years that followed. While it is certain that he was an important figure in her life it is not certain that this was in the capacity of romantic love—she called him “my closest earthly friend”.

By the 1860s Dickinson lived in almost total physical isolation from the outside world but actively maintained many correspondences and read widely. She spent a great deal of this time with her family. Her father Edward Dickinson was actively involved in state and national politics serving in Congress for one term. Her brother Austin attended law school and became an attorney but lived next door once he married. Dickinson’s younger sister Lavinia also lived at home for her entire life in similar isolation. Lavinia and Austin were not only family but intellectual companions during Dickinson’s lifetime.

In her increasingly secluded life Dickinson chafed against the social and religious constraints of the period wrote poetry for pleasure rather than for publication and experienced love and friendship largely through letters rather than in the flesh. Dickinson’s poetry reflects her loneliness and the speakers of poems generally live in a state of want but her poems are also marked by the intimate recollection of inspirational moments which are decidedly life-giving and suggest the possibility of happiness. Her work was heavily influenced by the metaphysical poets of seventeenth-century England as well as her upbringing in a Puritan New England town which encouraged a Calvinist and conservative approach to Christianity.

While Dickinson was extremely prolific as a poet and regularly enclosed poems in letters to friends she was not publicly recognised during her lifetime. The first volume of her work was published posthumously in 1890 and last in 1955. Upon on her death Dickinson’s family discovered 40 hand-bound volumes of more than 800 of her poems. These booklets were made by folding and sewing five or six sheets of stationary paper and copying what seem to be final versions of poems in an order that many critics believe to be more than chronological. Perhaps what is most remarkable about Emily Dickinson is that a young woman living in self-imposed seclusion in a New England town in the late 1800s could produce such powerful and compelling poetry that more than 100 years later still challenges confronts and inspires readers.

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