Reading Dickinson is not an intellectual enterprise, it is an emotional journey. Her poetry leads not to a finite conclusion, but invites to further rumination. This writer is thus inclined to explore the thesis articulated by Bray of Dickinson as visionary.
Born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830, Emily Elizabeth Dickinson lived the life of a recluse, seldom leaving the house or entertaining visitors; her aversion to public life was such that she attended only one year’s schooling at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, before returning home out of extreme homesickness. The few people she did come in contact with, however, profoundly influenced her thoughts and poetry, particularly the Reverend Charles Wadsworth. Many critics speculate that Wadsworth was the object of Dickinson’s “heartsick flow of verses” for the person she called “my closest, earthly friend”. It is not certain that the Reverend was Emily’s unrequited love is, however, because it might have equally been Massachusetts Supreme Court Judge Otis P. Lord, and Samuel Bowles, the editor of the Springfield Republican. Some even believe that this romantic inspiration may even have been Susan Gilbert Dickinson, wife of Emily’s brother, Austin, by virtue of the many poems and letters dedicated by Emily to her – a matter to which feminist admirers of her work were quick to attribute her unique and eccentric writing style.
Throughout her life, Dickinson’s siblings, Austin and Lavinia, were her constant friends and intellectual companions. Other influences in her poems were the seventeenth century English Metaphysical poets and her conservative Christian upbringing. Most biographies on Dickinson describe her work as having been undertaken in isolation and complete privacy; in truth, Dickinson undertook a lively and active correspondence with a good number of friends, among whom was her sister-in-law Susan Gilbert, literary