On Dickinson’s Birthday

As someone who witnessed the deaths of loved ones, including close friends and her father, in the last decade of her life, as well as the horrors of the Civil War in the 1860s, Dickinson had good reason to be preoccupied by the question of what comes after life. But her writings on death are not in line with mainstream Victorian culture, which wanted to make death palatable and familiar. Dickinson makes death uncomfortable through its very overfamiliarity: ‘Death is the supple Suitor / That wins at last’.

Chris Townsend, The Inventions of Emily Dickinson


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