Introduction

Emily Dickinson remains an enigma ... a recluse who wrote over 1000 poems, of which only a scant few were published in her lifetime. However, as biographer Lyndall Gordon writes, beneath the still surface of the poet's life lay a fiercely passionate nature and a closely guarded secret. She lived her life "in her father's house', writing the poems that were to embroil both herself and her family in feuds and disputes over their publication. Her intensity, spoken of by her mentor Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who only met her face-to-face twice is particularly revealing when he said he had never encountered anyone 'who drained my nerve power so much'.

 

 

 

'There are those

who are shallow

intentionally

and only

profound

by

accident'

Pencilled text fragment from The Gorgeous Nothings, reproduced on pages 159 and 250.