My wars are laid away in books : the life of Emily Dickinson

by Habegger, Alfred.

Format: Print Book 2001
Availability: Available at 9 Libraries 10 of 10 copies
Available (10)
Location Collection Call #
Bethel Park Public Library Biography 92 DICKINSON Emily
Location  Bethel Park Public Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  92 DICKINSON Emily
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction PS1541.Z5 H32 2001
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  PS1541.Z5 H32 2001
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction PS1541.Z5 H32 2001
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  PS1541.Z5 H32 2001
Community Library of Allegheny Valley - Harrison Non Fiction 92 DICKINSON
Location  Community Library of Allegheny Valley - Harrison
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  92 DICKINSON
Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 92 DICKINSON
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  92 DICKINSON
Northland Public Library Biography B DICKINSON
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  B DICKINSON
Oakmont Carnegie Library Biography B DIC
Location  Oakmont Carnegie Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  B DIC
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 92 DIC
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  92 DIC
Pleasant Hills Public Library Nonfiction 92 DICKINSON Emily
Location  Pleasant Hills Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  92 DICKINSON Emily
Upper St. Clair Township Library Non-fiction 811 DICKINSON BIO/CRIT
Location  Upper St. Clair Township Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Emily Dickinson, probably the most loved and certainly the greatest of American poets, continues to be seen as the most elusive. One reason she has become a timeless icon of mystery for many readers is that her developmental phases have not been clarified. In this exhaustively researched biography, Alfred Habegger presents the first thorough account of Dickinson's growth--a richly contextualized story of genius in the process of formation and then in the act of overwhelming production. Building on the work of former and contemporary scholars,My Wars Are Laid Away in Booksbrings to light a wide range of new material from legal archives, congregational records, contemporary women's writing, and previously unpublished fragments of Dickinson's own letters. Habegger discovers the best available answers to the pressing questions about the poet: Was she lesbian? Who was the person she evidently loved? Why did she refuse to publish and why was this refusal so integral an aspect of her work? Habegger also illuminates many of the essential connection sin Dickinson's story: between the decay of doctrinal Protestantism and the emergence of her riddling lyric vision; between her father's political isolation after the Whig Party's collapse and her private poetic vocation; between her frustrated quest for human intimacy and the tuning of her uniquely seductive voice. The definitive treatment of Dickinson's life and times, and of her poetic development,My Wars Are Laid Away in Booksshows how she could be both a woman of her era and a timeless creator. Although many aspects of her life and work will always elude scrutiny, her living, changing profile at least comes into focus in this meticulous and magisterial biography. From the Hardcover edition.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "By weaving together a chronologically integrated reading of Emily Dickinson's poetry and correspondence, Habegger has written the most complete and satisfying biography to date of a poet long shrouded in myth and illusion. Scholarly breakthroughs in dating the poems make it possible to limn a pattern of development in Dickinson's poetry previously invisible to critics, just as a newly discovered printer's copy of her letters lays bare personal disclosures excised by her family. For the first time, readers share fully in the private struggle through which Dickinson learned how to transform emotional trauma into art. Careful research traces much of this trauma--and subsequent poetry--to an unreciprocated and agonizingly persistent passion for a charismatic Presbyterian minister. Habegger employs the latest resources not only to open new vistas but also to challenge stubborn misconceptions (that the Civil War scarcely touched Dickinson's imagination, for example, or that Dickinson was a lesbian). Yet for all he has to teach, Habegger finally warns his readers against expecting complete understanding of a poet who hid her poetry from her own family and who defied future generations with riddles and paradoxes. A superb study, too luminous to remain the exclusive property of specialists. --Bryce Christensen"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Making perceptive use of feminist scholarship of the past three decades, the firsthand reports of Dickinson's intimates and careful readings of her lyrics and letters, former University of Kansas English professor Habegger creates a newly complex portrait of the poet's life (1830-86) and greatly enhances our understanding of her art. As in The Father: A Life of Henry James, Sr., Habegger analyzes his subject's experiences from a modern perspective without obscuring the very different ways in which she herself perceived them. His greatest achievement is a nuanced depiction of how Dickinson transformed the limits placed on her into choices that enabled her poetry. Kept close to home in Amherst, Mass., by her authoritarian father, she chose to become a recluse and avoid altogether the social duties laid on middle-class women. Painfully rejected more than once as a young woman because of her extreme emotional neediness, she assumed a "childish" air that allowed her far more freedom of expression than that accorded New England's adults. "The blessing and the wound became one and the same," writes Habegger. "What that seems to mean for us is that her great genius is not to be distinguished from her madness." Habegger also gives full attention to the impact of the religious revival that swept New England in Dickinson's youth, reminding us of how tough young Emily had to resist intense pressure to declare herself "saved." Habegger rejects the traditional view that Dickinson's work and life were static; "her poetry shows a striking and dramatic evolution," he declares, and his immensely satisfying narrative makes the largely interior struggles she conducted over the course of 55 years just as dramatic. This is as good as literary biography gets. (On sale Oct. 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Dickinson, Emily, -- 1830-1886.
Poets, American -- 19th century -- Biography.
Women and literature -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Publisher New York :Random House,2001
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description xvii, 764 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [660]-739) and index.
ISBN 0679449868
Other Classic View