Date of Award

2-15-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Karen Dandurand, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Susan I. Gatti, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Ronald G. Shafer, Ph.D.

Abstract

A gap in the extant criticism of Emily Dickinson requires further discussion of the significance of her poetry. This study utilizes a theory of New Historicism to analyze Emily Dickinson‘s biography and body of work; it draws upon Dickinson‘s own poems and letters as well as critical, historical, social, political, and scientific sources. The study shows that the poet deliberately structured her lifestyle in a triangular configuration: she resided in her father‘s house; she developed her authoritative voice; and she explored her spirituality. This examination further indicates that Dickinson‘s construction of her way of life led her to formulate a new cosmology parallel to that proposed by scholars in many social, political, and scientific disciplines today.

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