Examines the life of the reclusive nineteenth-century Massachusetts poet whose posthumously published poetry brought her the public attention she had carefully avoided during her lifetime.
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Grade 5-7-- In tone, sentence structure, vocabulary, and much of the content, this attractive biography of Emily Dickinson is aimed at younger middle school readers. There is copious detail about the daily life of a well-to-do middle class family in the Northeast during the mid 1890s, including recipes for medications and maple sugar. With accumulated detail about household chores and family responsibilities, Thayer vividly conveys the daily drudgery of women even in such fortunate circumstances. The fragility of life and health in those times is emphasized effectively as innumerable friends and relations are introduced briefly, only to expire within a few pages from consumption, childbirth, or other health threats. Treatment of individuals, significant events, and Dickinson's motivation is superficial. While Thayer attempts to characterize Dickinson's conflict between her own independence of spirit and familial and social pressures to conform to the rigorous religious thought and practice of the day, she does not examine the issue in depth, nor does she elaborate on the influence on Dickinson of Melville, George Eliot, Shakespeare, Ruskin, and others. There are no footnotes, and very few excerpts of Dickinson's poetry are included to illustrate or justify the poet's feelings or actions. In short, Thayer seems to realize that she is writing about a woman whose work and psychology are inaccessible to the targeted readers. Few of the 21 titles on the "Recommended Reading" list could be used effectively by the intended readers. The book is attractive and well designed, with sharply reproduced illustrations--primarily portraits of family, friends, and notable contemporaries. --Tess McKellen, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Franklin Watts, 1989. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0531106586