My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson

Random House Publishing Group, 17 . 2002 . - 800 .
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 Dickinsons growtha 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 Books brings to light a wide range of new material from legal archives, congregational records, contemporary women's writing, and previously unpublished fragments of Dickinsons own letters.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 Dickinsons story: between the decay of doctrinal Protestantism and the emergence of her riddling lyric vision; between her fathers political isolation after the Whig Partys 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 Dickinsons life and times, and of her poetic development, My Wars Are Laid Away in Books shows 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.
 

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LibraryThing Review

  - AlanWPowers - LibraryThing

This is the best Dickinson biography I've read, though Sewall's is very thorough, and the best from 1974-2001 or so. Habegger includes the newly discovered daguerreotype acquired by Gura, of Dickinson ...

MY WARS ARE LAID AWAY IN BOOKS: The Life of Emily Dickinson

  - Kirkus

A biography of the elusive Belle of Amherst (1830-86) that celebrates her imaginative witchery and triumph over adversity without penetrating her enigma.Because her sister fulfilled Emily Dickinson's ...

Amherst and the Fathers
3
Emily Norcross of Monson
25
Winning Emily Norcross
39
Shifting Foundations
57
18301840
73
A Warm and Anxious Nest
75
The FireStealers Girlhood
95
18401847
121
Carrying and Singing
394
the Hearts Heavy Freight
395
The Fighting Years
442
18661886
495
Repose
497
Wisdom That Woni Go Sale
525
Late Adventures in Friendship and Love
576
Exquisite Containment
602

First Years on West Street
123
Amherst Academy
139
Death and Friendship
167
18471852
189
Mount Holyoke Female Seminary
191
First Drunkenness
213
Somebodys Reveries
245
18521858
279
A Sheltered Life
281
News of the Ancient School of True Poets
307
Troubles and Riddles
327
18581865
357
Nothings Small
359
Family Charts
630
A Second Photograph of Emily Dickinson?
634
Standing Buildings Associated with Emily Dickinson
638
Deaths from Consumption Tuberculosis
640
Emily Dickinsons Legal Signatures
642
Summary of Corrected Dates of Letters
644
Acknowledgments
646
Abbreviations
649
Notes
660
Index of First Lines to Poems
740
Index
746
Permissions and Photo Credits
761

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 (2002)

Alfred Habegger, formerly a professor of English at the University of Kansas, lives with his wife, Nellie, in northeastern Oregon. His previous books include Gender, Fantasy, and Realism in American Literature an da prize-winning biography, The Father: A Life of Henry James, Sr.