Emily Dickinson - Poetry - Legacy

Legacy

In the early 20th century, Dickinson's legacy was promoted in particular by Martha Dickinson Bianchi and Millicent Todd Bingham. Bianchi, who had inherited The Evergreens as well as the copyright for her aunt's poetry from her parents, published works such as Emily Dickinson Face to Face and Letters of Emily Dickinson, which stoked public curiosity about her aunt. Her books perpetrated the myths surrounding her aunt, while combining family tradition, personal recollections, and pieces of correspondence. In comparison, Millicent Todd Bingham's works provided a more distant and realistic perspective of the poet.

Emily Dickinson is now considered a powerful and persistent figure in American culture. Although much of the early reception concentrated on Dickinson's eccentric and secluded nature, she has become widely acknowledged as an innovative, pre-modernist poet. As early as 1891, William Dean Howells wrote that "If nothing else had come out of our life but this strange poetry, we should feel that in the work of Emily Dickinson, America, or New England rather, had made a distinctive addition to the literature of the world, and could not be left out of any record of it." Twentieth-century critic Harold Bloom has placed her alongside Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, and Hart Crane as a major American poet, and among the thirty greatest Western Writers of all time.

Dickinson is taught in American literature and poetry classes in the United States from middle school to college. Her poetry is frequently anthologized and has been used as texts for art songs by composers such as Aaron Copland, Nick Peros, John Adams and Michael Tilson Thomas. Several schools have been established in her name; for example, two Emily Dickinson Elementary Schools exist in Bozeman, Montana, and Redmond, Washington. A few literary journals—including The Emily Dickinson Journal, the official publication of the Emily Dickinson International Society—have been founded to examine her work. An 8-cent commemorative stamp in honor of Dickinson was issued by the United States Postal Service on August 28, 1971 as the second stamp in the "American Poet" series. A one-woman play entitled The Belle of Amherst first appeared on Broadway in 1976, winning several awards; it was later adapted for television.

Dickinson's herbarium, which is now held in the Houghton Library at Harvard University, was published in 2006 as Emily Dickinson's Herbarium by Harvard University Press. The original work was complied by Dickinson during her years at Amherst Academy, and consists of 424 pressed specimens of plants arranged on 66 pages of a bound album. A digital facsimile of the herbarium is available online. The Amherst Jones Library's Special Collections department has an Emily Dickinson Collection consisting of approximately seven thousand items, including original manuscript poems and letters, family correspondence, scholarly articles and books, newspaper clippings, theses, plays, photographs and contemporary artwork and prints. The Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College has substantial holdings of Dickinson's manuscripts and letters as well as a lock of Dickinson's hair and the original of the only positively identified image of the poet. In 1965, in recognition of Dickinson's growing stature as a poet, the Homestead was purchased by Amherst College. It opened to the public for tours, and also served as a faculty residence for many years. The Emily Dickinson Museum was created in 2003 when ownership of the Evergreens, which had been occupied by Dickinson family heirs until 1988, was transferred to the college.

Read more about this topic:  Emily Dickinson, Poetry

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