Dickinson abhorred the idea of releasing her poetry to the public, calling the act of publishing "the auction of the mind."_CITATION34_ After Dickinson died in 1886, her sister Lavinia discovered more than 800 poems neatly bound and copied in her bedroom. The collection of Emily Dickinson's poetry was published in 1890 and has been beloved since.
Dickinson's niece Martha published this biography of her aunt nearly 40 years after the poet's death. It is far from definitive, but offers an intimate portrait of an unusual woman, a woman whose loved ones remembered as warm and funny.
Sewall's biography is considered to be the definitive word on Dickinson's life, and no one has surpassed it since. Prior to publication, Dickinson had acquired a reputation as a shy, fragile woman unable to leave her house. Sewall's research showed that Emily Dickinson was a lot smarter and pluckier than biographers had given her credit for.
In 1862, after reading his essay in the Atlantic Monthly, Dickinson wrote to literary critic Thomas Wentworth Higginson to ask him to review her poetry. What followed was a fascinating, unusual correspondence that lasted decades. In her letters, Dickinson showed herself to be intelligent, sensitive, coquettish, and eccentric. This book looks at Dickinson's illuminating relationship with a man she called her "master."