Eccentric, dreamy, half-educated recluse

Thomas Bailey Aldrich’s wholesale dismissal of Emily Dickinson’s poetry in the January 1892 Atlantic Monthly is entertaining in its clueless pomposity.

I can’t find the full piece online, but here’s an excerpt:

It is plain that Miss Dickinson possessed an extremely unconventional and grotesque fancy. She was deeply tinged by the mysticism of Blake, and strongly influenced by the mannerism of Emerson…. But the incoherence and formlessness of her — versicles are fatal…. [A]n eccentric, dreamy, half-educated recluse in an out-of-the-way New England village (or anywhere else) cannot with impunity set at defiance the laws of gravitation and grammar.

See also Edmund Wilson’s response to Lolita.

Ridiculously softened Dickinson portrait taken from this site.


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