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Emily Dickinson


Emily Dickinson
(1830 – 1886)

1830 - 1886

Life
A. She was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her father was a famous lawyer and politician. B. She received college education. C. She lived a leisure and simple life and kept single all her life. She enjoyed gardening and writing and tried to avoid visitors. (Her life style is similar with Jane Austen’s.) D. She wrote 1775 poems, but only seven of them published in her life time. E. Before her death, she asked her sister to burn all her poems. However, her sister published those beautiful poems.

The Dickinson Homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts

The Dickinson Homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts (garden)

subject
The range of her poetry suggests not her limited experience but her creativity and imagination. Her subjects were love, death, nature, religion, immortality, pain, beauty. She wrote of God, man, and nature with a knowledge that seemed impossible for a person so limitedly experienced.

theory
Dickinson formed her own theory of poetry which can be summarized in four points. (1) She regarded the poet as a seer(幻想家,先知). She thought the poet could grasp truth through her imagination and then the poem would reveal this truth to the reader. That is a romanticnotion.(浪漫的念头) (2) She believed that poetry contributed to growth and that poetry had an impact on one’s life. It helped the growth and development of the reader.

Poetic Style
telling images, suggestive and connotative, sometimes incomprehensible (“Tell all the Truth but tell it slant” ) a severe economy of expression direct and plain words, simple syntax faulty grammar no regular rhythm, at most off or slant rhymes unusual capitalization unusual use of punctuation marks Personal and meditative

Three Important Men in her Life

? Benjamin F. Newton, Her father’s apprentice. Although their relationship was probably not romantic, he was a formative influence and Emily regarded him as her tutor, preceptor or master ? Charles Wadsworth, the clergymen. She variously referred to him as "my Philadelphia", "my Clergyman", "my dearest earthly friend" and "my Shepherd from 'Little Girlhood’ ? Thomas Higginson, the editor. Dickinson valued his advice, going from calling him "Mr. Higginson" to "Dear friend" as well as signing her letters "Your Gnome" and "Your Scholar”

I Died For Beauty
I died for Beauty,but was scarce Adjusted in the tomb, When one who died for truth was lain In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly Why I failed? "For Beauty," I replied. "And I for truth—the two are One; We bretheren are,"he said.

And so,as kinsmen,met a-night, We talked between the rooms, Until the moss had reached our lips, And covered up our names.

I Died for Beauty
Line 1 beauty: the poet’s comprehension of “beauty”, including both natural beauty and the beauty of art. In this poem, the word referre to the latter. scarce: hardly, barely Line3 When: then quite unexpectedly or to my surprise( I discovered something) lain: laid Line 4 adjoining room: the next room (tomb) Stanza1: I died pursuing the beauty of art and immediately as I became accustomed to the new circumstance of a tomb, I was told that there was another who died for truth and arrived in the next room.

Line5 failed: died; sacrificed myself. Line7 I for truth: I died for truth. themselves: beauty and truth themselves In this poem. Emily shares Keats’ belief that beauty and truth are closely related: they are one. Therefore, she deliberately misspells the “themselves”: themselves : “Them ”in the plural form because “beauty and truth are two things.” “Self” is in a single form because beauty and truth indicate one thing. Line 8 We brethren are: We are brothers. Stanza2: I died for beauty and he died for truth. Since “beauty is truth, and truth beauty,” we are as close as brothers , or like twins.

Line9 a-night: at night Line11 moss: very small gray or yellow flowerless plant growing in thick masses on damp surfaces of trees or stones. Line12(the moss has ) covered up our names: we have naturally united into one; we have been completely forgotten by the human world. Stanza3: The two of us are like kinsmen who met at night, and we talked in separated rooms for a very long time until we have harmoniously unite into one and have been completely forgotten by the human world.

Comment on the poem: This is the poem conveying Emily Dickinson’s aesthetic view that beauty and truth are closely related. 参考译文: 我为美而死 我为美而死,但还不怎么 他柔声问我我为什么失败而亡, 适应坟墓里的生活, “为了美”,我回答说, 这时一位为真理而死的人 “我为了真理-美和真是一样, 被安放在隔壁墓室里。 我们俩是兄弟,”他说。 就这样,像近亲在夜里相遇, 我们隔墙而谈, 直到青苔把我们的嘴封闭, 将我们的名字埋葬。

I’m Nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody,too? Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell! They’d banish us,you know. How dreary to be somebody! How public like a Frog To tell your name the livelong day To an admiring bog!

I’m Nobody ’

我是无名之辈! 你是谁? 我是无名之辈 你是谁 你也是无名之辈吗? 你也是无名之辈吗 那么我们为一对,别说! 那么我们为一对,别说 他们会传开去,你知道! 他们会传开去,你知道 某某名人! 多无聊 是 某某名人 多招摇 象个青蛙 告诉你的名字 漫长的六月 给一片赞赏的沼泽! 给一片赞赏的沼泽

The end,thank you!


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