Special Topics in a Single American Author


Joseph Donahue


The adultery, betrayal, homoeroticism, tragic death and contested estate would make “The Dickinsons of Amherst,” were it ever a series, a hit, at least on PBS. Then there’s the central figure, Emily Dickinson, who was, there’s no polite way to put this, the greatest lyric poet in the English language. This course is an answer to her own question: Dare you see a Soul at the White Heat? To do so, we will read through her extraordinary Collected Poems, some of her letters, and works that influenced her, and that she influenced. We will explore her confrontations with such matters as love, death, belief, the fate of the soul, in those sharp small poems, by turns witty and grave, that aspire to the condition of lightning.

Seminar version of 390-1. Area requirements (Area I, II, or III) for English majors will be determined by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.