爱思英语编者按:在美国文学史中,很少有人能像艾米莉·狄金森(Emily Dickinson,1830-1886)那样富有深邃、真挚和传奇的色彩。这些特点不仅体现在她的诗歌和思想方面,而且也包含在她本人的生活经历和感情世界里。她在孤独中埋头写诗,留下诗稿1775首。在她生前只有7首诗被朋友从她的信件中抄录出发表。在她创作时,爱默生所领导的“超验主义”运动在离阿默斯特不远的康科德兴起,她年轻时曾接触到爱默生的思想,爱默生反对权威、祟尚直觉的观点,使她与正统的宗教感情发生冲突,处于对宗教的虔诚与怀疑的矛盾之中。她的诗主要写高傲的孤独、对宗教追求的失望、死的安详等,反映了复杂的心理状态。 狄更生于1886年5月15日逝世。她的亲友曾选编她的遗诗,于19世纪末印出3集,但逐渐为人忘却。直到美国现代诗兴起,她才作为现代诗的先驱者得到热烈欢迎,对她的研究成了美国现代文学批评中的热门。从1921年起,狄更生的书信陆续选编出版。其中有许多表现出与她的诗相仿的谜一般的意趣,这也说明她的生活内容过于狭隘。

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in the quiet community of Amherst, Massachusetts, the second daughter of Edward and Emily Norcross Dickinson. Emily, Austin (her older brother) and her younger sister Lavinia were nurtured in a quiet, reserved family headed by their authoritative father Edward. Throughout Emily's life, her mother was not "emotionally accessible," the absence of which might have caused some of Emily's eccentricity. Being rooted in the puritanical Massachusetts of the 1800's, the Dickinson children were raised in the Christian tradition, and they were expected to take up their father's religious beliefs and values without argument. Later in life, Emily would come to challenge these conventional religious viewpoints of her father and the church, and the challenges she met with would later contribute to the strength of her poetry

The later years of Dickinson's life were primarily spent in mourning because of several deaths within the time frame of a few years. Emily's father died in 1874, Samuel Bowles died in 1878, J.G. Holland died in 1881, her nephew Gilbert died in 1883, and both Charles Wadsworth and Emily's mother died in 1882. Over those few years, many of the most influential and precious friendships of Emily's passed away, and that gave way to the more concentrated obsession with death in her poetry. On June 14, 1884 Emily's obsessions and poetic speculations started to come to a stop when she suffered the first attack of her terminal illness. Throughout the year of 1885, Emily was confined to bed in her family's house where she had lived her entire life, and on May 15, 1886 Emily took her last breath at the age of 56. At that moment the world lost one of its most talented and insightful poets. Emily left behind nearly 2,000 poems.

As a result of Emily Dickinson's life of solitude, she was able to focus on her world more sharply than other authors of her time - contemporary authors who had no effect on her writing. Emily was original and innovative in her poetry, most often drawing on the Bible, classical mythology, and Shakespeare for allusions and references. Many of her poems were not completed and written on scraps of paper, such as old grocery lists. Eventually when her poetry was published, editors took it upon themselves to group them into classes - Friends, Nature, Love, and Death. These same editors arranged her works with titles, rearranged the syntax, and standardized Dickinson's grammar. Fortunately in 1955, Thomas Johnson published Dickinson's poems in their original formats, thus displaying the creative genius and peculiarity of her poetry.

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Because I Could Not Stop for Death
I Died for Beauty-but Was Scarce
My Life Closed Twice before Its Close
I Heard a fly buzz-When I Died

She explores the inner life of the individual.Her poetry is a clear illustration of her religious-ethical and political-social ideas.

Calvinism with its doctrine of predestination and its pessimism pressured her during her childhood and adolescence and colored her work so that her basic tone was tragic.

The largest portion of her poetry concerns death and immorality.

She was original,never imitating others.

She emphasized on free-will,human responsibility and holds that beauty,death,truth,goodness are ultimately one.