Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

Emily Dickinson and Romanticism College

“Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon” (Dickinson, n.d.). At first glance, this utterance by Emily Dickinson conveys a negative attitude towards the unique and the new. However, upon second interpretation, this quote manages to perfectly encapsulate the very essence of the Romantic Era as well as Dickinson’s immense influence on literary schools of thought at the time. This essay will discuss in detail this influence. First, a brief explanation of the Romantic Era and a definition of Romanticism will be provided for the sake of context. Then, the forces at work during the Romantic era will be explained with reference to a number of Dickinson’s poems.

Simply put, Romanticism is the “establishment of human life on a pure basis of feeling” (Sreedharan, 2004: 128). To the Romantic, the medium of feeling or emotion did not replace the medium of thought. Instead, the medium of feeling was the medium of thought. Historical context is key when discussing the Romantic era. During this time, the world and, more specifically, the literary community experienced a surge of freedom in terms of ideas and schools of belief. One of the most prominent schools of thought was the reaction to the rationalization...

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