Critical Insights: Emily Dickinson


Critical Insights: Emily Dickinson


Editor: J. Brooks Bouson

Contributing Author: Elizabeth A. Petrino


Document Type



Elizabeth Petrino, is a contributing author, “Emily Dickinson and Her Culture", pp. 31-50.

Book description: This volume in the Critical Insights series, edited and with an introduction by J. Brooks Bouson, Professor of English at Loyola University in Chicago, brings together a variety of new and classic essays on Dickinson's life and work. Bouson's introduction reviews the unique challenges Dickinson presents to readers as well as the current state of Dickinson criticism, while a new essay by Paris Review contributor Jascha Hoffman celebrates Dickinson's compressive powers. A brief biography by Gerhard Brand then acquaints readers with the known details of the lives of Dickinson and her family and friends.

For readers studying Dickinson for the first time, a quartet of essays offers an introduction to her life, work, and critical reception. Elizabeth Petrino situates Dickinson within her historical and cultural context by exploring the influences of New England Puritanism, Romanticism, Transcendentalism, and the Civil War upon her work. Beginning with nineteenth-century newspaper and magazine reviews and ending with more recent studies of the Dickinson manuscripts and current postmodernist, feminist, psychoanalytic, and cultural studies, Fred D. White surveys the major trends in Dickinson criticism and points readers to especially helpful introductory texts. Margaret H. Freeman offers a close reading of a group of Dickinson's poems to show how experiencing their sound patterns and syntax can inform our understanding of them, as well as how their structuring metaphors demonstrate Dickinson's mental schemata. Finally, Matthew J. Bolton examines the trope of "the conscious corpse" in poems by Robert Browning, A. E. Housman, and Dickinson.



Publication Date


Publication Information

Petrino, Elizabeth. “Emily Dickinson and Her Culture.” Critical Insights: Emily Dickinson, edited by J. Brooks Bouson. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 2010. 31-50. 9781587656958


Copyright 2010 Salem Press

Critical Insights: Emily Dickinson