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biography
poetry
New England
Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds
 
 
Author
Lyndall Gordon.
Publisher Viking  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.6 inches
ISBN 9780670021932
Pages/Publication Date 491/2010
Daedalus Item Code 23340
List Price: $32.95
Sale Price: $6.98
You Save: $25.97
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Description
The James Tait Black Prize–winning biographer of Virginia Woolf and Mary Wollstonecraft here gives us an entirely new Emily Dickinson—one who at last seems capable of the fierce intelligence at work in her poems. Lyndall Gordon digs deeply into the records of Emily's life as well as her poetry, suggesting that her seclusion was due to her suffering from epilepsy, a highly stigmatized disorder in her day. At the same time, the tensions within the household came from her brother Austin's adultery with the vivacious, ambitious, and talented Mabel Todd, who usurped control of the family—and Emily's image after her death—and caused a feud that continued for over a century.

"Forever vanquished is the pallid icon of Emily Dickinson as the reclusive virgin saint of Amherst.... Gordon, biographer of Virginia Woolf and Mary Wollstonecraft, explodes all previous theories in an electrifying family portrait. It wasn't heartbreak that kept the poet sequestered, Gordon argues with high-beam cogency, it was epilepsy, a then-uncontrollable and shameful malady. With one stroke, Gordon recasts Dickinson's entire oeuvre. She then reveals the outrageous treachery of the poet's esteemed brother, Austin, who held his unmarried sisters, wife Susan, and their children hostage to his passion for his ambitious mistress, Mabel Loomis Todd, whose scheming husband encouraged the affair. So much for New England decorum and restraint. With trysts in Lavinia and Emily's cherished home and sanctuary, Mabel's escalating demands, and Austin's utter callousness toward his family, a great feud was born. And on it raged long after Emily's death as the irrepressible, multitalented Mabel deciphered, typed, and published Dickinson's poems. Literary bloodhound and superbly eloquent chronicler Gordon follows every twist and kink of the ensuing legal skirmishes, especially the poignant battle between Mabel's daughter and Emily's niece, in a Shakespearean tale of a house divided. A jolting and utterly intriguing watershed achievement."—Booklist (starred review)

 
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Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems
Harold Bloom, ed.
Studio: Harper.   Format: hardcover. ISBN: 9780061923050.  Daedalus Item Code: 22324
List Price: $24.99 Sale Price: $4.98 You Save: $20.01
 
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