Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's by Lyndall Gordon

By Lyndall Gordon

"Lives Like Loaded Guns...reads like a superb detective story...[Gordon] takes us into undiscovered territory." --The Washington Post , a nice significant other to fanatics of the film A Quiet Passion, starring Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson. 

In 1882, Emily Dickinson's brother, Austin, begun an adulterous love affair with the entire and ravishing Mabel Todd, surroundings in movement a sequence of occasions that will perpetually swap the lives of the Dickinson relatives. Award-winning biographer Lyndall Gordon tells the tale of the feud that erupted-and that also maintains this day. Making remarkable use of letters, diaries, and felony files, Gordon proposes a groundbreaking new technique to the key at the back of the poet's insistent seclusion, providing a lady past her time who discovered love, spirituality, and immortality all on her personal phrases.

the 1st significant biography of Dickinson in approximately ten years, Lives Like Loaded Guns is a hugely acclaimed tale of inventive genius, illicit ardour, and betrayal that would perpetually swap the way in which we view one in every of America's most crucial literary figures.

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Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds

"Lives Like Loaded weapons. .. reads like a superb detective tale. .. [Gordon] takes us into undiscovered territory. " --The Washington Post , a nice significant other to enthusiasts of the film A Quiet Passion, starring Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson.  In 1882, Emily Dickinson's brother, Austin, started an adulterous love affair with the finished and ravishing Mabel Todd, surroundings in movement a chain of occasions that might endlessly switch the lives of the Dickinson kin.

Extra resources for Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds

Example text

What’s stranger in Dickinson’s character are the silences surrounding almost every word in the climactic couplet about the nameless thing that ‘struck’ a tick-tock life. Unanswered questions resonate in the wake of lives, and no one more elusive than Emily Dickinson. To approach a biographical absence, the first responsible step was to map her social landscape. This enterprise was initiated in Emily Dickinson’s Home (1955) by Millicent Todd Bingham, and carried forward by her executor, Richard B.

But what is the link, if any, with a poet who said, twenty years before the feud began, ‘My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun—’? There are other explosions, if we turn our eyes from her tame visible life, flitting about the Homestead, or kneeling on a blanket outside while she tended her plants, or sending timely notes, flowers and goodies to friends and neighbours. What she termed ‘Existence’ was something else. Of that there are only hints and guesses. An unseen but decisive event, a ‘bolt’ or ‘Bomb’ that she had to ‘Hold’ and ‘calm’, vetoed a life she might have led outside her home, while it opened up the secret life she devised as a poet.

Whichever the sin, we turn to Jesus, and we do so not with love but in fear of damnation. Emily was unafraid of his fierceness: ‘Father steps like Cromwell when he gets the kindlings’, she joked, and she read his reticence with understanding. When Austin left for boarding school she detected a father’s feeling in the grave way he walked towards the barn, and returned ‘looking very stately - then strode away down [the] street as if the foe was coming’. Emily’s own brand of fearlessness stirred unlooked-for pleasure in her father.

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