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Approaches to Teaching Dickinson's Poetry

Editor(s): Robin Riley Fast, Christine Mack Gordon

Pages: x & 203 pp.
Published: 1989
ISBN: 9780873525268 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873525251 (cloth)

"The essays [in this volume] are...clear, direct, and issue-oriented."
The Single Hound



The life and the range of topics and tones of Emily Dickinson suit her to be included in such courses as American literature, Romanticism, realism, nineteenth-century culture, and women's literary traditions. Her poetry poses numerous challenges for readers because of its compressed style, indeterminacy, and constant surprises; her biography fascinates students and critics alike.

This volume emphasizes instruction of Dickinson's poetry at the undergraduate level. Like other volumes in the MLA's Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, it is divided into two parts. The first, "Materials," discusses editions of Dickinson's poetry, aids to teaching, reference works, biographies, critical studies, and background materials. In the second part, "Approaches," twenty essays suggest ways to introduce Dickinson and her poetry, draw attention to different aspects of her art, and place the poems in larger contexts. Among the topics raised are love, epistemology, the treatment of death, and implications of gender. Among the courses described are a composition class and an advanced literature class. An appendix provides sample assignments.


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