Emily Dickinson / Edition 1

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Editorial Reviews

London Review of Books

Cristanne Miller's study is...densely researched and...living and contemporary in its readings of the poems. Miller works from the assumption that Dickinson sees herself 'oppositionally, defining her position in the world negatively, by distance from some social construct or law'. And Miller shows how those negations have a constructive role.
— Tom Paulin

Women's Review of Books

Miller is such an exciting reader...Close and thoughtful interpretation is combined with good humor throughout [the book]...[It] is readable and often delightful. Like Dickinson herself, Miller is quietly full of surprise...Cristanne Miller discovers Dickinson 'in words (her own)' (to use Adrienne Rich's phrase); she sees a self-conscious, determined, decisive Emily Dickinson, not someone so stricken with grief or pain or even her own sensitivity that she doesn't quite know what she's doing or what she's writing. Reminding us that Dickinson called her poems her 'letter to the World,' Miller views the poems as communicative, not solipsistic, acts.
— Martha Nell Smith

Choice
Reading this book makes one realize just how clumsy our approach to Dickinson's poetry has always been. Rather than casting about for specific referents for Dickinson's highly ambiguous references, Miller provides a method for understanding and appreciating the extraordinary suggestiveness of Dickinson's work...This text should revise our approach to Dickinson, laying the groundwork for the meticulous examination of fundamental language use that her poems demand.
American Literary Realism

Emily Dickinson: A Poet's Grammar will be especially welcome...Miller's study ultimately shows the linguistic canniness and aesthetic consciousness with which Emily Dickinson consistently distilled "amazing sense/From ordinary Meanings."
— Sandra M. Gilbert

Nineteenth-Century Literature

Miller shows readers what is actually at stake in this idiosyncratic verse and maps better than anyone to date the links between the grammatical choices and literary identity.
— David Porter

Legacy

This grammar is neither too dry nor reductive nor abstract. Rather, it provides a way to organize Miller's insights into the particular moments and larger implications of Dickinson's art...Miller's understanding of Dickinson as a woman poet is especially convincing, especially compelling...A fine book: satisfying and stimulating.
— Suzanne Juhasz

Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature

By returning us to fundamental issues of style, Miller focuses our attention on the relation between gender identity and literary creation...The accuracy of insight Miller brings to bear on Dickinson's "cryptic revelations" compels us to turn again to the poems to assess the revolutionary force of Dickinson's gender-inflected, elliptic grammar of disguise.
— Joanne Feit Diehl

London Review of Books - Tom Paulin
Cristanne Miller's study is...densely researched and...living and contemporary in its readings of the poems. Miller works from the assumption that Dickinson sees herself 'oppositionally, defining her position in the world negatively, by distance from some social construct or law'. And Miller shows how those negations have a constructive role.
Women's Review of Books - Martha Nell Smith
Miller is such an exciting reader...Close and thoughtful interpretation is combined with good humor throughout [the book]...[It] is readable and often delightful. Like Dickinson herself, Miller is quietly full of surprise...Cristanne Miller discovers Dickinson 'in words (her own)' (to use Adrienne Rich's phrase); she sees a self-conscious, determined, decisive Emily Dickinson, not someone so stricken with grief or pain or even her own sensitivity that she doesn't quite know what she's doing or what she's writing. Reminding us that Dickinson called her poems her 'letter to the World,' Miller views the poems as communicative, not solipsistic, acts.
American Literary Realism - Sandra M. Gilbert
Emily Dickinson: A Poet's Grammar will be especially welcome...Miller's study ultimately shows the linguistic canniness and aesthetic consciousness with which Emily Dickinson consistently distilled "amazing sense/From ordinary Meanings."
Nineteenth-Century Literature - David Porter
Miller shows readers what is actually at stake in this idiosyncratic verse and maps better than anyone to date the links between the grammatical choices and literary identity.
Legacy - Suzanne Juhasz
This grammar is neither too dry nor reductive nor abstract. Rather, it provides a way to organize Miller's insights into the particular moments and larger implications of Dickinson's art...Miller's understanding of Dickinson as a woman poet is especially convincing, especially compelling...A fine book: satisfying and stimulating.
Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature - Joanne Feit Diehl
By returning us to fundamental issues of style, Miller focuses our attention on the relation between gender identity and literary creation...The accuracy of insight Miller brings to bear on Dickinson's "cryptic revelations" compels us to turn again to the poems to assess the revolutionary force of Dickinson's gender-inflected, elliptic grammar of disguise.
Legacy
This grammar is neither too dry nor reductive nor abstract. Rather, it provides a way to organize Miller's insights into the particular moments and larger implications of Dickinson's art...Miller's understanding of Dickinson as a woman poet is especially convincing, especially compelling...A fine book: satisfying and stimulating.
— Suzanne Juhasz
London Review of Books
Cristanne Miller's study is...densely researched and...living and contemporary in its readings of the poems. Miller works from the assumption that Dickinson sees herself 'oppositionally, defining her position in the world negatively, by distance from some social construct or law'. And Miller shows how those negations have a constructive role.
— Tom Paulin
Women's Review of Books
Miller is such an exciting reader...Close and thoughtful interpretation is combined with good humor throughout [the book]...[It] is readable and often delightful. Like Dickinson herself, Miller is quietly full of surprise...Cristanne Miller discovers Dickinson 'in words (her own)' (to use Adrienne Rich's phrase); she sees a self-conscious, determined, decisive Emily Dickinson, not someone so stricken with grief or pain or even her own sensitivity that she doesn't quite know what she's doing or what she's writing. Reminding us that Dickinson called her poems her 'letter to the World,' Miller views the poems as communicative, not solipsistic, acts.
— Martha Nell Smith
Nineteenth-Century Literature
Miller shows readers what is actually at stake in this idiosyncratic verse and maps better than anyone to date the links between the grammatical choices and literary identity.
— David Porter
American Literary Realism
Emily Dickinson: A Poet's Grammar will be especially welcome...Miller's study ultimately shows the linguistic canniness and aesthetic consciousness with which Emily Dickinson consistently distilled "amazing sense/From ordinary Meanings."
— Sandra M. Gilbert
Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature
By returning us to fundamental issues of style, Miller focuses our attention on the relation between gender identity and literary creation...The accuracy of insight Miller brings to bear on Dickinson's "cryptic revelations" compels us to turn again to the poems to assess the revolutionary force of Dickinson's gender-inflected, elliptic grammar of disguise.
— Joanne Feit Diehl
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674250369
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/1989
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Cristanne Miller is Chair in the Department of English and Edward H. Butler Professor of Literature at University at Buffalo SUNY.
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Table of Contents

  • Letters to the World
  • A Grammar
    • Texts of the Poems
    • Compression
    • Disjunction
    • Repetition
    • Syntax
    • Speech


  • Reading the Poems
    • “He fumbles at your Soul”
    • “This was a Poet—It Is That”
    • “My Life had stood — a Loaded Gun”
    • “To pile like Thunder to it’s close”


  • Names and Verbs: Influences on the Poet’s Language
    • The Language of the Bible
    • Seventeenth-Century Stylists
    • The Hymns of Isaac Watts
    • The American Plain Style
    • Emerson’s Theories of Language
    • Noah Webster and Lexicography
    • Nineteenth-Century Women Writers


  • The Consent of Language and the Woman Poet
  • Notes
  • Index of First Lines
  • Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Worthwhile, and not lite reading

    Dickinson ain't easy. Yet, "she struck sensitive readers with great force." That makes you want to find more. How do you do that? One way is to examine the formal aspects of compositon - Grammar, syntax, and techniques. I'm no English professor, but for me it was worth the effort it took to learn the terminology the author uses in order to gain a better comprehension of the genius of these poems.
    It's really a very fine book. I'm reading it now for the second time.
    David Porter is a celebrated Dickinson Scholar of decades standing. Here's his comment on this book:
    "Miller shows readers what is actually at stake in this idiosyncratic verse, and maps better than anyone to date the links between grammatical choices and literary identity."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

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