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Emily Dickinson: A Poets Grammar Chistanne Miller

Emily Dickinson: A Poets Grammar

Chistanne Miller

Published October 15th 1989
ISBN : 9780674250369
Paperback
212 pages
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 About the Book 

In this inventive work on Emily Dickinsons poetry, Cristanne Miller traces the roots of Dickinsons unusual, compressed, ungrammatical, and richly ambiguous style, finding them in sources as different as the New Testament and the daily patterns ofMoreIn this inventive work on Emily Dickinsons poetry, Cristanne Miller traces the roots of Dickinsons unusual, compressed, ungrammatical, and richly ambiguous style, finding them in sources as different as the New Testament and the daily patterns of womens speech. Dickinson writes as she does both because she is steeped in the great patriarchal texts of her culture, from the Bible and hymns to Herberts poetry and Emersons prose, and because she is conscious of writing as a woman in an age and culture that assume great and serious poets are male.Miller observes that Dickinsons language deviates from normal construction along definable and consistent lines- consequently it lends itself to the categorical analysis of an interpretive grammar such as the one she has constructed in this book. In order to facilitate the reading of Dickinsons poems and to reveal the values and assumptions behind the poets manipulations of language, Miller examines in this grammar how specific elements of the poets style tend to function in various contexts. Because many, especially modernist, poets use some of the same techniques, the grammar throws light on the poetic syntax of other writers as well.In the course of her analysis, Miller draws not only on traditional historical and linguistic sources but also on current sociolinguistic studies of gender and speech and on feminist descriptions of womens writing. Dickinsons language, she concludes, could almost have been designed as a model for twentieth-century theories of what a womens language might be. As a critical examination of the relationship between linguistic style and literary identity in Americas greatest woman poet, Emily Dickinson: A Poets Grammar provides a significant addition to feminist literary studies.