Emily Dickinson is regarded as one of America’s greatest poets; she was born in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Dickinson was well educated and attended Mount Holyoke Seminary, although she only attended for one year, the longest time she ever spent away from home. Dickinson would go on to live a very reclusive life, in a sort of self-imposed solitude. Dickinson’s early years were not without turmoil however, and the death of several close friends and family members would prompt her to question death and immortality, as noted in several of her poems. Although she spent much of her adult life as a recluse, she had many companions that she corresponded with through letters. Dickinson also spent a great deal of time reading, and drew inspiration from other poets, such as Robert and Elizabeth Browning, as well as the Bronte sisters. In her lifetime Dickinson composed nearly 1800 poems, although she only shared them with her family and friends, less than a dozen of her works were published in her lifetime. Emily Dickinson died in 1886, from what is now thought to be Bright’s disease; it was after her death that her sister, Lavinia, came across all of her poetry while settling her affairs. In 1890 Poems by Emily Dickinson was published after being edited by friends, Mabel Todd and T.W. Higginson. It is important to know that many of the early publications of Dickinson’s work were heavily edited, and as a result there are several versions of many of her poems available. Although not extensively published during her lifetime, Dickinson’s poems were considered unique for her time, with short broken lines, a lack of titles, her use of slant rhyme, and her unconventional punctuation. Because Dickinson’s poems contained no title, the first line of the poem is used as a reference for her works.
Because I Could Not Stop for Death, is a lyric poem, on a recurring theme for Dickinson, death. In analyzing this poem I choose the version from the Introduction to Literature...
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