Emily Dickinson was an American poet. She was rather inhibited. Truth be told, she was one of those poets who never became famous during the lifetime. Fame came to Emily only after her death. Her poems became a breakthrough in the literary world. The small town she was born in is now known all over America as the hometown of Emily Dickinson.
There weren’t many bright events in her life. However, we managed to gather some facts about her life that we think may be interesting to our readers. Let’s see what these facts are:
Emily Dickinson: 8 interesting facts about “The woman in white”
1. Emily Dickinson deep down was a true rebel
Emily’s parents were devoted Calvinists. Those adhering to Calvinism believed that every person is a sinner since the moment of birth. The only way to save the soul was to undergo the Calvinist conversion. Emily had never done that. She adhered to the Protestantism. Up until the age of 30, she visited services held at church every Sunday. Later, she stopped doing that. She claimed that she found God by staying at home. Even though she believed in science more than in religion, she never lost faith in the immortality of spirit.
Her rebellious nature is also seen in her poems. Her poems were written in rather a “non-standard” style for those times, an interesting fact about Emily Dickinson. For example, she used lots of dashes of various length in her writing.
2. Emily Dickinson’s relationships with her mother weren’t good
Some historians say that Emily’s father didn’t like scholar females. Some people believe this to be the reason for issues in Emily’s relationships with her father. In fact, she was rather close with her father. He was often away on business. However, he often wrote to his kids asking about their progress at school.
Unfortunately, Emily’s relationships with her mother weren’t so strong. In one of her letters to a friend, Emily said that her mother was often cold with her. However, she took care of her mother up until her death from a chronic illness.
3. Emily Dickinson was born in a prominent family
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born in December 1830. Her hometown was Amherst (Massachusetts). This was the town she lived almost all her life in.
Her father was a well-known lawyer. Edward Dickinson graduated from the Northampton Law School. His career took off almost instantly. He served 4 terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, the Massachusetts Senate, and the US Congress. He was also the treasurer of the Amherst College (that was established by Samuel Dickinson, Emily’s grandfather).
Edward Dickinson wanted to give his children a good education. Emily attended the primary school that was located not far from her home. She continued her education at Amherst Academy. Her teachers often characterized her as a brilliant and hardworking student.
4. Emily Dickinson was deeply interested in botany
While studying at the academy, Emily created her own herbarium. Under each plant, there is a note saying its name in Latin. An interesting fact about Emily Dickinson was that botany was one of Emily’s greatest passions all through her life.
Apart from botany, Dickinson also was interested in music. In one of the letters, her aunt mentioned Emily’s achievements in music. She was quite good at playing the piano.
5. Emily Dickinson published only several of her poems
During her lifetime, Emily published 10 poems. All the rest of them she kept to herself. Even her closest friends didn’t know that she was writing. Her collections were discovered after her death. In total, she wrote 1,800 poems. They were published after her death by her sister. Some of the poems were devoted to Susan Gilbert, the wife of her brother Austin.
6. Emily Dickinson was rather inhibited
In her adulthood and later, Emily Dickinson became very inhibited. She didn’t invite guests to visit her. In her later years, she didn’t even want to leave her bedroom.
It is now believed that she suffered from several diseases during her lifetime, an unfortunate fact about Emily Dickinson. One of those diseases might be agoraphobia. Maybe, it was due to agoraphobia that she tried to stay home as often as possible.
7. Emily Dickinson was known under the nickname “The woman in white”
Emily Dickinson certainly stands out from the society of those times. Many people considered her to be strange and eccentric. To many people, her decision to isolate herself from the society seemed rather unusual and unexplainable.
After the age of 30, she changed her style of clothes. She preferred to wear only white clothes. That’s why the people in her community often referred to her as “The woman in white”.
8. Emily Dickinson didn’t have many friends
While studying at the Amherst Academy, Emily befriended a couple of people who became her lifelong friends. After graduating from the academy, she didn’t meet those friends in person. She preferred to communicate with her friends by means of letters, an interesting fact about Emily Dickinson.
When a child, she lost several of her friends to death. The experience deeply traumatized her. Some historians believe that she consciously decided not to befriend anyone in her adult life and later. This was her reaction to losing some of her friend at an early age.
Emily Dickinson died in 1899. She was a poet with her own, authentic style in writing. The legacy she left definitely has importance not only for the American literature but also for the literature all over the world.
We hope that the facts provided helped you to learn more about the personality and life of Emily Dickinson. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts Page!