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Bob Holman & Margery Snyder

The Scientist in Emily Dickinson

By September 30, 2010

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Poets have always written about the natural world, but “the poet” and “the scientist” have become opposing stereotypes in our culture, and the habits of mind we assign to each are vastly different. But in the 19th century, before “natural history” evolved into the modern sciences and before our society underwent the upheaval of the Industrial Revolution, there would not be such a great difference between the observations of a “natural philosopher” and a poet. Think of Wordsworth rambling in the Lake District hills, writing poems like “Tintern Abbey”... so it does not seem unnatural that the concerns of a Victorian poet like Emily Dickinson would be considered scientific.

from The Boston Herald:
“Poet Emily Dickinson Subject of New Film”
“A new documentary explores the scientific side of the famed 19th century poet Emily Dickinson. The Emily Dickinson Museum says the one-hour film Seeing New Englandly.... features a number of poems and passages that reflect Dickinson’s fascination with the natural world, including subjects such as the Northern Lights, volcanic eruptions and unusual New England weather.” This film is the second part of a trilogy, Angles of a Landscape: Perspectives on Emily Dickinson, being produced by Ernest Urvater in cooperation with the Emily Dickinson Museum. Urvater has posted excerpts from the opening sequences of all three films at his Sawmill River Productions site:

More on Emily Dickinson:
Biographical Profile of American Icon/“Belle of Amherst” Dickinson
Our Library: Poems by Emily Dickinson
Circling Back to Emily Dickinson” (July 2013)
Emily’s Pearls Still Shine in the 21st Century” (2008)
What Would Emily Say? An Indeath Interview,” by Robyn Sue Millerz (2003)
Emily Dickinson: Continuing Enigma,” by Jone Johnson Lewis


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