Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson, born on December 10, 1830, was one of the most original and greatest poets of all time. It is evident from her work that she constantly challenged the existing rules of poetry, which she experimented with to break free from conventional restraints. The first volume of Dickinson’s poetry was published in 1890, four years after she passed away. Still, her poetry received acclaim and met stunning success. Today, her poems have gone far beyond their intended household audiences, pulling at the heartstrings of millions around the globe. Today, we are paying tribute to the legendary poet by learning more about her. Let’s begin!

Fast Facts

Full Name:

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

Birth date:

December 10, 1830

Death date:

May 15, 1886 (age 55)

Zodiac Sign:

Sagittarius

Height:

5' 3"

Net Worth:

$2 million

Background

Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S., to an upper-middle-class but prominent family. Her father’s name was Edward Dickinson. He was Amherst College’s trustee and trusted, and worked as a lawyer. He also served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and in its senate. Her paternal grandfather was Samuel Dickinson, who was one of the founding members of the college. Dickinson’s mother was Emily Norcross. The poet has two siblings: an older brother named William Austin and a younger sister, Lavinia Norcross.

Growing up, Dickinson was loved as she was a very well-behaved kid. She had an inclination toward music and was particularly skilled at playing the piano. She completed her primary education at a local school on Pleasant Street. Her father always followed her progress at school, even when away on business trips. However, the poet’s later correspondences indicate that she felt her mother was aloof and cold. In 1840, she was enrolled at Amherst Academy, where she spent seven years studying botany, history, Latin, English, geology, arithmetic, classical literature, and philosophy.

From a young age, she was troubled by death’s “deepening menace,” especially the demise of the people she loved. The poet was especially traumatized when her cousin passed away in 1844. In 1845, she found peace and solace when a religious revival occurred in Amherst. However, death became a recurring theme in her poetry. In 1847, she attended the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary and studied there for 10 months. The reason for her dropping out is unknown, with some sources suggesting that her father wanted Dickinson to stay at home. In the 1850s, melancholic at her home, she began penning down poems and letters, which she shared with friends and confidants. She suffered a stroke and died on June 16, 1874.

Career timeline

1858
The Beginning of Her Career

She starts assembling her manuscript books.

1859
She Shares Her Work

Dickinson begins to share some of her more confidential poems with friends.

1862
A Step Forward

She starts corresponding with Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

1890
Her Work Gets Published

The first volume of her work gets published posthumously.

Why We Love Emily Dickinson

  1. Her repertoire

    Needless to say, Dickinson was a prolific writer. She penned nearly 1,800 poems and numerous letters in her lifetime, most of which never saw the light of publication.

  2. She had a unique style

    She generally wrote in a common meter, comprising four-line stanzas that alternated between iambic trimeter and iambic tetrameter. This meter is often found in hymns, which the poet likely grew up with. As a result, her poems can be sung to the tune of traditional hymns and folk songs, such as ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas.’

  3. Her contribution to literature

    Although her life was cut short, she continues to live in the pages of her writing. During her life, which was full of ups and downs, she penned an extensive collection of poems, which contributed greatly to our understanding of the art.

5 Surprising Facts

  1. Her collection of poems

    After her death, Dickinson’s family discovered handbound volumes of about 1,800 poems!

  2. Her published work

    Only 10 of her poems were published during her lifetime; none were published in her name.

  3. A mystery man in her life

    She had written three romantic letters to a person referred to as “Master;” whose identity is still unknown.

  4. She had a green thumb

    Dickinson loved gardening.

  5. Her favorite flowers

    Heliotrope, orchids, and violets were her favorite flowers.

Emily Dickinson FAQs

What did Emily Dickinson suffer from?

Although it was believed at the time that she passed away due to Bright’s disease, recent research suggests that she might have suffered from hypertension, which resulted in a brain hemorrhage or heart failure.

What was Emily Dickinson’s eye color?

The poet had beautiful brown eyes.

Did Emily Dickinson go blind?

She suffered from aching in her eyes and light sensitivity but did not go blind.

Emily Dickinson’s birthday dates

YearDateDay
2023December 10Sunday
2024December 10Tuesday
2025December 10Wednesday
2026December 10Thursday
2027December 10Friday

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