Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up--In this arrestingly redesigned reissue of the authors' 1998 biography that features new research and insight into the reclusive and elusive 19th-century poet, Emily Dickinson is presented as a passionate, and possibly queer, writer. The work is organized sequentially and the chapter openings include quotations from Dickinson's letters and verses. Background on the time period, her family history, and her relationships are included as interstitial sidebars to give students a better understanding of the world that the poet lived in. Her poetry is featured often, and reproductions of her letters are scattered throughout. Dommermuth-Costa and Landsverk's research on the nonreligious, nature-loving, and doting daughter is revelatory; their back matter is impeccable; and the fascinating portrait they paint of the often misunderstood author is mesmerizing. Coral, black, and white factor heavily in the dynamic design, making this an attractive volume for potential researchers. The authors serve as mythbusters, addressing Dickinson's mental health issues, unrequited love, the famous white dress, and her contentious relationship with her father. Dickinson was ahead of her time, and her individuality, feminism, and relationships with both men and women will draw in readers. VERDICT An excellent biography for all YA collections.--Shelley M. Diaz
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Emily Dickinson was unequivocally a literary icon of the 19th century. But who was she really? Her poetry is world-renowned, yet she remains in many ways a mystery. Dickinson was born in 1830 and spent most of her life in Amherst, Massachusetts. She was a keen reader (something which was looked down upon by her overbearing father), a talented letter writer, and, of course, a brilliant poet who defied the verse forms of her time. Dickinson also made unique use of capitalization, spelling, and punctuation, even going so far as to create new punctuation marks, challenging publishers who print her work. Coupled with her difficult-to-decipher handwriting, Dickinson's writing style has led to much speculation as to her intent. Since her death in 1886, scholars have tried endlessly to interpret her vast body of work; this beautifully designed and visually attractive volume delves into various interpretations, including queer and feminist analyses. Today, Dickinson is most famous for being a reclusive poet, but this biography mines what little information we're privy to, giving readers a more complete image of her life. While relatively short, the accessible but detailed narrative containing excerpts of her writing provides a great overview of many historians' theories and is a perfect stand-alone text for casual readers or an excellent jumping-off point for aspiring Dickinson-ian scholars. A brief yet thorough glimpse into the life of one of the world's most famous poets. (fact or fiction, endnotes, selected bibliography, further reading, index, photo credits) (Biography. 12-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.