Disentangling Emily Dickinson’s Riddles and Encoded Voices in “My Life Had Stood—a Loaded Gun” and “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed”
AbstractOver the last few decades, Emily Dickinson’s life and poetry have attracted a great deal of attention in the form of biographies and a myriad of literary criticism. Although I have gone through only a moderate amount of this immense academic corpus, it seems clear that a great number of scholars continue to read her poems as mainly autobiographical. In this essay, through an analysis of “My Life Had Stood—a Loaded Gun” and “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed” I attempt to demonstrate that Dickinson’s poetry is not the product of a self-centered personality, but of contemplation, imagination, and careful artistry.
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