This essay was originally published in Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations, Volume 10.
Essay Topics and Keywords
Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Wordsworth, Late Romanticism, the poetry of Aftermath.
An extract from this essay
In sum, Dickinson's poetry of aftermath does more than merely illustrate the post-experiential perspective of her pre-Modern mode and the anti-experiential bias of her Postmodern intimations. In addition, if only for a glimmering moment, this strain of her art reactivates, like her Late-Romantic imagination as a whole, the natural/spiritual dialectic of Anglo-American Romanticism. Her experience of post-experience, illustrating among other things the ongoing role of friendship and of love in her “internalized quest romance,” turns straw into gold, as well as loss into gain. This post-experiential perspective turns out consonant with my against-the-mainstream characterization of Dickinson's art as “the poetry of experience.” Her concept of aftermath, besides equating to “disastrous consequences,” entails “outcome,” auguring, thereby, “further harvest.”
About the author
Richard Brantley is author of numerous studies of Romanticism, including the deeply authoritative Experience and Faith: The Late-Romantic Imagination of Emily Dickinson (2004)