Dickinson’s “Sets” and the Rejection of Sequence

Alexandra Socarides

in Dickinson Unbound

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199858088
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950300 | DOI:
Dickinson’s “Sets” and the Rejection of Sequence

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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By looking closely at “I felt a Cleaving in my Mind –” and a variety of manuscripts to which it is related, this chapter analyzes Dickinson’s strategies for drafting poems during the years after she stopped sewing together sheets and instead allowed them to scatter. In doing so, this chapter reveals that a certain dependence on the temporal and spatial elements of sequence had been, albeit in deeply conflicted ways, built into the fascicle project from the very beginning. As opposed to most critics who highlight the fascicle years as Dickinson’s most successful, the author argues that it is when Dickinson recognizes the limitations of this project—a realization that becomes manifest in the materials of this period—that she is able to produce some of her greatest poems.

Keywords: loose sheets; sequence; spatial elements; fascicle project

Chapter.  11573 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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