Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, the daughterof a lawyer. She was educated at Amherst Academy (1834-47) and MountHolyoake (1847-8). In her early years she appears to have been a bright andsociable young scholar, but in her twenties she began to withdraw from theoutside world. By her forties she had become a complete recluse, refusing toleave her house and shunning all contact with strangers. A mystic byinclination, she wrote much in secret, producing over two thousand poems,only seven of which are known to have been published in her lifetime.Her personal life remains something of a mystery although there is thepossibility that her seclusion might have been prompted by a failed loveaffair. Her work certainly reflects a deep inner struggle spanning many yearsand her verse is full of powerful allusions to storms, volcanic eruptions andimprisonment.