Benet is at pains to recreate Emily's normal youth when ""hosts"" of young men came ""buzzing around""; however her fawning...

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THE MYSTERY OF EMILY DICKINSON

Benet is at pains to recreate Emily's normal youth when ""hosts"" of young men came ""buzzing around""; however her fawning over the recluse's later eccentricities -- the pure white dresses, the darling notes to her niece and nephew, the ""loving strings"" that bound the Dickinson children to their father -- reaches ludicrous proportions in her description of Emily's interview with her beloved Wadsworth after a twenty year separation when -- according to Benet -- Emily's parting words were ""the frogs are my dogs."" Emily Dickinson's poems are quoted extensively, but chiefly as clues to the identity of the mystery ""Master"" whom Benet believes must have been the married Philadelphian Wadsworth, a sentimental favorite if not the current scholarly one. Needless to say, the research here is leavened with a good deal of supposition, yet this biography's chief drawback must be the neurasthenic prose which will deter lovers of literature and gossip equally.

Pub Date: May 1, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1974