THE RIDDLE OF EMILY DICKENSIAN by Rebecca Patterson

THE RIDDLE OF EMILY DICKENSIAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An extensive, elaborate speculation on the life of Emily Dickinson and the emotional derivation of the poems which attempts to establish the identity of the one who motivated her poetry of love, and its betrayal, as Kate Scott Anthon, who was also the intimate friend of Susan Dickinson, her sister-in-law. With an impressive investigation, and re-interpretation of the poems, Mrs. Patterson pursues her thesis, fills in the background of Emily's intense attachment to Kate Anthon and the abrupt separation which tallied- in time- with Emily's withdrawal from the world; explains the reticences of the Dickinson family- and the deliberate inventions of Martha Dickinson Bianchi; uses some of the poems and a few significant letters to establish her evidence; and follows through on Kate Anthon's later years, after the death of Emily, and her relationship with another woman in major detail....The acceptance, or rejection, of a theory such as this demands a scholar's knowledge; on the face of it however, Mrs. Patterson, insistent as she is, relies on some insubstantial surmise. Emily Dickinson's seclusion may still remain inviolate.

Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin