Emily Dickinson remains an enigma ... a recluse who wrote over 1000 poems, of which only a scant few were published in her lifetime. However, as biographer Lyndall Gordon writes, beneath the still surface of the poet's life lay a fiercely passionate nature and a closely guarded secret. She lived her life "in her father's house', writing the poems that were to embroil both herself and her family in feuds and disputes over their publication. Her intensity, spoken of by her mentor Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who only met her face-to-face twice is particularly revealing when he said he had never encountered anyone 'who drained my nerve power so much'.




'There are those

who are shallow


and only




Pencilled text fragment from The Gorgeous Nothings, reproduced on pages 159 and 250.

Library Resources


Poetry by Dickinson

Biography and studies of Emily Dickinson

Collection highlights

Additional resources on our shelves:

  • Emily Dickinson: The Gorgeous nothings. These pocket-size papers, reproduced in this beautiful book were discovered in the Amherst College Library. Written on the backs of, and scraps of envelopes and letters they contain sentences, stanzas and entire roughed-out poems in Dickinson's own hand. They were probably carried in the pocket of one of her famous white dresses, from which they could be pulled-out quickly when inspiration came to her. Read a review by Holland Cotter, from The New York Times, 5 December, 2013. A poet who pushed (and recycled) the envelope.
  • For images of the poet's house and her only surviving white dress refer to Anne Leibovitz: Pilgrimage with an introduction by Doris Kearns Goodwin, pages 16-27.


eReserve Poems

eReserve Articles

  • Emily Dickinson by Allen Tate, in Interpretations of American literature, edited by Charles Feidelson, Jr. and Paul Brodtkorb, Jr. Oxford University Press, 1959, pp. 197-211.

Online resources

Online reference

Databases (Subscription)

  • eLibrary - General author/title search


Study notes

On our shelves:

Online Study Notes

Web Resources

  • Emily Dickinson Collection at Harvard. Includes a talk (65 minutes) by Professor Helen Vendler, Emily Dickinson and the Sublime'. Introducted by Leslie Morris, of the Houghton Library.