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Dickinson UnboundPaper, Process, Poetics$
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Alexandra Socarides

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199858088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199858088.001.0001

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Sewing the Fascicles

Sewing the Fascicles

Elegy, Consolation, and the Poetics of Interruption

Chapter:
(p.78) Chapter 3 Sewing the Fascicles
Source:
Dickinson Unbound
Author(s):

Alexandra Socarides

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199858088.003.0003

By taking up Dickinson’s poems about death as they appear in the fascicles, this chapter investigates Dickinson’s interest in revising the conventions of consolation and closure on which the elegiac genre had always depended. This chapter argues that by sewing her fascicle sheets together, Dickinson created a material and formal framework in which her poems could refuse the finality typically associated with the elegy, allowing them the latitude to return over and over to the scene and subject of mourning. Reading these poems in their fascicle context highlights the specific meanings produced by her intervention into the genre so popular with women poets of the time. Indeed, Dickinson’s strategies for writing elegies allows us to situate the convention-embracing and convention-defying acts of her female contemporaries—such as Amelia Welby and Sarah Piatt—as an integral part of the genre’s history.

Keywords:   sewn books, elegy, mourning, consolation, closure, Amelia Welby, Sarah Piatt

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