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The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson

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The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson Cover

ISBN13: 9780393068566
ISBN10: 0393068560
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

What if the old maid of Amherst wasn't an old maid at all? Her older brother, Austin, spoke of Emily as his wild sister. Jerome Charyn, continuing his exploration of American history through fiction, has written a startling novel about Emily Dickinson in her own voice, with all its characteristic modulations that he learned from her letters and poems. The poet dons a hundred veils, alternately playing wounded lover, penitent, and female devil. We meet the significant characters of her life, including her tempestuous sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert; her brooding father, Edward; and the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, who may have inspired some of her greatest letters and poems. Charyn has also invented characters, including an impoverished fellow student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, who will betray her; and a handyman named Tom, who will obsess Emily throughout her life. Charyn has written an extraordinary adventure that will disturb and delight.

Review:

"Versatile and puckish Charyn extends his rascally improvisations on American history....In this brilliant and hilarious jailbreak of a novel, Charyn channels the genius poet and her great leaps of the imagination, liberating Dickinson from the prim and proper cameo image of a repressed lady in white, and revealing just how free she truly was." Booklist (starred review)

Review:

"Its strength is in the way Charyn immerses himself in Dickinson's voice, using it to create a beguiling narrative." Library Journal

Review:

"Charyn has a perfect ear for Dickinson's ironic wit, her wicked characterizations of friends and enemies..." Ron Charles, The Washington Post

Synopsis:

Charyn pens an astonishing novel that removes Emily Dickinson's mysterious mask and reveals the passions and heartbreak of America's greatest poet.

Synopsis:

"In this brilliant and hilarious jailbreak of a novel, Charyn channels the genius poet and her great leaps of the imagination."—Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review

Synopsis:

"There's nothing quite like a Charyn novel. . . . His sentences make a mournful and sensational clatter, like a bundle of butcher knives dropped on a cathedral floor." --Jonathan Yardley,

Synopsis:

"Jerome Charyn is one of the most important writers in American literature." --Michael Chabon " is astonishing. Charyn gives Emily Dickinson a new life, and one with a rush of energy and power. I shall never see her or her poetry in the same way again." --Frederic Tuten, author of Adventures of "I never heard Emily Dickinson's voice, but Jerome Charyn's novel convinces me that this is the nineteenth-century genius woman poet, actually telling her story. . . . A tour de force by a major American novelist." --Herbert Gold, author of "In his breathtaking high-wire act of ventriloquism, Jerome Charyn pulls off the nearly impossible: in he imagines an Emily Dickinson of mischievousness, brilliance, desire, and wit (all which she possessed) and then boldly sets her amid a throng of historical, fictional, and surprising characters just as hard to forget as she is. This is a bold book, but we'd expect no less of this amazing novelist." --Brenda Wineapple, author of "Jerome Charyn is merely one of our finest writers, with a polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing. Whatever milieu he chooses to inhabit, his characters sizzle with life and his sentences are pure vernacular music, his voice unmistakable." --Jonathan Lethem, author of "Charyn, like Nabokov, is that most fiendish sort of writer--so seductive as to beg imitation, so singular as to make imitation impossible." --Tom Bissell, author of "Charyn skillfully breathes life into historical icons."-- "Deserves to be spoken about in the same breath as ." --, about

Synopsis:

Jerome Charyn has been writing some of the most bold and adventurous American fiction for over forty years. His ten-book cycle of novels about madcap New York mayor and police commissioner Isaac Sidel inspired a new generation of younger writers in America and France, where he is a national literary icon. Now, adding to his already distinguished career, Charyn gives us , an audacious novel about the inner imaginative world of America's greatest poet. Channeling the devilish rhythms and ghosts of a seemingly buried literary past, Charyn has removed the mysterious veils that have long enshrouded Dickinson, revealing her passions, inner turmoil, and powerful sexuality. The story begins in the snow. It's 1848, and Emily is a student at Mount Holyoke, with its mournful headmistress and strict, strict rules. She sees the seminary's blond handyman rescue a baby deer from a mountain of snow, in a lyrical act of liberation that will remain with her for the rest of her life. The novel revivifies such historical figures as Emily's brother, Austin, with his crown of red hair; her sister-in-law, Sue; a rival and very best friend, Emily's little sister, Lavinia, with her vicious army of cats; and especially her father, Edward Dickinson, a controlling congressman. Charyn effortlessly blends these very factual characters with a few fictional ones, creating a dramatis personae of dynamic breadth. Inspired by her letters and poetry, Charyn has captured the occasionally comic, always fevered, ultimately tragic story of Dickinson's journey from Holyoke seminarian to dying recluse, compulsively scribbling lines of genius in her Amherst bedroom. Rarely before has the nineteenth-century world of New England--its religious stranglehold, its barbaric insane asylums, its circus carnivals--been captured in such spectacular depth. Through its lyrical inflections and poetic rhythms, its invention of a distinct, twenty-first-century "Charynesque" language that pays remarkable homage to America's sovereign literary past, provides a resonance of such power as to make this an indelible work of literature in its own right.

About the Author

Jerome Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and has received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His novels include Johnny One-Eye and The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson. He lives in Paris and New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Secret Life of Emily Dickinson on Facebook, September 3, 2011 (view all comments by Secret Life of Emily Dickinson on Facebook)
So glad you re-posted this. I invite all readers to our Facebook community dedicated to Emily Dickinson in the 21st Century - facebook: http://on.fb.me/EmilyFacebook
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393068566
Author:
Charyn, Jerome
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
Biographical
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
Dickinson, Emily
Subject:
General-General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20100231
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
9 illustrations
Pages:
348
Dimensions:
9.6 x 6.7 x 1.2 in 1.425 lb

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Related Subjects

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Biographical

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.50 In Stock
Product details 348 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393068566 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Versatile and puckish Charyn extends his rascally improvisations on American history....In this brilliant and hilarious jailbreak of a novel, Charyn channels the genius poet and her great leaps of the imagination, liberating Dickinson from the prim and proper cameo image of a repressed lady in white, and revealing just how free she truly was."
"Review" by , "Its strength is in the way Charyn immerses himself in Dickinson's voice, using it to create a beguiling narrative."
"Review" by , "Charyn has a perfect ear for Dickinson's ironic wit, her wicked characterizations of friends and enemies..."
"Synopsis" by , Charyn pens an astonishing novel that removes Emily Dickinson's mysterious mask and reveals the passions and heartbreak of America's greatest poet.
"Synopsis" by , "In this brilliant and hilarious jailbreak of a novel, Charyn channels the genius poet and her great leaps of the imagination."—Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review
"Synopsis" by , "There's nothing quite like a Charyn novel. . . . His sentences make a mournful and sensational clatter, like a bundle of butcher knives dropped on a cathedral floor." --Jonathan Yardley,
"Synopsis" by , "Jerome Charyn is one of the most important writers in American literature." --Michael Chabon " is astonishing. Charyn gives Emily Dickinson a new life, and one with a rush of energy and power. I shall never see her or her poetry in the same way again." --Frederic Tuten, author of Adventures of "I never heard Emily Dickinson's voice, but Jerome Charyn's novel convinces me that this is the nineteenth-century genius woman poet, actually telling her story. . . . A tour de force by a major American novelist." --Herbert Gold, author of "In his breathtaking high-wire act of ventriloquism, Jerome Charyn pulls off the nearly impossible: in he imagines an Emily Dickinson of mischievousness, brilliance, desire, and wit (all which she possessed) and then boldly sets her amid a throng of historical, fictional, and surprising characters just as hard to forget as she is. This is a bold book, but we'd expect no less of this amazing novelist." --Brenda Wineapple, author of "Jerome Charyn is merely one of our finest writers, with a polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing. Whatever milieu he chooses to inhabit, his characters sizzle with life and his sentences are pure vernacular music, his voice unmistakable." --Jonathan Lethem, author of "Charyn, like Nabokov, is that most fiendish sort of writer--so seductive as to beg imitation, so singular as to make imitation impossible." --Tom Bissell, author of "Charyn skillfully breathes life into historical icons."-- "Deserves to be spoken about in the same breath as ." --, about
"Synopsis" by , Jerome Charyn has been writing some of the most bold and adventurous American fiction for over forty years. His ten-book cycle of novels about madcap New York mayor and police commissioner Isaac Sidel inspired a new generation of younger writers in America and France, where he is a national literary icon. Now, adding to his already distinguished career, Charyn gives us , an audacious novel about the inner imaginative world of America's greatest poet. Channeling the devilish rhythms and ghosts of a seemingly buried literary past, Charyn has removed the mysterious veils that have long enshrouded Dickinson, revealing her passions, inner turmoil, and powerful sexuality. The story begins in the snow. It's 1848, and Emily is a student at Mount Holyoke, with its mournful headmistress and strict, strict rules. She sees the seminary's blond handyman rescue a baby deer from a mountain of snow, in a lyrical act of liberation that will remain with her for the rest of her life. The novel revivifies such historical figures as Emily's brother, Austin, with his crown of red hair; her sister-in-law, Sue; a rival and very best friend, Emily's little sister, Lavinia, with her vicious army of cats; and especially her father, Edward Dickinson, a controlling congressman. Charyn effortlessly blends these very factual characters with a few fictional ones, creating a dramatis personae of dynamic breadth. Inspired by her letters and poetry, Charyn has captured the occasionally comic, always fevered, ultimately tragic story of Dickinson's journey from Holyoke seminarian to dying recluse, compulsively scribbling lines of genius in her Amherst bedroom. Rarely before has the nineteenth-century world of New England--its religious stranglehold, its barbaric insane asylums, its circus carnivals--been captured in such spectacular depth. Through its lyrical inflections and poetic rhythms, its invention of a distinct, twenty-first-century "Charynesque" language that pays remarkable homage to America's sovereign literary past, provides a resonance of such power as to make this an indelible work of literature in its own right.
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