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Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson And Her Family's Feuds (2010)

by Lyndall Gordon(Favorite Author)
3.82 of 5 Votes: 4
0670021938 (ISBN13: 9780670021932)
Viking Adult
review 1: An in-depth investigation into Emily Dickinson's family life, and the feud that tore her family apart. Incredibly interesting, and if AMC can make TURN, certainly there's an audience for the complex story of adultery, fraud, and blackmail that make Dickinson's work a weapon by which an ambitious adulteress means to gain the social standing she was denied as a mistress. The idea that someone Emily loathed could get as far as she did on Emily's genius makes me furious. Is it better that her poetry was introduced to the world (edited in a way she would have hated, by a woman she despised), or would it have been better if it had remained out of sight? I know what I would choose for myself, as a poet, but I'm torn that, without Mabel, I might not have ever read Emily's work. A ... morelong read, not difficult but complex, and dense with facts. I would recommend this to people who love Dickinson and aren't shy of diving into a long non-fiction.
review 2: I opened this book knowing very little of Emily Dickinson or her family. My knowledge was that of primary school history: a reclusive poet whose feminine sex, New England residence in late victorian America and the content of her work all contributed to an appreciation that has grown exponentially in the 100+ years since her death. However, I was unaware of the conflict over the ownership of her work that was seeded in the complicated relations of her siblings and is reflective of a contemporary soap opera. There is a mass of information and research, of which much may be true. However, due to my lack of historical understanding of Emily Dickinson's family, I am left to feel that the author is making a case and I do not have enough facts to judge. The book is less about Emily Dickinson than about her family, how her poetry came to be published and how the conflicts between her siblings and her brother's long time mistress shaped the manner in which her poetry was edited, framed and released and how Emily Dickinson as a poet and human being was presented to the public. Interesting, if sometime tediously detailed reading. less
Reviews (see all)
A book that transcends time and space. For Emily Dickinson fans, a must read.
I love the idea of the story but it is long and drawn out and very boring
But I don't want it to end yet....must renew from library stat!
Starting an Emily Dickinson reading binge. Here's the first.
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