In the Name of the Bee: The Significance of Emily Dickinson

In the Name of the Bee: The Significance of Emily Dickinson

In the Name of the Bee: The Significance of Emily Dickinson

In the Name of the Bee: The Significance of Emily Dickinson

Excerpt

EMILY DICKINSON read her New Testament and her à Kempis, but it is very doubtful that she had access, in Congregational and Trinitarian Amherst, to the patristic treasures of the ancient Church. Yet the Latin and Greek of Migne's Patrology is suffused with an imagery that hers resembles. She abandoned the cold church of her girlhood to preserve her faith, but never got beyond the garden, or the lawn, across the way, that connected her home with the house of "Sister Sue." There was nothing much in "transcendental" New England that she could get to, and, unlike Alice Meynell, she had no Father Gallwey. So she stayed there in her garden, Eden and Gethsemane by turns, and found for herself the analogies and the symbols, the simple news that nature told, the "outward signs" so well recognized by the Fathers of the Church.

She would not have got on with Miss Margaret Fuller of Boston or with Miss Elizabeth Peabody, who said, when she walked into a tree and bruised her nose, "I saw it, but I did not realize it." Hroswitha she would have liked, Teresa of Avila (like herself a note scribbler and nature-decoder), Bernard ("the bee") Caedmon (and how many others?), had they been represented in her father's library. In her personal life she was a Protestant who had ceased to protest: her . . .

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