Academic journal article The Hymn

Emily Dickinson and Hymn Culture: Tradition and Experience

Academic journal article The Hymn

Emily Dickinson and Hymn Culture: Tradition and Experience

Article excerpt

Emily Dickinson and Hymn Culture: Tradition and Experience by Victoria N. Morgan. Surrey, England, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010. $99.95.

Those interested in close readings of texts and the cross-fertilization of hymnody and poetry, of spirituality and dissent, will find this study of interest. Moran teaches English and American literature at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom. Many of us in The Hymn Society will be stretched by her fluidity of boundaries between the genres of hymn and poem, but her premise - that Dickinson took her knowledge of the hymns of Isaac Watts, Phoebe Hinsdale Brown, and Eliza Lee Folien to fashion her own dissenting space for writing about spiritual matters - is both fascinating and instructive.

Morgan takes her cue about the connection between Dickinson and hymns from a letter written in 1880 where Dickinson calls her poems, perhaps ironically, "hymns." Morgan stresses that Watts, in addition to being the most published hymnwriter in Dickinson's day, shaped the hymn for congregational singing and devotional formation, working within an "I-Thou" relationship while dissenting from the state church and its theology. Morgan discusses Dickinson's parodies of Watts and their similarities regarding lowering their linguistic register for broad usage and appeal.

As J. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.