The Life and Letters of Emily Dickinson

By Martha Dickinson Bianchi; Emily Dickinson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
CHILDHOOD

EMILY NORCROSS DICKINSON, named for her mother, was born December 11, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the old house said to have been the first erected of brick in Amherst.

Her brother Austin and her younger sister Lavinia were the other children of the home, both possessed of marked ability and varied temperament.

Austin grew up to manhood with much of Emily's poetic quality, fiercely suppressed -- a lover of trees and beauty, one with Nature -- like her, a hero-worshipper, a partisan, and a lover of all the rare and noble books whose faded brown Ticknor and Fields first editions still stand in deserted ranks on the bookshelves of his own library in his former home at Amherst. He graduated from Amherst College in 1850, and in 1854 from the Harvard Law School, and was admitted to the Hampshire County Bar. When he was about to leave Amherst to accept a legal partnership in Detroit, his father, overcome by the impending separation, offered to build him a home if he would remain. So all the adventurous hopes were stifled, and immediately upon his marriage he took up the practice of law as his father's partner in the old office, since burned, which held many treasures of local history as well as a remarkably fine law library consulted far and wide throughout the region.

His marriage to the "Sister Sue" of Emily's lifelong adoration brought an outside element into the family,

-12-

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The Life and Letters of Emily Dickinson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xiii
  • Part I - The Life of Emily Dickinson 1
  • Chapter I - Ancestry *
  • Chapter II - Childhood 12
  • Chapter III - School Days 22
  • Chapter IV - Social Life at Amherst Seventy Years Ago 1848--1853-54 33
  • Chapter V - The End of Peace 1853-55 43
  • Chapter VI - A Hedge Away 1856-62 52
  • Chapter VII - Later Years with Friends and Books 66
  • Chapter VIII - Her Religion 88
  • Part II - Letters of Emily Dickinson 1845-1886 107
  • Index 383
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