Emily Dickinson is considered one of the most famous and well-known poets of all time. There are many pieces of information about her life and works that are not as well-known but can still be interesting to learn about. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Emily Dickinson.
1) She was over 100 pounds
If you read her poems you can see that she was very thin. She was actually over 100 pounds and had to wear tight corsets all day long to be as small as she was.
2) She was very intelligent
She could read in four languages by age 10 and become fluent in French and Italian as well. She was also enrolled at Amherst Academy where she excelled in her studies but left after her sophomore year when she refused to take religious instruction.
3) She was very religious
One thing that most people don’t know about Emily Dickinson is that she was very religious. One only has to read some of her poems such as The soul selects her own society, to realize that she ascribed the human experience of life primarily to spiritual causes.
4) Her family considered her insane
The family of Emily Dickenson considered her to be insane. Some may even say she was eccentric. She loved to play games with friends and she would spell words backwards in letters that she wrote to them. Her family didn’t understand these behaviours, which may have contributed to their opinion that she was insane.
5) She wasn’t married until she was 38 years old
Emily’s lack of interest in marriage stemmed from her unshakable sense of self. She felt that by devoting herself to intellectual pursuits and poetry, she was fulfilling all her duties as an individual.
6) She died at age 55 from cancer
Many of Dickinson’s poems, like Because I could not stop for Death and He put her on a golden throne, are thought to be allegories about life and death. Her poems can seem cryptic, but she found new ways to approach traditional themes in 19th-century poetry such as love, nature, immortality, ageing and isolation.
7) Her poems were published after her death
Emily Dickinson’s poems were only published after her death. While she submitted many of her writings to different magazines and publications, none accepted them at that time. The first publication of some of her poetry was in 1890 after an editor was tipped off by the poet’s friend, Mabel Loomis Todd, about their existence.
8) She had epilepsy.
Emily Dickinson is known for her creativity and intellect. It’s not surprising that she was also one of America’s first recorded cases of epilepsy. She had seizures throughout her life and went through periods of frequent ones, but they did not seem to hinder her productivity. The most significant seizure happened in 1891 at age 55, which she refers to as brain fever.
9) People love the color red because of her.
Emily Dickinson is often quoted as one of America’s most famous poets, but did you know she was also an excellent painter? She used to love painting in bright colors such as red and pink, probably because these colors were her favorite.