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Lives Like Loaded Guns Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds by Lyndall Gordon

Lives Like Loaded Guns Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds


Lives Like Loaded Guns Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds by Lyndall Gordon

Emily Dickinson is regarded as one of the greatest poets of all time, but she has come to us as an odd and helpless woman living a life of self imposed seclusion. Lyndall Gordon sees instead a volcanic character living on her own terms and with a steely confidence in her own talent; a woman whose family feuded over a hothouse of adultery and devastating betrayal and a woman who had her own secret. After her death the fight for possession of Emily and her poetry became the feud's focus.'Lives Like Loaded Guns has cracked one of poetry's most enduring enigmas . . . It rescues Dickinson from the image of the passive, heart-broken recluse. It is a worthy monument to a poet even more extraordinary than we realised' Olivia Cole, Financial TimesFrom the acclaimed biographer of Mary Wollstonecraft, T.S. Eliot, Charlotte Bronte, Virginia Woolf and Henry James.


Lives Like Loaded Guns. ..reads like a fabulous detective story, replete with hidden treasure, diabolical adversaries and a curse from one generation to the next...Gordon is fair to all...revealing their strengths and liabilities, and she corrects some of the inconsistencies of earlier biographies... Abyss has no biographer, Dickinson warned future readers. But Gordon is not frightened of the pits and traps and the thousand masks that Emily wears. She takes us into undiscovered territory.

- The Washington Post

Fascinating...[Gordon] shatters the Dickinson myth, revealing for the first time the twisted tale of how Dickinson came to be revered as a harmless homebody shut off from live to suffer and contemplate a disappointment in love... .Brilliant literary detective work...Uncovering the mystery of why the mischievous, sensible creature who emerges from this biography hid from the world is where Gordon hits her stride...Gordon catches the poet's essence, allowing u

About the Author

Lyndall Gordon is the prizewinning author of biographies including CHARLOTTE BRONTE, VIRGINIA WOOLF, SHARED LIVES and MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT. Born and raised in South Africa, Lyndall is a fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th April 2011


Lyndall Gordon

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Virago Press Ltd an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


512 pages


Biography: literary



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