Jerome Charyn | A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century | Bellevue Literary Press | March 2016 | 24 minutes (6,471 words)

Below is an excerpt from A Loaded Gun, by Jerome Charyn, who writes that Emily Dickinson was not just “one more madwoman in the attic,” but rather a messianic modernist, a performance artist, a seductress, and “a woman maddened with rage—against a culture that had no place for a woman with her own fiercely independent mind and will.” This story is recommended by Longreads contributing editor Dana Snitzky

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I am, with all the world, intensely interested in Emily Dickinson.

Commentaries on her poems began 125 years ago, when Colonel Higginson’s little article, “An Open Portfolio,” appeared in The Christian Union on September 25, 1890, two months before Dickinson’s first batch of poems was published by Roberts Brothers of Boston. It was meant to…

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