Cover image for The house without the door : a study of Emily Dickinson and the illness of agoraphobia
Title:
The house without the door : a study of Emily Dickinson and the illness of agoraphobia
Author:
Garbowsky, Maryanne M., 1942-
Publication Information:
Rutherford [N.J.] : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, [1989]

©1989
Physical Description:
189 pages ; 25
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780838633311
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PS1541.Z5 G37 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Reviews 1

Choice Review

A rough count of the lengthy bibliography cited here reveals fewer than 12 of the items have to do with Emily Dickinson, poet. That it is a further development in the 20th-century version of the Higginson "oh why do the insane so cling to you" school of Dickinson criticism is borne out by the preface, contributed by Dickinson's first major psycho-biographer, John Cody (After Great Pain, 1971). Cogently argued and clearly written, this volume makes a well-documented, best possible case for Dickinson as an agoraphobic, but in doing so--like all reductionist readings--it detracts from, at least as much as it contributes to, our understanding of this resolutely complex figure and her richly ambiguous poetry. To take but one example: one of the few aspects of Dickinson's health for which we have any documentation is her apparently serious eye problem, seen here as part of a psychosomatic etiology. For another less psychiatrically oriented commentary on its nature and its impact on the poet's work, see Elizabeth Phillips's Emily Dickinson: Personae and Performance (CH, Mar '89). The debate over this poet's mental condition is not likely to be resolved by a book review--or by a book; for although critical lines continue to be more clearly drawn, the poet herself always manages to escape. Upper-division undergraduates and graduate students interested in Dickinson, the possible sources of her creativity, and the relation of art to neurosis can profitably read this study; they should also be able to read with just a grain of skepticism. -S. R. Graham, Nazareth College of Rochester


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