"Lives Like Loaded Guns...reads like a fabulous detective story...[Gordon] takes us into undiscovered territory." --The Washington Post
In 1882, Emily Dickinson's brother, Austin, began an adulterous love affair with the accomplished and ravishing Mabel Todd, setting in motion a series of events that would forever change the lives of the Dickinson family. Award-winning biographer Lyndall Gordon tells the story of the feud that erupted-and that still continues today. Making unprecedented use of letters, diaries, and legal documents, Gordon proposes a groundbreaking new solution to the secret behind the poet's insistent seclusion, presenting a woman beyond her time who found love, spirituality, and immortality all on her own terms.
The first major biography of Dickinson in nearly ten years, Lives Like Loaded Guns is a highly acclaimed story of creative genius, illicit passion, and betrayal that will forever change the way we view one of America's most important literary figures.
Award-winning biographer Lyndall Gordon, who has previously shed fresh light on the lives of visionaries like Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf, and Charlotte Bronte, presents an enthralling study of Emily Dickinson which offers some compelling and controversial insights into the nature of the poet's lyrical talents and her contentious legacy. According to Gordon, Dickinson's social alienation and stilted verse are likely symptoms of epilepsy, a diagnosis which the author defends with a wealth of evidence culled from both firsthand historical documents from Dickinson's life and literary analysis of her work. Gordon also reveals how an illicit love affair between Dickinson's brother Austin and a younger woman named Mabel Todd ignited a family feud which drastically affected the production and reception of Dickinson's work, which was published almost entirely after her death. Gordon's vivid depiction of the obstinate bonds of the Dickinson family simultaneously informs and subverts the simplistic image of Dickinson as a gifted and privileged recluse who hid from the world behind her poetry.
- Biography + Autobiography
- Women, Literary
- May 31, 2011
- May 31, 2011
- Lyndall Gordon