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Title: In many and reportless places': Place Identity and Emily Dickinson's America
Authors: 許立欣
Hsu, Li-Hsin
Contributors: 英文系
Keywords: Emily Dickinson;place identity;wilderness;geography;topography;nineteenthcentury studies;American Literature
Date: 2013.10
Issue Date: 2014-01-06 15:40:29 (UTC+8)
Abstract: This paper examines Emily Dickinson’s version of America through her spatial representation of various indeterminate locations. In a number of poems, she negotiates different identities of ‘place’ and ‘space’ through her description of American formlessness. The unaccountable locations and unfixed spatial depictions in her poems correspond with the malleable national boundaries of westward expansion in mid-nineteenth century America. Her persistent poetic investment in several undefined locations suggests her nuanced understanding of and subtle response to the spatial concepts embedded in the national cultural discourses of her time. If (as scholars such as Stephen Fender, Myra Jehlen, and Lawrence Buell have noted) the American West provided antebellum American writers with poetic materials to inscribe personal and national destiny onto the geographical blankness of the unsettled wilderness, Dickinson’s portrayal of the shapeless, the ‘reportless’, and visually opaque places revises the process of inscription by presenting alternative topographies that counterbalance the national vision of expansion and progress.1 Her experimental approach towards, and delineation of, these indeterminate places offers a glimpse of how Dickinson might have been more responsive than has been previously recognised towards the national cultural attempt of her time to cope with the fluctuating boundaries of antebellum America. Like her contemporary writers, the question of location plays a significant role in her poetry, and her probing of American formlessness shows the complex relationship between place, space, and national identity in mid-nineteenth century America.
Relation: Harts & Minds,1(2)
Data Type: article
Appears in Collections:[英國語文學系] 期刊論文

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