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Secular LyricThe Modernization of the Poem in Poe, Whitman, and Dickinson$
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John Michael

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823279715

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823279715.001.0001

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The Poet as Lyric Reader

The Poet as Lyric Reader

(p.157) Chapter 5 The Poet as Lyric Reader
Secular Lyric

John Michael

Fordham University Press

In contrast to the dominate strain in the new lyric studies, this analysis of Dickinson’s relationship to the dominant modes of poetic and sentimental discourse of her era reveals that as a poet, she not only demands but enacts a form of lyric reading, a foregrounding of the ironies and waywardness of language rather than a dependence on its capacity to mean. In this way, Dickinson, for all her apparent piety, enacts the unavailability of naïve belief in a secular age, and, for all her retirement from the world, she manifests the presence and pressure of the modern crowd of readers and the altered place of literature.

Keywords:   crowd, Dickinson, lyric, new lyric studies, secular, theory

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