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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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Dickinson’s Dog and the Conclusion

Dickinson’s Dog and the Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.178) Chapter 6 Dickinson’s Dog and the Conclusion
Source:
Secular Lyric
Author(s):

John Michael

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823279715.003.0007

As a way of capturing the continuing strangeness of Dickinson’s poetic practice and her revolutionary relationship to dominant modes of discourse in her time and ours, this chapter explores the relationship of her poetry to romantic theories of fragmentation and to Freud’s notion of the shaggy dog story, a form of Witz that exists primarily to lead its reader astray and to which the only response is the enjoyment of passing the story on. In this way, Dickinson comes close to the limits of what lyric can do with language at the limit of signification and assumes a prominent place as a modern secular poet.

Keywords:   Dickinson, fragmentation, Freud, language, lyric, poetic, Sappho, theory, Witz

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