December 28, 2003

Viva the serendipitous Sunday reads. Started out with Sixpence House, because it is a library book and library books tick with temporality. The author, Paul Collins, commented piquantly on Emily Dickinson, which led me to Untermeyer's Lives of Poets, which led me to this interesting quote (though, perhaps because I'm no mystic, I don't understand the last line):
There is an embarrassing affectation, a willful naivete in many of [her] poems, as though the mature person were determined to remain not only a child but a spoiled child. At times she conceived herself as the supremest sufferer; she calls herself "Queen of Calvary" and "Empress of Calvary"...Born in the same year as Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson would have outraged her English contemporary; Christina Rossetti would have found her style incomprehensible, her spirit incredible. Here was a woman, presumably Christian, who not only questioned her God but dared tease, berate, rally, and fling herself upon Him in a burst of petulance. Yet it was the wayward Emily Dickinson rather than the worshipful Christina Rossetti who was the true mystic. One, with meek gratitude, returned to God all she had dutifully learned about Him; the other, less submissive, gave Him back a conception of Himself that was a unique creation.

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