Thesis - Open Access
Bachelor of Arts
In this emphatically skeptical poem, Emily Dickinson squarely connects with one of the central issues of romantic and modern literature: the individual's alienation from the world in which he lives. This ontological separation had its origins in modern thought in the philosophy of Descartes and Hobbes, and was invested with scientific certainty by the revelation of Newtonian physics. Materialism gave way to mechanism, and the universe was reduced to substance and motion; it was emptied of purpose and value, and was thus seen as separate from the vital world of private experience. Inheritors of this world-view, the Romantics turned to the unifying force of the imagination. Through the power of imaginative vision, they sought to heal the breach between subject and object, and find a meaningful connection between man and the universe.
Schindler, Steven R., ""Pianos in the Woods": Emily Dickinson's Imaginative Vision" (1980). Honors Papers. 675.