Finite Infinity: Paradox in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry

The American poetess Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) lost faith in God and eternal (revealed) truth when she was in her teens. This compelled her to find truth and meaning for herself, which she did in her poetry. For Dickinson poetry is the expression of thought (rather than feeling). She pushes thought to the extreme and to the conflicting consequences she presents in her poems. Sometimes she deliberately goes beyond the limits of thought (‘I heard a Fly buzz – when I died’). Especially In the poems where she handles the themes most important to her (God, religion, death, loneliness, but also her own position as a poet) we find the inconsistencies approaching logical paradoxes. But still they are all possibilities.

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