Music is a vital element in the poems and prose of Emily Dickinson but, despite its importance, the function of music as a literary technique in her work has not yet been fully explored; what information exists is scarce and scattered. The significance of the musical terminology and imagery in Dickinson's poetry and prose are thoroughly explored in this book. It considers the music of Dickinson's life and times and how it influenced her writing, how she combined music and poetry to create her own style, several important nineteenth century reviews for what they reveal about the musical quality of her work, and her use of Protestant hymns as a model for her poetry. It also provides insights into musical interpretations of her poetry as related to the author by some fifty modern-day composers and arrangers, and discusses musical reflections of her poems and letters.
Carolyn Lindley Cooley has taught literature at the middle school, high school, and university levels, and is currently lecturing on Emily Dickinson's poetry to civic, social, and academic audiences. She lives in Tampa, Florida.