Despite recent films about Dickinson (A Quiet Passion, 2017 and Wild Nights with Emily, 2018) that counteract the myth of the quaint recluse removed from the world, it still seems important to ground the poet in her time and place and suggest her engagement with contemporary events.
To do so, each weekly blog offers several sets of related materials: what was happening in the wider world, nationally and internationally, in the local world of Amherst and the Dickinson family, and what was afoot in the literary worlds of her moment. These materials are not meant to be definitive or restrictive but suggestive and opening. We cannot know whether Dickinson read about or engaged in debates about current affairs, but they were in the air she breathed, perhaps on the lips of her family members and in the minds of her growing circle of correspondents. They formed part of the networks of sociability in which she moved and created.