Mysticism in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson: A Theological Interpretation

Jamal Subhi Nafi', Randa Hashem Abu Hilal, Farah Rasheed Jayousi


This paper is an attempt to analyze the poetry of Miss Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) in order to reveal the extent of mysticism in it, and it focuses on the concept of "theology." Mysticism involves a deep, almost obsessive, concern with such problems as death, the existence of the soul, immortality, the existence of God and heaven, salvation or redemption, etc. The critical approach was used to analyze some of Dickinson’s major poems. A glance at her poetry reveals that it shows an extreme preoccupation with the effect of death and explores various themes such as the nature of the soul, the problem of immortality, the possibility of faith and the reality of God. The researchers also tried to reveal the internal and external influences that shaped Dickinson’s poetry. The paper concluded that the theme of death was inexhaustible for her. If her poetry seldom became “lyrical,” seldom departed from the colorless sobriety of its bare iambics and toneless assonance, it did so most of all when the subject was death. Although Dickinson’s poetry contains some mystical elements, mystical poetry, in the traditional sense, at least, is not her special poetic gift.


Death, Emily Dickinson; heaven; immortality; mysticism; theology.

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