“Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
‘T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur, — you’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.’
– Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson is one of America’s best poets, in my opinion. I don’t know what the literary ‘authorities’ in today’s academia think of her poetry, but I don’t really care, as most of the opinions of that crowd are 180 degrees off from reality.
Emily Dickinson shares our heritage; she came from a colonial stock family, with roots in England. I’m not very fond of the acronym ‘WASP’ but she was an Anglo-Saxon Protestant — as were many of our best-known literary figures. Except for those who love old poetry, it seems that we often forget some of these writers and poets who are descendants of our colonial forebears, and usually descendants of the old Puritans as well.
Times change, and people demand novelty — and then those students who used to become familiar with the works of those old New England poets and writers are instead being subjected to the ‘poetry’ of grievance and guilt.
As a side note, it is interesting that so many young people are very familiar with H.P. Lovecraft, who was very much a product of New England, and whose popularity has grown considerably since his untimely death in the late 1940s.
Still, though, Lovecraft has been ‘un-personned’ by Sci-fi and gaming officialdom because he is considered, in Emily Dickinson’s own words above, to be ”dangerous.”
All sorts of criticisms have been directed at Puritans and their descendants, but say what they will, the critics can’t deny that New England has produced many gifted writers and poets.