Emily Dickinson

Girl Canon: 50 Essential Books About the Female Experience

Everyone knows that, statistically at least, girls read more than boys. But the classic, canonical growing-up books, at least in American culture, tend to represent the male experience — I’m thinking On the Road, The Catcher in the Rye, everything ever written by Bret Easton Ellis or Michael Chabon — and while these are great books, suitable for boys or girls, the question remains: where are the books for girls to grow up on? Well, they’re definitely out there, if perhaps assigned less often in schools to readers of both genders. And so I propose a Girl Canon, populated by books not necessarily for girls but which investigate, address, or represent the female experience in some essential… Read More

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30 Best Pop Culture Spinsters

The word “spinster” refers to an unmarried woman, and is most often synonymous with the stereotype of the past-her-prime old maid, a woman who hasn’t made a good match and who’s doomed to live an unfulfilling life. Well, that’s just stereotypes talking, because… hey, what’s wrong with that, exactly? The answer is absolutely nothing. Pop culture has given us some pretty great spinsters (although on average they do fall within a specific, homogenous, moneyed, and white demographic). So here are our 30 favorite writers, artists, and fictional characters who show the freedom that comes from living an unmarried life — female characters who are defined by their wants and desires, and not characterized through the simple scrim of their relationships. … Read More

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50 Essential Literary Biographies

Literary biography is a hugely significant, if often overlooked, enterprise. Today, much of what we know about the authors we admire is filtered through an ocean of online mini-biographies, nearly all of which are copies of copies. The original source of an enormous amount of this information is the literary biography, and in the case of most authors, there are precious few examples of such books. Even exceedingly famous authors are gifted only a handful of quality biographies. With this in mind, I’ve come up with a list of 50 essential literary… Read More

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6 Things You Didn’t Know About Emily Dickinson’s Writing Process

When Emily Dickinson (born on this day in 1830) wrote her thousands of famous poems, she largely intentionally eschewed publication. That means there’s a treasure trove of fascinating information to be gleaned from both her manuscripts and the interpretations and publication of her poem in the ensuing years.

And then there are those dashes. Dickinson’s frequent use of the dash has been interpreted on dozens of symbolic and practical levels. They were musical notes! Pause indicators! Signifiers of female negativity punctuating the male space of the page! … Read More

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10 Famous Poems That Appeared in Film

For decades, Hollywood has looked to the annals of literature for inspiration. Literary adaptations are more popular than ever, but poetry is still largely untapped. Films like Ken Russell’s Gothic and Jane Campion’s Bright Star center on famous poets, and there are some great movies based on poems, but we’re looking at the appearance of poetry in films — instances where characters and narratives are reflected in poetic works, recited in the movies themselves. Here’s a video scrapbook of poetry in movies. Feel free to continue adding to the list with your own video examples, below. … Read More

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10 Creepy and Haunting Poems About Ghosts, Madness, and Fairy Abductions

With Halloween coming up and spookiness in the air, it seemed like a good time to share ten of the most haunting, uncanny, and unsettling poems — that are also the most beautiful. … Read More

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10 Poetic Tributes to Cats

Esteemed American poet T. S. Eliot had a deep love of cats, evidenced in his 1939 collection of humorous poems, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The whimsical work was originally composed to amuse his godchildren and friends, but earned the admiration of feline fanciers the world over (and inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats). And Eliot isn’t the only poet with a fondness for four-legged furballs. We’ve collected ten other poems for pussycats — tributes to their mystique and reflections on their place in our (lesser) human… Read More

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Famous Authors’ Most Dramatic Breakups

Former schoolmates and lifelong besties Charlotte Brontë and Ellen Nussey traded more than 500 letters during their friendship. In 1839, nearly a decade before Brontë’s Jane Eyre was published, Nussey’s brother Henry proposed marriage to the author. She rejected him in a letter, which the website Brain Pickings perfectly describes as “a bold defiance of oppressive gender ideals, packaged as the ultimate it’s-not-you-it’s-me gentle letdown.” Leave it to the wildly creative literary types to pen the best breakup letters. This got us wondering about the most dramatic breakups authors have faced, so we explored the juicy, and sometimes tragic, love lives of writers throughout… Read More

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50 Essential Books of Poetry That Everyone Should Read

It’s National Poetry Month, and you’re probably thinking: “I should really read more poetry. But where oh where do I start?” Well, sound the trumpets, because here is Flavorwire to the rescue! Click through for a list of 50 essential books of poetry that pretty much everyone should read. There’s something for everybody here, from the deeply established canonical works to riveting, important books by newer poets, from the Romantics to the post-modernists, from the goofy to the… Read More

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20 Famous Authors as Dolls

How best to prove your adoration of a particular writer? Make a doll in their likeness, of course. Or if you’re a little less than crafty, buy one. Or, you know, just look at them on the Internet. This last bit you can accomplish right now. Yes, your favorite authors have been immortalized as everything from action figures to wooden works of art to paper dolls to LEGO figurines, and you’ll find 20 of them after the jump. As an added bonus, many of them are buyable, so if you’re still looking to fill your favorite bookish friend’s holiday stocking, look no further. But be prepared for them to think you’re slightly creepy. … Read More

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