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Filmmakers Rewrite The Emily Dickinson Story, Not For The First Time

Original daguerreotype of the poet Emily Dickinson, taken in 1847. Photo credit of Amherst College archives and special collections / Public Domain

Original daguerreotype of the poet Emily Dickinson, taken in 1847. Photo credit of Amherst College archives and special collections / Public Domain

More than 130 years after Emily Dickinson’s death, scholars and devotees continue to scrutinize her poetry and rewrite her life story.

Broadway playwrights — and more recently, Hollywood producers — have also given her the treatment. A feature-length film about Dickinson opens this month, the second in less than five years.

The image and words of Emily Dickinson have been floating in a stream of pop culture for decades, most recently on refrigerator magnets and T-shirts. She’s the subject of memes and hashtags.

A few decades ago, the 1976 Broadway play “The Belle of Amherst,” starring Julie Harris, may have helped perpetuate the caricature of Dickinson as a loveless recluse, writing verse behind a closed bedroom door.

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