Emily Dickinson and the sublime: A talk by Professor Helen Vendler

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The conventional definition of the sublime – that which is too large and overwhelming to be accommodated within our restricted consciousness – is one that Emily Dickinson fiercely defied. In Dickinson’s view, the mental sublime, rather than being intimidated by the natural sublime, surpasses it, said Helen Vendler, A. Kingsley Porter University Professor, in a recent lecture to a packed house at Harvard’s Houghton Library, which holds an internationally renowned Emily Dickinson collection.

The lecture was co-sponsored by Houghton Library, the Woodberry Poetry Room, and the Harvard University Press, publisher of Vendler’s latest book, the critically-acclaimed Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentary.

An audio podcast of the complete lecture is available on Houghton Library’s Emily Dickinson page.