A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century by Jerome Charyn

By Jerome Charyn

“Remarkable perception . . . [a] targeted meditation/investigation. . . . Jerome Charyn the unpredictable, elusive, and enigmatic is a common fit for Emily Dickinson, the quintessence of these." —Joyce Carol Oates, writer of untamed Nights! and The misplaced Landscape

We imagine we all know Emily Dickinson: the Belle of Amherst, virginal, reclusive, and probably mad. yet in A Loaded Gun, Jerome Charyn introduces us to another Emily Dickinson: the fierce, magnificent, and sexually charged poet who wrote:

My existence had stood—a Loaded Gun—
Though I than He— may well longer live
He longer must—than I—
For i've got however the strength to kill,
Without—the energy to die—

Through interviews with modern students, shut readings of Dickinson's correspondence and handwritten manuscripts, and a suggestive, newly came across photo that's alleged to express Dickinson together with her lover, Charyn's literary sleuthing unearths the good poet in ways in which have in basic terms been hinted at formerly: as a lady who used to be deeply philosophical, intensely engaged with the realm, interested in individuals of either sexes, and ready to write poetry that disturbs and delights us today.
Jerome Charyn is the writer of, such a lot lately, sour Bronx: 13 tales, i'm Abraham: a unique of Lincoln and the Civil struggle, and the key lifetime of Emily Dickinson: a singular. He lives in New York.

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It was confusing but I wasn’t at all confused. INT ERV IEW ER So by joining the psychoanalytic profession, you made a choice to go back to the family roots? PHI LLI PS It was certainly being part of something for which I felt a strong afnity, an afnity which was unintelligible to me. I should say it wasn’t only Jewish American writers who felt close to my heart. Reading Emerson was the most thrilling thing for me, for lots of reasons, but one was because it freed me from the wailing wall of Judaism.

Phillips (front row, second from right) with the Clifon College School tetrathlon team, 1970. PHI LLI PS I think it has something to do with it, in the sense that my parents were keen to assimilate. Tey never remotely denied being Jewish, but they did want to be British. Tat was unequivocal. And, they were not religious. I did have a bar mitzvah, but it was for my grandparents. Tat was the story, anyway. So I didn’t grow up in a religious culture, but I did grow up in a very Jewish culture. And when I read Freud, I thought, Freud’s talking about the things they talked about in my family.

Tat’s to say, we’ve all evolved ways of deadening certain feelings and thoughts. One of the reasons we admire or like art, if we do, is that it reopens us in some sense—as Kafa wrote in a letter, art breaks the sea that’s frozen inside us. It reminds us of sensitivities that we might have lost at some cost. Freud gets at this in Beyond the Pleasure Principle. It’s as though one is struggling to be as inert as possible—and struggling against one’s inertia. Another of the early analysts, a Welshman called Ernest Jones, had an idea that, interestingly, sort of disappeared.

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