The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson

TUE, MAR 9, 2010 (36:09)

Novelist and Finalist for the 2005 PEN/Faulkner Award Jerome Charyn reads from his new novel, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson’s older brother, Austin, spoke of her as his “wild sister.” Jerome Charyn, author most recently of Johnny One-Eye: A Tale of the American Revolution, continues his exploration of American history through fiction in this new novel about Emily Dickinson, in her own voice, with all its characteristic modulations that he learned from her letters and poems. The poet dons a hundred veils, alternately playing wounded lover, penitent, and female devil. We meet the significant characters of her life, including her tempestuous sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert; her brooding father, Edward; and the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, who may have inspired some of her greatest letters and poems. Charyn has also invented characters, including an impoverished fellow student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, who will betray her; and a handyman named Tom, who will obsess Emily throughout her life.

+ BIO: Jerome Charyn

Jerome Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and has received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His novels include Johnny One-Eye and The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson. He lives in Paris and New York.

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