Unsettling hope: Emily Dickinson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and the record of a reform friendship
In my thesis I reassess the relationship between two of nineteenth-century America's most radical figures: Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Dickinson, of course, is a private radical, in her invention and interrogation of poetic forms. Higginson, conversely, is a public radical, as militant abolitionist, member of the Secret Six, and commander of the first regiment of emancipated slaves. This friendship, I contend, finds its roots in the reform movement--an effort in which men and women in nineteenth-century America crossed socially imposed boundaries to forge friendships that might aid them as they sought to remake their world.