Emily Dickinson's fascicles: a study of her psychodynamic poetry



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The fascicle is Emily Dickinson's highly original poetic creation which acts as a psychodynamic poem. In each of her mature fascicles composed after 1861 Dickinson presents a unified psychological experience by selecting and arranging disparate poems into mental progressions. Each poem within a particular fascicle presents a mental state, psychic situation, or tentative belief momentarily held by the poetic speaker of the gathering, and each provokes a further psychological situation or commentary; the subsequent poem then portrays the ensuing mental response of the speaker. In this manner Dickinson endows the gathering of diverse poems with psychological cohesion and self-propelling mental movement in a purposeful direction whereby the fascicle portrays a unified experience within the consciousness of the poetic "I." Thus, by means of fascicle structure she simulates the mental activity of the fictive speaker in the fascicle. This acute interest in psychodynamics apparent in fascicle construction is obtrusively reflected as well in Dickinson's methods of organization, employment of image series, and choice of content. In essence, Emily Dickinson develops and refines the fascicle as her poetic mode of expressing the subject she most values in life and art: man's profound psychological struggle to find meaning and purpose in life.