American Transcendentalism: An Online Travel Guide

Boston

Concord

Walden Pond

Fruitlands

Salem

Amherst

New York

Maryland

America

At Home

Margaret Fuller &
Elizabeth Peabody

Ralph Waldo
Emerson

Henry David
Thoreau

Bronson Alcott

Nathaniel
Hawthorne

Emily
Dickinson

Walt
Whitman

Frederick
Douglass

Environmental
Heroes

The Shepherd 
Crowd

Journals        Poetry    Special Presentations    Syllabus    WebQuests     Links & References    About This Site


Dickinson's Amherst

This is the Hour of Lead—
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow—
First Chill—then Stupor—then  the letting go—
               
Emily Dickinson, Poem 341 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right: Dickinson Family Plot, West Cemetery, Amherst, Massachusetts (photo by Linda Tate).


Amherst, Massachusetts, was the hometown of poet Emily Dickinson. The place to begin a virtual visit to Emily Dickinson's hometown and to prepare for an actual visit is Virtual Emily. This wonderful site provides a rich introduction to Dickinson's family and the places they lived in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts. 



The place to begin a visit to Emily Dickinson's Amherst is The Dickinson Homestead. Here, visitors can learn the history of the house and step into Dickinson's bedroom where she wrote her 1,775 poems. To prepare for your own visit, you might want to read Jodi Werner's essay, "The Dickinson Homestead," which describes her visit to the poet's home.

Visitors will then want to go next door to The Evergreens, the home of Austin and Sue Dickinson, Dickinson's brother and sister-in-law. For the inside scoop on this house, see the New York Times article, "The House Where a Scandal Divided Emily Dickinson's Family." You have to register for this free online service—but it's well worth your time to do so!

Now that you've explored Dickinson's home, you'll want to get a sense of the larger town of Amherst. This excellent "walking tour" will give you the opportunity to see a number of homes and landmarks in the community. Here, visitors can see the site of the Amherst Academy, which Dickinson attended, as well as the home of Dickinson's biographer and the home of her editor Mabel Loomis Todd

Read Patricia's thoughts on standing in Emily's bedroom. Read Deidre's Dickinson-inspired poem. Look at Dan's beautiful drawing inspired by "Faith is a fine invention." And be absolutely sure to look at T C's wonderful poem, "Out Emily's Window" (accompanied by a little-known photograph of Emily Dickinson).

Top Left: The Dickinson Homestead (photo by Anna Hughes). Bottom Left: The Evergreens (photo by Anna Hughes).


No visit to Amherst is complete without a trip to West Cemetery to pay homage to Emily Dickinson. This was one of the true highlights of our trip.

Left: Emily Dickinson's tombstone (photo by Linda Tate).

 


"American Transcendentalism: An Online Travel Guide" was produced by students in ENGL 446, American Transcendentalism, and ENGL 447, American Literature and the Prominence of Place: A Travel Practicum. These courses were team-taught in the Department of English at Shepherd College, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in Spring 2002 by Dr. Patricia Dwyer and Dr. Linda Tate. For more information on the course and the web project, visit "About This Site." © 2003 Linda Tate.