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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As an author of literature, it is an honor to be criticized.  Literary criticism is the study, interpretation, and evaluation of literature according to a critical perspective: gender, socio-economics, history, myth, or psychology.

For Emily Dickinson, the irony is that she did not intend or give consent to publish her poetry.  She hid it, and it was published after her death (posthumously).  So, she is a bit of an enigma.  As is her writing: it is unlike anything before or after.

Many critics focus on her style: her lines are very elliptical and telegraphic (they leave words out, are very short and fragmented, separated by dashes).  Also, her voice is very paradoxical: her poems look simple, but they are complicated riddles; she is Christian but she questions God and subverts her own beliefs; she is a female, but her voice is very masculine; she loves nature, but she treats it as hostile.

So says the Enotes section of "Emily Dickinson Criticism":

Choosing the lyric as her form, Dickinson wrote on a variety of subjects, including nature, love, death, and immortality. As she honed the lyric format, Dickinson developed a unique style, characterized by compressed expression, the use of enjambment, and an exploration of the possibilities of language. In 1955 the publication of Thomas H. Johnson's edition of Dickinson's complete poems prompted renewed scholarly interest in her work. Modern criticism has focused on Dickinson's style, structure, use of language, and the various themes found in her poetry. Some critics have examined these same issues from a feminist viewpoint. Regardless of the critical angle, most modern scholars incorporate some discussion of Dickinson's life experiences into their examinations of her work.