0 14 2012

Sacred/Sacrilegious Tourism in Emily Dickinson's Poems

Li-hsin Hsu

Abstract


This paper investigates Dickinson's poetic subversion by looking at her poems of spiritual tourism, examining how these poems challenge the definition of sacredness. Although she seldom travelled, her writing frequently uses metaphors of tourism to account for religious uncertainty in a rapidly secularized and commercialized society. Her depiction of spiritual quest, in particular, deploys what William Stowe suggests as an empowering process in travel, which exposes the problematic nature of received belief systems. Her poems of tourism open up a Bakhtinian carnivalesque space, in which religious and social hierarchy can be questioned and restructured.

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ISSN 1749-9771