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Utopias of One$
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Joshua Kotin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196541

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196541.001.0001

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Utopias of Two

Utopias of Two

(p.130) Conclusion Utopias of Two
Utopias of One

Joshua Kotin

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter concerns the challenges and value of reading difficult texts by examining the work of Thoreau's near-contemporary Emily Dickinson. It looks at how Dickinson's “The Soul unto Itself” represents her utopia of one. This chapter considers whether the poem was an attempt to represent or even cultivate her own independence, as the poem certainly represents a utopia of one. Dickinson presents a soul at war with itself and then describes an ideal state of independence—total sovereignty, total security. This utopia of one is different from the utopias explored in this book. Most significant, its efficacy does not depend on its difficulty or exclusivity or inimitability. Indeed, Dickinson's description of independence can serve as a model for readers attempting to perfect their own lives.

Keywords:   Emily Dickinson, The Soul unto Itself, utopia, independence, poetry

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