One of America's most celebrated women, Emily Dickinson was virtually unpublished in her own time and unknown to the public at large. Today her poetry is commonly anthologized and widely praised for its precision, its intensity, its depth and beauty. Dickinson's life and work, however, remain in important ways mysterious. This collection of essays, all of them previously unpublished, represent the best of contemporary scholarship and points the way toward exciting new directions for the future. The volume includes a biographical essay that covers some of the major turning points in the poet's life, especially those emphasized by her letters. Other essays discuss Dickinson's religious beliefs, her response to the Civil War, her class-based politics, her place in a tradition of American women's poetry, and the editing of her manuscripts. A Historical Guide to Emily Dickinson concludes with a rich bibliographical essay describing the controversial history of Dickinson's life in print, together with a substantial bibliography of relevant sources.