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American Poet--British Director



The 2016 Film "Quiet Passion" about the life of Emily Dickinson is a good example of why a British director (Terence Davies) should never tell the story of an American Poet. He turned a very American woman into a Victorian British spinster. Withdrawing from the world is not the same as being a hermit. She did all the gardening for the Dickinson compound...as well as most of the baking. She spent a lot of time with her brother's children. She played the piano and nursed her invalid mother daily. She carried on an extensive correspondence with family friends and other poets. She gave up on publishing when editors refused to not "correct" her syntax and punctuation and would only speak to them through a closed door, not from the top of the stairs as in the movie. Two huge omissions from the movie are the children and the one potential boy friend to whom she was devoted and who died young of TB. It was after his death that she spent less time outside of the two Dickinson homes. There is also no evidence that she ever met Her brother's mistress and the exaggerated drama over his affair is a creation of the director and the screen writer. Makes for a good movie. However the drama of her illness and death is real. She suffered terribly from kidney disease in an era when there was no way to treat it. Also the opening scene is all wrong. That is not the way Emily described the incident...although the incident is very real. And the Puritan scowl of Miss Lyon is right out of the 1600's not the 1840's Great Awakening. But you can't expect Europeans to understand American religion. American's don't even understand it. Emily Dickinson is the Great Grandmother of Spiritual but not Religious.



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