Review of “I Should Have Been Too Glad, I See” (1862)


Emily Dickinson (writer).

Read in 2021.

I am indebted to Susan Kornfeld for cracking some of Dickinson’s riddles for me. On her blog, Kornfeld initially interpreted this poem as a bitterly ironic response to the Christian myth that every bad thing that happens to you is a blessing in disguise because it is humbling, it teaches you to appreciate what you have left, etc. Kornfeld was then contacted by another reader and, looking at the poem with fresh eyes, conceded that Dickinson wasn’t being bitter. The ambiguity is mildly interesting, but the poet seems to have swallowed the foolish homily after all, as in so much of her other work.

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