Locating gender in space: Emily Dickinson's conception of gender

Caci Haag, Ursula . Locating gender in space: Emily Dickinson's conception of gender. 2023, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/96026/

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In her poems, Emily Dickinson defines, locates, reshapes, and forms new concepts of gender. She achieves this by employing spatial metaphors and images that locate female identity in a new territory. Her poetry overcomes gendered dualisms and dichotomies by unmasking opposites as constructs and by accommodating them within the same sphere. As the spaces in Dickinson’s poems are abstract, strangely limitless, and ambiguous in their dimensions, her new female subjects have to reside in a paradoxical space. This paradoxical mapping allows for conceptualizations of identity as being simultaneously at the center and at the margin of a certain space, being at once inside and outside. In Dickinson’s nineteenth-century New England, the spaces of nature, the house, and the grave or afterlife are highly saturated with cultural and ideological meaning. Therefore, the transgression of boundaries between nature and culture, the public and the private, and life and death bestows Dickinson’s speakers with power, freedom, and a sense of the arbitrariness of the concepts attached to these boundaries. Through the exploitation of marginal spaces such as swamps, closets, the space within walls, and the dead body, Dickinson relocates desire and relationships between men and women. By reorganizing the asymmetrical attributions of power and gender to which her speakers are subjected, Dickinson carves out space for unconventional identities and rebellious acts.
Advisors:Gygax, Franziska and Schweighauser, Philipp and Miller, Cristanne
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften > Fachbereich Englische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > Amerikanistik (Schweighauser)
UniBasel Contributors:Gygax, Franziska and Schweighauser, Philipp
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:15133
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:V, 265
Identification Number:
  • urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-bau-diss151339
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:16 Nov 2023 05:30
Deposited On:15 Nov 2023 12:53

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