Engl. 875-01

Seminar: Emily Dickinson

Spring 2010

MWF 10:00-10:50, Rm. 312

Instructor: Dr. K. Nichols





This course will study the extraordinary poetry of Emily Dickinson, one of America's greatest poets. Her poetry (nearly 2000 poems to choose from!) will be our main focus, with some special attention to her manuscripts and fascicles and letters. Her poems will also be studied in relation to other prominent nineteenth-century writers such as Emerson and Whitman. Gender issues relating to Dickinson as a woman poet will also be addressed throughout the course.

Since this course is a graduate seminar, you will be expected to take an active role in discussing and presenting material to the class, to engage in considerable research, and to produce a major documented paper by the end of the semester.


  • R.W. Franklin. The Poems of Emily Dickinson. Reading Edition. Belknap Press of Harvard UP. ISBN: 0674018249.
  • Wendy Martin, The Cambridge Introduction to Emily Dickinson. Cambridge UP. ISBN: 0-521-67270-8.
  • Wendy Martin. The Cambridge Companion to Emily Dickinson. Cambridge UP. ISBN: 0-521-00118-8.
  • Judith Farr, Emily Dickinson: A Collection of Critical Essays. Prentice Hall. ISBN: 0-13-033524-X.

Strongly Recommended: The latest edition of the MLA Handbook or the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. The bookstore usually has extra copies on the main floor, if you need to buy one.

There will also be some online and xeroxed texts, as indicated on the Reading Schedule (online). However, if you have copies of these texts in a standard American literature anthology, you may often be able to use them, if you wish.


  • Short Literary Analysis--20 pts.
  • Topic Selection/Poems List--5 pts.
  • Oral Bib. Report--10 pts.
  • Annotated Bibliography/Report--20 pts.
  • First Draft Oral Report--5 pts.
  • Seminar Paper--40 pts.

For details about the written and oral requirements, see Writing Assignments (online).

All missing major writing assignments will earn a double "F" grade.

You may e-mail papers to me at knichols11@cox.net, but make sure they are attached as a .doc file. However, if you are on campus, I would prefer to receive a hard copy in my office or in my mailbox in the English Dept. office.


Late papers and class presentations will be graded down one letter grade for each day they are late.


Regular attendance is required. Everyone has four pre-excused absences for those difficult times in life that interfere with class attendance, so you do not need to clear absences with me, but it is a good idea to check with me (or a classmate) to make sure an assignment was not changed while you were gone.

Students who miss more than four classes may be dropped from the roster for "excessive absences."


I strongly support the policies of the English Department and the University on plagiarism. Undocumented use of someone else's material (including "borrowing" their language or their ideas) will result in an F on the paper or for the course--or worse for the most egregious cases.

See me if you have questions about what is or is not plagiarism. I'm always happy to help students who make a good-faith effort to do things right.


You can quickly access our online syllabus by typing in one of the following addresses:

You can also access my home page (which links to all my web pages) by going to the English Department home page, clicking on the "Faculty" link, and, after locating my name, clicking on it.


  • MWF 11:00-12:00; 1:00-2:30
  • Or by appointment.

I am always happy to meet with students in my office to discuss any questions about our class or related matters. The most efficient ways to contact me are 1) to see me before or after class, 2) to e-mail me at knichols11@cox.net, or 3) to tape a note to my office door.

Return to Nichols Home Page

Comments/Suggestions: knichols11@cox.net

Updated: 12-10-12

Graphics by Dana Lea's Graphics