Journey by Book

There Is No Frigate Like a Book

There is no frigate like a book

To take us lands away,

Nor any coursers like a page

Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of toll;

How frugal is the chariot

That bears a human soul!

—-Emily Dickenson


It is fitting that Emily Dickinson wrote about journeying by book. She spent most of the time in her room, a recluse and only in touch with a special few. Here’s information I found, with an option to read more.

Emily Dickinson grew up in a prominent and prosperous household in Amherst, Massachusetts. Along with her younger sister Lavinia and older brother Austin, she experienced a quiet and reserved family life headed by her father Edward Dickinson.

In a letter to Austin at law school, she once described the atmosphere in her father’s house as “pretty much all sobriety.” Her mother, Emily Norcross Dickinson, was not as powerful a presence in her life; she seems not to have been as emotionally accessible as Dickinson would have liked. Her daughter is said to have characterized her as not the sort of mother “to whom you hurry when you are troubled.” Both parents raised Dickinson to be a cultured Christian woman who would one day be responsible for a family of her own. Her father attempted to protect her from reading books that might “joggle” her mind, particularly her religious faith, but Dickinson’s individualistic instincts and irreverent sensibilities created conflicts that did not allow her to fall into step with the conventional piety, domesticity, and social duty prescribed by her father and the orthodox Congregationalism of Amherst.

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