Profs & Pints Northern Virginia: Emily Dickinson's Love Life-Door tickets remain available.

By Profs and Pints (other events)

Sunday, February 18 2024 1:00 PM 3:00 PM EDT

Advance ticket sales have ended but plenty of additional tickets remain available at the door.

Profs and Pints Northern Virginia presents: “Emily Dickinson’s Love Life,” a look at the renowned poet’s work and erotic life, with Marianne Noble, professor of literature at American University, teacher of a course on Dickinson, and author of The Masochistic Pleasures of Sentimental Literature.

Emily Dickinson is frequently viewed as a virgin spinster who wore white and penned enigmatic little poems about birds and God. The full scope of her life and work, however, is much more complicated than that. She also wrote passionately erotic love poetry: “Wild Nights — Wild Nights! / Were I with thee / Wild Nights should be / Our luxury!” And recent discoveries and theories have opened minds to the possibility she might have felt deep love for both women and men.

Join Dr. Marianne Noble, who has extensively studied Dickinson’s life and poems, for a fascinating look at what we know and don’t know about Dickinson and how it influences the way we read her poetry.

She’ll discuss how we’ve moved well beyond earlier generations of readers’ belief that Dickinson’s love life consisted mainly of experiencing an early and tragic love for a man who either was married or had died. Her poetry actually reveals a distinct pattern of love imagery for women. Woven through her poetry is a clitoral pattern of crumbs, berries, bees, and other small round objects. Moreover, a recently discovered photograph may portray an adult Emily Dickinson—strong and confident--with her arm around another woman.

We’re also newly open to her many expressions of non-binaristic gender identification. A pattern of love for men is also woven throughout her writing, and new discoveries consolidate its importance too.

You’ll leave the talk with a newfound understanding of a great poet and much more appreciation of her work. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)

Image: A restored 1848 daguerreotype of Emily Dickinson from the Yale University archives overlaid on her handwritten manuscript of “Wild nights—Wild nights!”