The Long Shadow. Clark Griffith. Princeton, 48s.
Griffith demonstrates that Emily Dickinson was a tragic poet. He draws our attention away from her better-known verses, whose facile optimism and empty grace he shows to be quite untypical of her best work. He concentrates instead on analyzing those poems which express her search for a Hidden God and her dread at the idea that the God for whom she searches may not exist. He reveals her to be, at one level, an ironist and, at another, a tragedian. The true Emily Dickinson was not the tinkling Transcendentalist, but the tragic poet, utterly discontented with the Transcendentalism with which she had been imbued. The connection between the concept of the Hidden God and tragedy is familiar to marxists from the work of Goldmann: Griffith echoes much of Goldmann’s critical achievement, but makes no attempt to relate Emily Dickinson to her class background or to the consciousness of her