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Did Emily Dickinson have epilepsy?

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In a much talked about biography of Emily Dickinson, Lives Like Loaded Guns, Lyndall Gordon poses the question, “Did Emily Dickinson have epilepsy?”

According to Gordon, a senior research fellow at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, Dickinson is both ambivalent and truthful about what she calls her sickness. Gordon says, “Her handicap or whatever we want to call it was connected with her visionary life.”

Dickinson says in one of her poems,
‘My lost by sickness — Was it Loss? / Or that Etherial Gain — / One earns by measuring the Grave / Then — measuring the Sun —’

Listen to the interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air

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