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Dickinson comes closest to Wordsworth when she tries to read the meaning of light falling upon the land: . . .

Light, the element that bathes Wordsworth's landscapes, casts its shadow on this poem. The "certain slant" pierces the self, oppresses the spirit--it is not a seal of affirmation, but an "imperial affliction / Sent us of the Air." True to Wordsworthian dicta, Dickinson has responded to what she witnesses, but the light she finds is the type of doom she most fears. The "internal difference" filters down from Heaven through the landscape into the poet, and what for Wordsworth would be a reflective if sober moment becomes the "seal" of despair.


From Dickinson and the Romantic Imagination. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981. Copyright © 1981 by Princeton University Press.