Emily Dickinson

1862–1864: A Mentor

Summary 1862–1864: A Mentor

By 1864, Dickinson's eyesight had deteriorated badly, and she had to leave Amherst to see a doctor in Boston for treatment. She was advised to cut down her reading by huge amounts if she wanted to save her eyesight. While in Boston, Dickinson roomed with her cousins Louise and Fanny Norcross. Judge Otis Lord, an old friend of Edward Dickinson's, was working in nearby Cambridge when Dickinson was in Boston, and there is some evidence that they met up during Dickinson's visit. The two became fast friends and, despite the difference in their ages–Lord was nearly twenty years older than Dickinson–found much in common. Some of Dickinson's later letters to Lord suggest that they might have had romantic aspirations for their friendship. A year after Lord's wife died in 1877, Dickinson wrote: "My lovely Salem smiles at meI confess that I love you." Letters in the nineteenth century were frequently hyperbolic, so this declaration does not necessarily amount to a frank profession of love. However, some scholars have suggested that the theme of royalty found in many of Dickinson's poems refer to Otis Lord.

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