To understand and evaluate Emily Dickinson's poetry forces criticism to reflect on issues of length, for which Aristotle and Edgar Allan Poe are two of the major theoretical resources, with further citation from Victor Hugo and Gustave Flaubert. Giuseppe Ungaretti's extraordinarily brief “Mattina” leads to consideration of Dickinson, through the critical encounters with her work by R. P. Blackmur and Lionel Trilling.

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