Buy New
$25.84
Qty:1
  • List Price: $35.00
  • Save: $9.16 (26%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Trade in your item
Get a $0.55
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Maid as Muse: How Servants Changed Emily Dickinson's Life and Language (Revisiting New England) Hardcover – February 9, 2010


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$25.84
$12.50 $12.18

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on selected titles, including the current pick, "The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica.

Product Details

  • Series: Revisiting New England
  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: New Hampshire; First Edition edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584656743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584656746
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The daring of Murray’s quest and the even-handed generosity of her spirit are matched by the vitality of her own prose.”—Adrienne Rich

“Murray offers a treasure trove of information in this meticulously researched study. . . Offering an eclectic mix of scholarly and fictional narrative, photographs, genealogical charts, personal reflections, and even recipes, Murray transports the reader into the Dickinson home to witness the poet’s interactions with the staff, who not only kept the household running but also shaped her worldview. . . Recommended.”—Choice

“Maid as Muse is a landmark work of historical revelation that unearths truths so glaringly significant it seems improbable they could have been ignored—yet ignored they were. Generations of Emily Dickinson scholars and devoted admirers (myself included) reveled in every facet of her life, studied every nuance, and savored every detail. But somehow the web of domestic relationships that sustained the Dickinson household and was so integral to the poet’s achievement was barely noticed and rarely remarked on. Aife Murray’s book changes all that. More than a breathtakingly original investigation that alters our perception of Dickinson’s everyday existence, Maid as Muse restores to the historical record the lives of those most often forgotten or passed over”—immigrants, women, the working class. Murray opens our eyes (and our hearts and minds) to the complex interaction of gender, class, race, and ethnicity in the Dickinson home in Amherst as well as in the wider context of 19th-century New England. She gives voice to the voiceless, and enriches and deepens our understanding of Emily Dickinson and the world of which she was part. Maid as Muse is a rare, wonderful, and stunningly original book. I am in awe of what Aife Murray has done.”—Peter Quinn

“This is an important book, not just for Dickinson studies but also for understanding nineteenth-century American life and culture as well as the dynamic and multifaceted stories of a nation’s immigrants and native peoples. The book is also valuable in the way it examines some of the less obvious or tangible factors that shape a writer’s creative process.”—The Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin

Review

“From reams of letters, poems, archival records, photographs, maps, newspaper articles, and interviews with descendants of Irish immigrant and African American laborers and servants, Aífe Murray resurrects submerged lives and social realities in 19th century New England and beyond. Focusing on the Dickinson household through a new and revelatory lens, she makes a persuasive case that Dickinson's radical poetics were inflected by Irish and African American vernacular speech, even as she rejected standard literary and parlor diction. At center is not only the poet herself but Margaret Maher, alongside whom she worked as mistress and maid through her most productive years, and who actually preserved her poems. This is a work of re-visionary reading and hands-on research. The daring of Murray’s quest and the even-handed generosity of her spirit are matched by the vitality of her own prose.” (Adrienne Rich)

More About the Author

Aífe Murray is the author of Maid as Muse and Art of Service and numerous artists' books. She is a transdisciplinary writer interested in stories that have been erased.

Adrienne Rich hailed Maid as Muse as "a work of re-visionary reading" and Peter Quinn named it a "rare, wonderful, and stunningly original book."


Aífe (ee-fah) grew up in New England and lives with her family in San Francisco. Most days she can be found on one of the city's seven hills doing walking meditation.

author photo: Jim Goldberg - Magnum

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
7
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 7 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Oakes on March 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although Emily Dickinson rarely left her home after about the age of thirty, she lived in a bustling household that included her sister and several household servants, among them Margaret Maher, who worked for the family for decades. Only three incidents out of the many Murray elucidates suffice to show Maggie's importance to Dickinson and to her subsequent readers: Dickinson gave Maggie many of her poems to keep in her trunk, the famous daguerotype has come down to us from Maggie, who presumably had the only copy, and Maggie worked for Mabel Loomis Todd for free as Mabel edited Dickinson's poems. Part of a large Irish family, Maggie herself, independent of the Dickinson family, comes to life in this well researched and vividly written book. It is am important book on Dickinson and on the social history of the time.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Goldberg on July 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Murray's generosity of spirit and writing is a must read for anyone interested in the unheard voices of New England during the 19th century. Certainly her research bore information that we can all learn from. She is the type of writer that I want to read more and more of. I excitedly look forward to reading her next book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Susan55 on November 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's incredible that our knowledge of Emily Dickinson was so limited before Murray's journey behind the curtains into Emily's rich interaction with her Irish and African American servants--and how that shaped Dickinson's extraordinary use of language. The book offers wonderful insights into Dickinson--and 19th century life in New England. Beyond that, it makes me realize how so much history is written from the perspective of the upper class--and how much has been left out. A real eye opener!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. George on August 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting. Serious reading. Well researched. Not as much about the Irish experience as I expected. Also discusses African American servants.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search