Dear Alumversers:

Ah, before we turn to Whitman, let's take another day or so on Dickinson - to put a point on her "intensiveness" or "'experience'-by-inward-turning." The poem is #1695, "There is a solitude of space":


There is a solitude of space
A solitude of sea
A solitude of death, but these
Society shall be
Compared with that profounder site
That polar privacy
A soul admitted to itself--
Finite Infinity.

The question I hope you will answer, in some form, is this: do you accept - or "buy" - the claim here of a finite infinity - a narrow expansiveness? This opinion or interpretive position will have to come from your own assessment of what Dickinson is doing with the (as usual, difficult) comparison here - between one kind of solitude and a "profounder" kind of solitude. What does the self-reference (" itself") mean here? And, once again, can she in the end persuasively suggest that out of that ultimate isolation comes the ultimate extension - infinity?