In this book, Charles Murphy explores the still unfolding rediscovery of Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), our foremost American poet, as a mystic of profound depth and ambition. She declined publication of almost all of her hundreds of poems during her lifetime, describing them as a record of her wrestling with God, who, in the Puritan religious tradition she received, she found cold and remote. Murphy places Dickinson's writings within the Christian mystical tradition exemplified by St. Teresa of Avila and identifies her poems as expressions of what he terms theologically as "believing unbelief." Dickinson's experiences of love and her confrontation with human mortality drove her poetic insights and led to her discovery of God in the beauty and mystery of the natural world.
Monsignor Charles Murphy, PA, STD, is former rector of the North American College in Rome and, among other pastoral responsibilities in the Diocese of Portland, Maine, founded the permanent diaconate program. He is the author of several books, including At Home on Earth: Foundations for a Catholic Ethic of the Environment, Wallace Stevens: A Spiritual Poet in a Secular Age, and Belonging to God: A Personal Training Guide for the Deeper Catholic Spiritual Life. He holds a bachelor's degree in Latin and Greek from the College of the Holy Cross, a master's degree from Harvard, and the doctorate in sacred theology from the Gregorian University in Rome.