The myths and mysteries of Emily Dickinson's life have long dominated the popular culture surrounding this icon of American poetry. The questions persist: Who was this closeted genius who dressed in white and live the circumspect life of a New England spinster while secretly writing sublime erotic poetry that was discovered in a locked box in her room after her death? Lea Newman's Emily Dickinson, Virgin Recluse and Rebel uses thirty-six of Emily's key poems to reveal the facts behind the myth. Newman juxtaposes each poem with a background essay about the people and life-altering events that shaped the poet's experience and fueled her imagination. Ranging from the ecstasy of sexual fulfillment to the bitter-sweet acceptance of renunciation; from the rejection of religious dogma to the celebration of nature's beauty; from the terror of death, madness and despair to the fun of being nobody like a frog, her amazing poems reflect her life even as the life illuminates the poetry.