Announcing our 2021 Award Winners and Top 20 Books of the Year

These Fevered Days: Book summary and reviews of These Fevered Days by Martha Ackmann

These Fevered Days

Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson

by Martha Ackmann

These Fevered Days by Martha Ackmann X
These Fevered Days by Martha Ackmann
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Feb 2020
    304 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

An engaging, intimate portrait of Emily Dickinson, one of America's greatest and most-mythologized poets, that sheds new light on her groundbreaking poetry.

On August 3, 1845, young Emily Dickinson declared, "All things are ready" and with this resolute statement, her life as a poet began. Despite spending her days almost entirely "at home" (the occupation listed on her death certificate), Dickinson's interior world was extraordinary. She loved passionately, was hesitant about publication, embraced seclusion, and created 1,789 poems that she tucked into a dresser drawer.

In These Fevered Days, Martha Ackmann unravels the mysteries of Dickinson's life through ten decisive episodes that distill her evolution as a poet. Ackmann follows Dickinson through her religious crisis while a student at Mount Holyoke, which prefigured her lifelong ambivalence toward organized religion and her deep, private spirituality. We see the poet through her exhilarating frenzy of composition, through which we come to understand her fiercely self-critical eye and her relationship with sister-in-law and first reader, Susan Dickinson. Contrary to her reputation as a recluse, Dickinson makes the startling decision to ask a famous editor for advice, writes anguished letters to an unidentified "Master," and keeps up a lifelong friendship with writer Helen Hunt Jackson. At the peak of her literary productivity, she is seized with despair in confronting possible blindness.

Utilizing thousands of archival letters and poems as well as never-before-seen photos, These Fevered Days constructs a remarkable map of Emily Dickinson's inner life. Together, these ten days provide new insights into her wildly original poetry and render a concise and vivid portrait of American literature's most enigmatic figure.

16 pages of black-and-white illustrations

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"[E]xcellent....Though the book's Dickinson can be odd, ethereal, and contradictory, other qualities emerge as well—her humor, charm, and unwavering confidence in her own work. The result is a remarkably refreshing account of one of America's finest poets." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Radiant prose, palpable descriptions, and deep empathy for the poet's sensibility make this biography extraordinary." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"The compelling, eminently readable, novel-like style of Ackmann's writing makes this new take on the poet's artistic and personal growth highly recommended for both scholars and casual readers long captivated by the 'Belle of Amherst.'" - Library Journal

"This utterly enchanting book invites us into the world Emily Dickinson inhabited and made. With exquisite sensitivity to poet and place, Martha Ackmann illuminates a life simple and complex. Treasures abound on every page." - Ellen Fitzpatrick, author of The Highest Glass Ceiling

"These Fevered Days is a contemplative, sometimes lyrical effort to unlock several of the most important moments of Emily Dickinson's mysterious life. The book brings readers deeply into Emily's world: the sights she sees from the window of her room, the people with whom she corresponds, the sounds of daily life on the streets of nineteenth-century Amherst. Weaving together numerous sources, Ackmann's narrative provides thoughtful insights into both the poet and her craft." - Julie Dobrow, author of After Emily

"Gifted storyteller Martha Ackmann deciphers with fresh and compelling insights ten transformational moments in the development of Emily Dickinson's mind. These Fevered Days invites us into the experiences that led Dickinson to assert her ambitions as an artist and decisions as a poet with a vivid immediacy rare among biographical works."- Jane Wald, executive director, Emily Dickinson Museum

This information about These Fevered Days shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Martha Ackmann Author Biography

Photo: Donna Cote

Martha Ackmann is a journalist and author who writes about women who have changed America. Her essays and columns have appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times. She also is a frequent commentator for New England Public Radio, and has been featured on CNN, National Public Radio, and the BBC.

Martha's award-winning books include The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight, Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League, and These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson. A theatrical adaptation of Curveball premiered Off Broadway in 2019. Toni Stone, written by playwright Lydia Diamond, was a New York Times Critic's Pick and the Wall...

... Full Biography
Link to Martha Ackmann's Website

Other books by Martha Ackmann at BookBrowse
  • The Mercury 13 jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more biography/memoir...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: The Lincoln Highway
    The Lincoln Highway
    by Amor Towles
    Voted 2021 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Things look bleak for Emmett ...
  • Book Jacket: The Code Breaker
    The Code Breaker
    by Walter Isaacson
    Voted 2021 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    What makes humans human? It's ...
  • Book Jacket: Firekeeper's Daughter
    Firekeeper's Daughter
    by Angeline Boulley
    Voted 2021 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Angeline Boulley's young adult ...
  • Book Jacket
    A Million Things
    by Emily Spurr
    Voted 2021 Best Debut Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Our First Impressions reviewers were...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    True Crime Story
    by Joseph Knox

    The #1 international bestselling novel. What happens to all the girls who go missing?

Win This Book!
Win Taste Makers

Taste Makers
by Mayukh Sen

America's modern culinary history told through the lives of seven pathbreaking chefs and food writers.

Enter

Wordplay

The Big Holiday Wordplay

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.