Social media: a place of polarised opinions, armchair politicians, faceless shaming, controversy, and cat videos. Some people embrace it to the point of making careers out of it whilst others may avoid it like the plague. With 19th Century American poet Emily Dickinson’s reputation as a recluse, you may have had her down as one of the latter. Not so, according to Cynthia Nixon, who will be portraying Dickinson in her biopic A Quiet Passion.
According to the Sex and the City star Nixon, Emily Dickinson would have loved Twitter and others of its ilk. Speaking at the Berlin Film Festival, where A Quiet Passion had its world premiere, Nixon claimed:
“Even though Emily was so secluded, she was all about connecting to other people. Not necessarily in person – sometimes through letters, sometimes through poems. I can imagine her emailing and tweeting all day long. If virtual communication would have been as easy then as it is now, she would have derived great benefit from it“.
Even so, I can’t see her sharing cat videos.
Emily Dickinson died in 1886, at the age of 55. She had never married and had lived the majority of her life in her family’s home at Amherst, Massachusetts. She had written almost 1,800 poems but less than a dozen were published in her lifetime. According to writer-director Terence Davies, it was this lack of recognition that prompted him to explore her life:
“When someone is as great as that, and they don’t get recognition, that really upsets me. She was a recluse, but it doesn’t mean she didn’t live a rich and cultured life, even if she was a great, gifted poet and was not recognised in her lifetime“.
According to some sources, A Quiet Passion will have a September 2016 release, and will examine Emily Dickinson from her days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as an introvert, exploring a woman and poet who is to many still an enigma who produced works of remarkable beauty with a literary prowess that makes her one of the most important poets of all time.