Literature Annotations

Dickinson, Emily
Much madness is divinest sense

On-Line Text
Genre Poem
KeywordsIndividuality, Mental Illness, Rebellion, Society
SummaryThe narrator distinguishes between madness and sanity: the beliefs of the majority constitute sanity, whereas those who dissent are considered insane.
CommentaryFor a modern, beautifully written, and absorbing elaboration of this idea, see Girl, Interrupted, an autobiographical account of psychiatric hospitalization, by Susanna Kaysen (Turtle Bay Books, Div. of Random House, New York, N.Y., 1993) (see this database).
SourceCollected Poems of Emily Dickinson
EditorsMabel Loomis Todd & T. W. Higginson
Place PublishedNew York
MiscellaneousFirst published: 1890
Annotated by Aull, Felice and Chen, Irene
Date of Entry 11/15/93
Last Revised 05/07/01