Maid as Muse

May 1st, 2010

Usually we look at how great writers influence our language and culture. Emily Dickenson turned this notion upside down. It was in fact her household staff that influenced her writing and altered her sensibility. Just as cultural diversity shaped Dickenson, as we find more and more cultural and ethnic diversity in our society, it's worth wondering how this multiculturalism will influence contemporary writers? Also, as more technology and and a growing service sector give writers more time to write, what impact will that have? Aife Murray, in her new book Maid as Muse: How Servants Changed Emily Dickinson's Life and Language gives us stories about 19th century literary and social history that just might have some parallels in the 21st. My conversation with Aife Murray: