“We’ll finish an education sometime, won’t we?” asked Emily Dickinson of her friend Abiah Root on February 23, 1845, adding, “You may then be Plato, and I will be Socrates, provided you won’t be wiser than I am” (L 1:10). Thus, at fourteen, the schoolgirl showed herself to be philosophically precocious, by recognizing the distinction between Plato and the chief persona of his dialogues and by anticipating her own role as gadfly On October 10, 1851, she wrote to her brother, Austin, “I had a dissertation from Eliza Coleman a day or two ago—don’t know which was the author—Plato, or Socrates—rather think Jove had a finger in it” (L 1:147). Thus, at twenty, besides playing again with the contrast between Plato and Socrates, she expressed ambivalence about whether philosophy trumps theology and implied that, on occasion, it probably should.
KeywordsIndustrial Revolution Female Education Experimental Trust Fine School British Empiricism
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