... [a] fine new work which reminds us that what’s important about Emily Dickinson is that she wrote some of the greatest poetry in the English language ... Ackmann makes good use of scholarship that has long recognized her as an unconventional, formally inventive artist. The subtitle’s Ten Pivotal Moments prove a useful organizing principle ... provides with panache in a lucid narrative grounded in solid research colored by appreciative warmth ... Ackmann’s insights are unfailingly fresh and vivid, evidence of a profound personal affinity for her subject ... palpable, exciting, and accessible.
Martha Ackmann’s new book...conjures up its own immersive spell. The book vividly recreates the texture of Dickinson’s beautiful, everyday world and the key events that shaped her complex and rebellious interior life ... Ackmann paints a living, breathing portrait of Dickinson ... Ackmann is an able and enthusiastic guide, and her passion and fascination energize the narrative ... Ackmann used the novelist’s tools—description, dialogue, and narration—to produce powerful vignettes ... It’s an impressive feat of accumulation and organization that contains many gems, like a scene in which Dickinson staged a dramatic solo reading of Shakespeare in her attic. Ackmann’s observations are often beautifully rendered. Her style is sensory, relaxed, generous with detail and description, empathetic, and explanatory.
...powerful, and powerfully puzzling ... I quickly came to treasure Ackmann’s ample descriptions, her deep knowledge of the poet’s milieu ... Ackmann’s These Fevered Days peoples the poet’s world more thoroughly than do previous accounts ... Ackmann’s excursions into Emily Dickinson’s mind don’t so much distort as disappoint, after I’d come to rely on her solid research and the artful verisimilitude of her re-creations ... a book I recurrently fell in and out of love with as the hours passed, all the while fully absorbed.