‘Pessoa’ Is the Definitive and Sublime Life of a Genius and His Many Alternate Selves

By Parul Sehgal

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Does genius know itself?

Adrienne Rich thought so. She held that Emily Dickinson chose seclusion not out of eccentricity but as a practical measure: to fasten her concentration and keep distraction at bay. As an artist, Dickinson “was determined to survive,” Rich wrote, “to use her powers, to practice necessary economies.”

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