The Civil War also touched Emily Dickinson's life. Her brother Austin paid a conscript to take his place in the war, avoiding it, but Emily's great friend Thomas Wentworth Higginson led the first black regiment in the Union army, and one of her dearest friend's husbands was killed by an explosion in the conflict. The American literary world was not closed to female writers, but it did not welcome them, either. Harriet Beecher Stowe was the notable exception to the unspoken rules barring women from the literary club. In 1852, Stowe published the immensely popular, controversial novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Despite the gains made in fiction by women like Stowe, poetry was still considered a man's arena, especially in New England, where heavyweights like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman practiced their art. Dickinson's father was liberal in some respects and conservative in others. He would
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