The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Volume 1

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Harvard University Press, 1998 - Literary Criticism - 1654 pages
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Emily Dickinson, poet of the interior life, imagined words/swords, hurling barbed syllables/piercing. Nothing about her adult appearance or habitation revealed such a militant soul. Only poems, written quietly in a room of her own, often hand-stitched in small volumes, then hidden in a desk drawer, revealed her true self. She did not live in time, as did that other great poet of the day, Walt Whitman, but in universals. As she knowingly put it: "There is one thing to be grateful for--that one is one's self and not somebody else."

Dickinson lived and died without fame: she saw only a few poems published. Her great legacy was later rescued from her desk drawer--an astonishing body of work revealing her acute, sensitive nature reaching out boldly from self-referral to a wider, imagined world. Her family sought publication of Dickinson's poetry over the years, selecting verses, often altering her words or her punctuation, until, in 1955, the first important attempt was made to collect and publish Dickinson's work, edited by Thomas H. Johnson for the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Now, after many years of preparation by Ralph Franklin, the foremost scholar of Dickinson's manuscripts, a new comprehensive edition is available. This three-volume work contains 1,789 poems, the largest number ever assembled. The poems, arranged chronologically, based on new dating, are drawn from a range of archives, most frequently from holographs, but also from various secondary sources representing lost manuscripts. The text of each manuscript is rendered individually, including, within the capacity of standard type, Dickinson's spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Franklin gives Dickinson's alternative readings for the poems, her revisions, and the line and page, or column, divisions in the source. Each entry identifies Franklin's editorial emendations and records the publication history, including variants. Fourteen appendices of tables and lists give additional information, including poems attributed to Emily Dickinson. The poems are indexed by numbers from the Johnson edition, as well as by first lines.

Franklin has provided an introduction that serves as a guide to this edition and surveys the history of the editing of Dickinson's poems. His account of how Dickinson conducted her workshop is a reconstruction of a remarkable poetic life.

  

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This edition is yes and yes there are the bees and there are facsimiles and there is good order and everything is in them including the questions and I'm saving up for the letters as we speak. Read full review

Contents

VOLUME
1
Toems 1526 49
1118
VOLUME III
1302
Poems Published in Emily Dickinsons Lifetime
1531
Distribution by Year
1533
Later Manuscripts
1535
Transcription
1538
The Manuscript Books
1542
Additional Poems Separated Poems Excluded Texts
1560
Word Division
1562
Emendation
1568
Redated Letters
1575
Some Early Texts
1577
Poems Attributed to Emily Dickinson
1582
Bibliography
1587
Acknowledgments
1593

Titles Characterizations Signatures
1545
Recipients
1547
Secondary Sources
1558

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1998)

Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts on December 10, 1830. Although one of America's most acclaimed poets, the bulk of her work was not published until well after her death on May 15, 1886. The few poems published in her lifetime were not received with any great fanfare. After her death, Dickinson's sister Lavinia found over 1,700 poems Emily had written and stashed away in a drawer -- the accumulation of a life's obsession with words. Critics have agreed that Dickinson's poetry was well ahead of its time. Today she is considered one of the best poets of the English language. Except for a year spent at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, Dickinson spent her entire life in the family home in Amherst, Massachusetts. She never married and began to withdraw from society, eventually becoming a recluse. Dickinson's poetry engages the reader and requires his or her participation. Full of highly charged metaphors, her free verse and choice of words are best understood when read aloud. Dickinson's punctuation and capitalization, not orthodox by Victorian standards and called "spasmodic" by her critics, give greater emphasis to her meanings.

R. W. Franklin was Director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. He is the recipient of the Emily Dickinson International Society's Award for Outstanding Contribution.

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