The Publics of Emily Dickinson

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Title: The Publics of Emily Dickinson
Physical Description: 1 online resource (182 p.)
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2011


English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: English thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
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Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: THE PUBLICS OF EMILY DICKINSON My dissertation focuses on how the term ?public? applies to Emily Dickinson, a poet who for decades was deemed the poet of privacy. I trace the presentation and reception of Dickinson?s work in key historical moments: the printing of Dickinson?s poems during the Civil War; the surviving manuscripts compared to the printed editions of her letters; the first appearance of her work in single-author volumes in 1890, 1891, and 1896; the surviving manuscripts of the fascicles, her ?home-made? booklets of poetry; the inception of scholarly publics, which began with the first scholarly edition of Dickinson?s complete works in 1955; and contemporary debates regarding the ?true? form of a Dickinson poem. My central argument challenges the image of Dickinson as a safe female poet whose primary concern was her own mind. While others have worked to problematize Dickinson?s position as a ?private poet,? I highlight the ways in which Dickinson?s texts have given rise to multiple publics throughout history. Each chapter stresses how ?private? is not only an unhelpful term, but a dangerous oversimplification of Dickinson?s creative process and literary contributions. I utilize Michael Warner?s theory in Publics and Counterpublics (2002) to situate Dickinson?s poetry and reception within the broader concern of the relation between gender, language, and genius. The conception of Emily Dickinson as the poet of privacy arose during the nineteenth-century, primarily due to the first volume of Dickinson?s poetry published in 1890, and the mythology was not challenged, revised, or investigated until the last decades of the twentieth-century. Dickinson scholarship within the past few decades has worked to debunk the myth, and my dissertation?s central aim is to take this scholarship a step further by showing how Dickinson explores, blurs, and ultimately rejects the boundary between ?public? and ?private.? Dickinson seems to predict Michael Warner?s investigation into the complexity of the terms in Publics and Counterpublics. According to Warner, public and private are not always simple enough that one could code them on a map with different colors ? pink for private and blue for public. The terms also describe social contexts, kinds of feeling, and genres of language. So although public and private seem so clearly opposed that their violation can produce a sharp feeling of revulsion, the terms have many different meanings that often go unnoticed. (27) Contemporary manuscript study elucidates the complexity of Dickinson?s investigation into genre, voice, audience, lyric address, and poetic and epistolary approaches. I would argue that Dickinson anticipates Warner?s observation of the many meanings of ?public? and ?private,? and her body of work moves within that complexity, experimenting with established notions of publication, communication, and artistic development. The purpose of my dissertation is to explore how Dickinson?s enterprise questions the boundaries of public and private spheres, which were rigidly prescribed during the nineteenth-century (as well as our own) according to gender.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by TRISHA M KANNAN.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local: Adviser: Smith, Stephanie A.

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Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2011
System ID: UFE0042712:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0042712/00001

Material Information

Title: The Publics of Emily Dickinson
Physical Description: 1 online resource (182 p.)
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2011


English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: English thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: THE PUBLICS OF EMILY DICKINSON My dissertation focuses on how the term ?public? applies to Emily Dickinson, a poet who for decades was deemed the poet of privacy. I trace the presentation and reception of Dickinson?s work in key historical moments: the printing of Dickinson?s poems during the Civil War; the surviving manuscripts compared to the printed editions of her letters; the first appearance of her work in single-author volumes in 1890, 1891, and 1896; the surviving manuscripts of the fascicles, her ?home-made? booklets of poetry; the inception of scholarly publics, which began with the first scholarly edition of Dickinson?s complete works in 1955; and contemporary debates regarding the ?true? form of a Dickinson poem. My central argument challenges the image of Dickinson as a safe female poet whose primary concern was her own mind. While others have worked to problematize Dickinson?s position as a ?private poet,? I highlight the ways in which Dickinson?s texts have given rise to multiple publics throughout history. Each chapter stresses how ?private? is not only an unhelpful term, but a dangerous oversimplification of Dickinson?s creative process and literary contributions. I utilize Michael Warner?s theory in Publics and Counterpublics (2002) to situate Dickinson?s poetry and reception within the broader concern of the relation between gender, language, and genius. The conception of Emily Dickinson as the poet of privacy arose during the nineteenth-century, primarily due to the first volume of Dickinson?s poetry published in 1890, and the mythology was not challenged, revised, or investigated until the last decades of the twentieth-century. Dickinson scholarship within the past few decades has worked to debunk the myth, and my dissertation?s central aim is to take this scholarship a step further by showing how Dickinson explores, blurs, and ultimately rejects the boundary between ?public? and ?private.? Dickinson seems to predict Michael Warner?s investigation into the complexity of the terms in Publics and Counterpublics. According to Warner, public and private are not always simple enough that one could code them on a map with different colors ? pink for private and blue for public. The terms also describe social contexts, kinds of feeling, and genres of language. So although public and private seem so clearly opposed that their violation can produce a sharp feeling of revulsion, the terms have many different meanings that often go unnoticed. (27) Contemporary manuscript study elucidates the complexity of Dickinson?s investigation into genre, voice, audience, lyric address, and poetic and epistolary approaches. I would argue that Dickinson anticipates Warner?s observation of the many meanings of ?public? and ?private,? and her body of work moves within that complexity, experimenting with established notions of publication, communication, and artistic development. The purpose of my dissertation is to explore how Dickinson?s enterprise questions the boundaries of public and private spheres, which were rigidly prescribed during the nineteenth-century (as well as our own) according to gender.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by TRISHA M KANNAN.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local: Adviser: Smith, Stephanie A.

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Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
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2011 Trisha M. Kannan 2


To Robyn and Mrs. C 3


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank Stephani e Smith for her untiring assist ance throughout this process; Judith Page for her continued support and guidance throughout my graduate career; Kim Emery for introducing me to Michael Wa rners book; and Trysh Travis for her time and assistance with this dissertation. Most importan tly, I would like to thank Emily Dickinson for being so unclear. 4


TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 4ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... ...............6CHAPTER 1 DICKINSON AND PRINT ......................................................................................................8The Drum Beat Poems ............................................................................................................13The 1890s Volumes ............................................................................................................. ...242 THE POET AS LETTER WRITER .......................................................................................403 DICKINSON IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY ................................................................754 THE FASCICLES ............................................................................................................... .1125 DICKINSONS THIRTIETH FASCICLE ...........................................................................1396 CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................. ...167 LIST OF REFERENCES .............................................................................................................174BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................182 5


Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE PUBLICS OF EMILY DICKINSON By Trisha M. Kannan May 2011 Chair: Stephanie A. Smith Major: English My dissertation focuses on how the term pub lic applies to Emily Dickinson, a poet who for decades was deemed the poet of privacy. I trace the presentation and reception of Dickinsons work in key historic al moments: the printing of Di ckinsons poems during the Civil War; the surviving manuscripts compared to th e printed editions of her letters; the first appearance of her work in single-author volumes in 1890, 1891, and 1896; the surviving manuscripts of the fascicles, her home-made booklets of poetry; the inception of scholarly publics, which began with the first scholarly edit ion of Dickinsons complete works in 1955; and contemporary debates regarding the true form of a Dickinson poem. My central argument challenges the image of Dickinson as a safe female poet whose primary concern was her own mind. While others have worked to problematiz e Dickinsons position as a private poet, I highlight the ways in which Dickinsons texts have given rise to multiple publics throughout history. Each chapter stresses how private is not only an unhelpful term, but a dangerous oversimplification of Dickinsons creative process and literary c ontributions. I utilize Michael Warners theory in Publics and Counterpublics (2002) to situate Di ckinsons poetry and reception within the broader concern of the re lation between gender, language, and genius. 6


7 The conception of Emily Dickinson as the poet of privacy arose during the nineteenthcentury, primarily due to the first volume of Dickinsons poetry published in 1890, and the mythology was not challenged, revised, or investigated until the last decades of the twentiethcentury. Dickinson scholarship within the past few decades has worked to debunk the myth, and my dissertations central aim is to take this sc holarship a step further by showing how Dickinson explores, blurs, and ultimately rejects the bound ary between public and private. Dickinson seems to predict Michael Warners investiga tion into the complexity of the terms in Publics and Counterpublics. According to Warner, public and private are not always simple enough that one could code them on a map with different colors pink for private and blue for public. The terms also describe social contexts, kinds of feeling, and ge nres of language. So although public and private seem so clearly opposed that thei r violation can produce a sharp feeling of revulsion, the terms have many different meanings that often go unnoticed. (27) Contemporary manuscript study elucidates the comp lexity of Dickinson s investigation into genre, voice, audience, lyric address, and poetic and epistolary approaches. I would argue that Dickinson anticipates Warners observation of th e many meanings of public and private, and her body of work moves within that complexity, experimenting with es tablished notions of publication, communication, and artistic developmen t. The purpose of my dissertation is to explore how Dickinsons enterprise questions the boundaries of public and private spheres, which were rigidly prescribed during the nineteenth-century (a s well as our own) according to gender.


CHAPTER 1 DICKINSON AND PRINT The conception of Emily Dickinson as the poet of privacy arose during the nineteenthcentury, primarily due to the first volume of Dickinsons poetry published in 1890, and the mythology was not challenged, revised, or investigated until the last decades of the twentiethcentury. Dickinson scholarship within the past few decades has worked to debunk the myth, and this chapter introduces my disse rtations central aim, which is to take recent Dickinson scholarship a step further by showing how Dickin son explores, blurs, and ultimately rejects the boundary between public and private. Dick inson seems to predict Michael Warners investigation into the complexity of the terms in Publics and Counterpublics According to Warner, public and private are not always simple enough that one could code them on a map with different colors pink for private and blue for public. The terms also describe social contexts, kinds of feeling, and ge nres of language. So although public and private seem so clearly opposed that thei r violation can produce a sharp feeling of revulsion, the terms have many different meanings that often go unnoticed. (27) Contemporary manuscript study elucidates the comp lexity of Dickinson s investigation into genre, voice, audience, lyric address, and poetic and epistolary approaches. I would argue that Dickinson anticipates Warners observation of th e many meanings of public and private, and her body of work moves within that complexity, experimenting with es tablished notions of publication, communication, and artistic developmen t. Dickinsons enterprise questions the boundaries of the public and private spheres, which were rigidly prescribed during the nineteenth-century (as well as our own) according to gender. Despite Dickinsons and Warners discernment of the complexity of the terms, public and private within Western tradit ion have been commonly and sensibly understood as distinct zones. The boundary between bedroom and market, home and meetinghouse can be challenged 8


or violated, but it is at least clear enough to be spatially distinct (Warner 26). Three, singleauthor volumes by Emily Dickinson appeared in the last decade of the nineteenth-century. Dickinsons poetry prior to the first volume was printed anonymously in periodicals. Beginning in 1890 and continuing throughout the twentiet h-century, readers of Dickinsons poetry approached it as flowing from the distinct zo ne of her bedroom. For example, readers understood the poetry as produced by a shy re cluse whom Mr. Higginson so happily has introduced to the world, as Frederic Lawren ce Knowles writes in th e 1897 edition of The Golden Treasury of American Songs and Lyrics (Gailey 63). Mr. Higgi nson refers to T.W. Higginson, a long-time correspondent of Dickins ons who Dickinson first wrote to on April 15, 1862. Dickinson included four poems, and asks Higgi nson if he is too deeply occupied to say if my Verse is alive? (L260). A ccording to the letter, Dickinson seeks Higginson because The Mind is so near itself it cannot see, distinctly and I have none to ask (L260). Higginson opens his Letter to a Young Contributor, whic h appeared in the Apri l 1862 edition of the Atlantic Monthly, by saying that it seems wrong not to meet your accumulated and urgent epistles with one comprehensive reply, thus c ondensing many private lett ers into a printed one (401). Higginsons printed letter encourages submissions for public ation, explaining that there is no foundation for the supposed editorial prejudice against new or obscure contributors. On the contrary, every editor is always hungering and thirsting af ter novelties (4 01). Dickinson scholarship has focused on the relation between Higginson and Dickinson, and Ruth Miller in particular details the significance of these fi rst letters to Higginson.1 Higginsons influence on 1 Ruth Miller relays Higginsons April 17th letter to his editor: I foresee that Young Contributors will send me worse things than ever now. Two such specimens of verse as came yesterday & day beforefortunately not to be forwarded for publication! (Miller 62). Ruth Miller details Dickinsons reacti on to the Young Contributor article as well as the relation between Dickinson and Higginson, before and after the 1890s editions: In order to take advantage of widespread public interest, a poetry altogether unique was reshaped so that the style might seem more commonplace; the decidedly uneventful life of the poet was distorted in order that the poet might seem altogether unique (40). Higginson sugar-coats his initial response to Dickinson in 1891, when the poems were selling well, 9


Dickinson is clear, but why she chose him as her literary preceptor remains somewhat mysterious and, in some points of view, tragic Amy Lowell, for example, exclaims in 1930, Mild, sweet-tempered, sympathetic, and stupid Mr Higginson! It was an evil moment when Emily chose him for the arbiter of her fate (Ferlazzo 73). Dickinsons letter to Higginson implies that she did not always a nd entirely reject the idea of s eeing her poetry in print. In addition, print was a medium with which she wa s familiar; it was, in fact, her predominant means of understanding the world. Although her own opus investigat es the limits of print, as Alexandra Socarides has argued, an d toys with the nonintimate, de personalizing conventions of print publication, we can only s ee this play when we compar e the printed poems with the manuscripts (Warner 285). What Dickinson read in her lifetime and the way readers would see her poetry in the 1860s and the 1890s relied upon prin t publication. If we i gnore this aspect of Dickinsons work, then we miss the radical ways Dickinson explored intimate and nonintimate publication. It seems to me that Dickinson util ized her understanding of literary production to blur the distinction between public and private genres. While manuscript study reveals this aspect of Dickinsons work, a more complete understanding of Dickinsons project necessitates an inquiry into the poems that made their way into print. In this chapter, I focus on the Drum and he found himself in the remarkable position of gaining fame as the editor of the effusions of his cracked poetess, saying that it is probable that the adviser sought to gain some time a little and find out with what strange creature he was dealing. I remember to have ventured on some criticism which she afterwards called surgery (62). Miller reads the stance Dickinson takes in her second letter to Higginson as a curious mask In this letter there are truths and there are actual distortions of the truth The characterization of herself as a new poet is a pose; her humility is a pretense (63-64); for complete details, see Chapter Three and Four in Millers T he Poetry of Emily Dickinson Although I tend to view Dickinsons choice of Higginson as a mistake, for he did remark of Whitman in The Atlantic Monthly (December 1867) that it is no discredit to Walt Whitman that he wrote Leaves of Grass, only that he did not burn it afterwards (753), I am convinced by Millers analysis that Dickinson adopted poses in her relation to Higginson, and that he alone could not have convinced her to delay to publish (L265). Dickinson, however, seems to have appreciated Higginson and found his essays to be influential. Richard Brantley notes that Higginsons Out-Door Papers (1863) seemed heavenly to Dickinson, and Higginsons chapters on My Outdoor Study, April Day, Water Lilies, The Procession of Flowers, and The Life of Birds appealed to the poet most (78). A few of these chapters were printed first as essays in the Atlantic Monthly See, for example, The Life of Birds (September 1862) and Procession of the Flowers (December 1862). Barton Levi St. Armand traces the parallels between Higginsons early prose and Dickinsons poetry; see pages 169, 187, 189-90, 195-204, 211, 220, 228, 252. 10


Beat publications of 1864 and the first single-author volume of Dickinsons poetry published in 1890.2 Although some scholars began to question th e myth of Dickinson as an icon of femininity as early as the 1960s, Dickinsons cha llenge to nineteenth-cen tury notions of public and private was not recognized or explored un til quite recently (Gailey 69). Dickinsons extensive workshop has been unveiled thr ough manuscript scholarship, which was aided substantially by R.W. Franklins publication of Dickinsons fasc icles in The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson in 1981. Manuscript study o ffers an entry point into Dickinsons poetic process, but nineteenth-century readers could not access Dickinsons workshop in the ways we can now. Prior violations of Dickinsons bedroom poetry, th e distinct zone inhabited by the mythic Emily Dickinson who was a shy primitive, operated behind the cloak of anonymity, which occurred with every Dickinso n poem printed during her lifetime, and behind the cloak of editorial decisions and procedures which occurred in the editions printed in 1890, 1891, and 1896 (Ruth Miller 3). While these volumes inaugurated Dickins on into the literary world, they also began the Dickin son myth. Higginsons portrait of Dickinson, particularly that she spent years without setting her foot be yond the doorstep, cast a shadow on the nineties 2 T.W. Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd edited the 1890 and 1891 editions of Dickinsons poetry. However, Todd alone edited the 1896 volume as well as an 1894 volume of the letters. Caroline Maun argues that Todds role as Dickinsons editor altered significantly when sh e assumed full control of the Dickinson projects with the publication of Dickinsons letters in 1894 When editing the Third Series by herself, Todd altered Dickinsons poems in an effort to ensure Dickin sons continued critical acceptance at a ti me when attention to the poet was waning (56-57). While Todds approach is an interesting area of inquiry, it is an area developed by earlier studies, not just Mauns, but Franklins The Editing of Emily Dickinson: A Reconsideration and Klaus Lubbers The Critical Revolution. In order to keep my discussion within a reasonable amount of pages, I choose to focus on the 1890 volume because it introduced Dickinson in to the popular domain. While it did not sell the most copies, it clearly made Dickinsons name familiar since the Second and the Third Series sold well over 10,000 copies. The editing procedures and format of the 1891 volume link it very closely with the first volume. As studies have shown, when Todd takes control the editorial changes become more substantial and exclusionary. The sales indicate that Dickinson remained a popular poet throughout the 1890s, even though Buckingham claims that the Dickinson rage was largely over after January 1892 (xiii). Howeve r, what he seems to mean is that while the First Series was predominantly ignored by eminent genteel critics, these reviewers could no longer keep silent about the Second Series. Dickinson remained ignored or ravaged by elite critics, but the widespread noncritical enthusiasm for her work continued through out the decade (xiii). 11


editions as well as the handful of poems that were printed duri ng her lifetime (Buckingham 13). The notion that she wrote everything absolutely without the thought of publication, and solely by way of expression of the wr iters own mind became accepted as truth (13). When we deconstruct this truth, we discover the subt lety and the radicalism of Dickinsons opus. The cloak of anonymity during Dickinsons life, combined with editorializing after her death, regulated Dickinsons poetry to the bedro om, and made it easy for readers and scholars to believe Dickinson had no regard or concer n for the world around her. Karen Dandurands article, New Dickinson Civil War Publicati ons (1984), combined with Shira Woloskys book, Emily Dickinson: A Voice of War (1984), which is to date the only book-length study on the topic of Dickinson and the Civil War, marked a new era in Dickinson sc holarship, which focused on how Dickinson participated in the social, po litical, and literary spheres surrounding her. Woloskys contextualization of Dickinsons work w ithin an era of war elucidates the poetry in a new way. Wolosky shows that Dickinsons portra yal in many poems and letters of the world as an uncertain and treacherous place stems at l east in part from the Civil War: Dickinsons preoccupation with anguish and loss need not be s een as the product of an individual and morbid imagination (36).3 3 For an overview of Dickinson criticism centered on the Ci vil War, see Faith Barretts essay, Public Selves and Private Spheres: Studies of Emily Dickinson and the Civil War, 1984-2007. See also Faith Barretts and Cristanne Millers anthology of Civil War Poetry, which contains nine teen Dickinson poems. For an overview of Dickinsons literary connections, see Jack Cappss Emily Dickinsons Reading See also the Emily Dickinson Journals special issue on Emily Dickinsons reading (Spring 2010; Volume 19, Issue 1). The Dickinson Periodicals Project an online archive started in 1993, aims to study the religious philosophical, and social de bates that were represented in Emily Dickinsons periodical reading (1844-1886) ( Welcome, para. 1). Similarly to Shira Woloskys conclusion, the editors of the Periodicals Project remark that Dickinson was responding as much to social debates as she was to her own personal or metaphysical crises. Her poems on the mind, madness and death are often cited as evidence to her own psychological stat e but these topics were also freque ntly discussed in the periodicals (Welcome, para. 2). It is clear to me that arguments regarding Dickinsons disregard for and isolation from the events of her time are unfounded. 12


The Drum Beat Poems Prior to 1984, the general assumption was that Dickinson gave up hope of being published because her poems, too advanced for the time, were rejected by editors (Dandurand 17). While contemporary scholarship has unveiled the complicated layers contributing to and resulting from Dickinsons delay to publish (L265), earlier scholars ove r-simplified the issue, and assumed Dickinson feared rejection and thus feared submitting her poems to be printed.4 One recorded complaint [exists] about the renderi ng of any of her poems in print (Franklin 1). Dickinsons comment appears in a letter to Higginson followi ng the 1866 publication of A Narrow Fellow in the Grass. According to Franklin, the poem was published on February 14, 1866 under the title The Snake in the Springfield Daily Republican with an added question mark that is not present in th e 1865 or 1872 manuscript versions: You may have met Him did you not [?] His notice instant is, Dickinson writes to Higginson, Lest you meet my Snake and suppose I deceive it was robbed of me defeated too of the third line by the punctuat ion. The third and fourth were one I had told you I did not print I feared you mi ght think me ostensible (L316).5 Despite Dickinsons anger at being robbed, at least ten of her poems came before the public in her lifetime, each of them 4 For Martha Nell Smiths discussion of the distinction Dickinson drew between print and publish, see Chapter One of Rowing in Eden 5 In Johnsons 1955 variorum, he claims that the Republican had printed the poem as three 8-line stanzas and had rendered the third and fourth lines You may have met him did you not, His notice instant is. Johnson also notes that Bianchi and Hampsons 1924 The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson renders the lines as You may have met him, did you not? His notice sudden is. Johnson reports that there are only two fair copies (712-714) while Franklins 1998 editio n says there are three fair copies (one lost) (951). According to Franklins variorum, the 1891 version of Poems renders line three with a comma after him and after not. 13


anonymously, chiefly in newspapers. These random appearances were acts of admiration, love turned to larceny, as Susan Dickinson, her siste r-in-law and Amherst neighbor, described them in her obituary of the poet (Frankl in 1). While Dickinson agreed to delay to publish in 1862, she acquiesced to an appeal for aid to the sick and wounded Union soldiers in 1864, although she escaped fame by submitting anonymously (Dandurand 27). In 1864, five poems appeared in New York City and Brooklyn Two of the poe ms were reprinted in Springfield and one in Boston. Within two months, five poems made a tota l of ten separate appear ances in four cities (17). Although Higginson may have encourag ed Dickinson not to publish due to her eccentricity, or for being Wayward (L265), the re prints in 1864 indicate that editors across various cities and publications recognized the value of Dickinsons work, and while Dickinson was forced to relinquish editorial control, she ac quiesced in this case, pe rhaps to assist in the only way to she knew how, which coincides with her normal formula of sending poems as gifts:6 Three poems appeared in a wartime fund-raising paper called Drum Beat Thirteen issues of this newspaper were published in conjunction with the Brooklyn and Long Island Fair to raise money for the United States Sanitary Commission, the civilian charity providin g medical care and supplies to the Union Army. (Dandurand 18) The three Drum Beat poems were: Blazing in Gold and que nching in Purple (Fr321B), which appeared on February 29; Flowers Well if anybody (Fr95A), which appeared on March 2; 6 Over the course of her lifetime, more than six hundred manuscripts, representing a few over five hundred poems, had been sent to others (Franklin 29). Dickinsons general formulation was to send her poems along with or embedded in letters, an activity which will be explored in Chapter Two, and these poems often arrived to celebrate a happy occasion, such as One Sister have I in our Hous e (Fr5A), which was sent to Sue, perhaps for her twentyeighth birthday (L197), and Fr1191, which was sent To Sue with flowers on her [fortieth] birthday (L356). More often, however, Dickinson gave poems to console during times of crisis, such as: It is not dying hurts us so, (Fr528), which was sent to Louise and Frances Norcross after the death of their father (L278); Unable are the Loved to die (Fr951), which Sue received after the d eath of her sister (L305); an d three poems were presented to Sue after the death of her son, Gilb ert, in 1883: Pass to the Rendezvous of Light (Fr1624), Climbing to reach the costly Heavens (Fr1626), and Expanse cannot be lost (Fr1625). 14


and These are the days when Birds come back (Fr122B), which appeared on March 11th.7 Franklin estimates that Dickinson copied Blazi ng in Gold into Fascicle 13 in early 1862; Flowers into Fascicle 4 about summer 1859; a nd These are the days when Birds come back into Fascicle 6 in late 1859. Unfortunately, the autograph originals on whic h the printed poems were based no longer exist, and thus we cannot see how Dickinson pres ented the poems she may have sent to Richard Storrs, the editor of Drum Beat 8 Dandurand contends that Di ckinson undoubtedly introduced variations in mechanics when, possibly as much as five years after entering the poems in fascicles, she made the copies that were the s ource of the poems published (21). Like all of Dickinsons poems printed before T. H. Johnsons 1955 variorum edition,9 one might conclude that the Drum Beat editor substituted commas for most of the dashes. However, this impression is not confirmed by comparison with the Fascicle 6 manuscript, reproduced in Manuscript Books where most of the marks rendered by Johnson as dashes look as much, or more, like commas angled downward to the right, or like indeterminate dots. (21) Dandurands point about Dickinsons indeterm inate handwriting touches upon a central issue of Dickinson scholarship, which debates whet her or not we can decipher Dickinsons grammatical intentions, and whether or not manuscript study offers truer versions of 7 The fourth 1864 publication di scovered by Dandurand is Success is co unted sweetest (Fr112 ), which appeared on April 27 in the Brooklyn Daily Union. Prior to Dan durands article, the first prin t appearance of Success is counted sweetest was assumed to be in A Masque of Poets 1878. 8 For Flowers, Franklin records that there are two manuscr ipts (one lost), about 1859. The lost manuscript was the source for publication on 2 March 1864 in Drum Beat (132). For These are the days, there are five manuscripts (one in part, two lost) about 1859 and 1883 (155). Dickinson may have sent a pencil copy of the poem to Susan Dickinson about autumn 1859, and Franklin again notes that one of the lost manuscripts was the source for publication on 11 March 1864 in Drum Beat About 1883 Dickinson made a pencil copy of the first two stanzas, a copy which she retained (155-157). There are two fair copies about 1862 and 1866, and one or two now lost of Blazing in gold. The earliest one extant, from about early 1862, is in Fascicle 13 A copy now lost was the source for publication on 29 February 1864 in Drum Beat (338-339). Franklins variorum includes the Drum Beat version for each of the poems. 9 Johnsons 1955 edition is the first scholarly, complete edition to bring together all of Dickinsons poems and to present them as close to the manuscript versions as possible. 15


Dickinsons work. I will address this discussion in later chapters. My focus here is Dandurands important conclusion: we cannot assume that in printing commas Storrs [the Drum Beat editor] was deliberately altering the punctuat ion. In any event, none of the poems is defeated by punctuation so placed as to change the sense of the lines The three poems in Drum Beat were Dickinsons contribution to the war effort, not something of which she had been robbed. (22) Dandurand explains that copies of the poems may have been provided by Dickinson specifically for publication, but if the Drum Beat editor published poems already in his possession he would have first asked her permission (23). Nineteenth-century r eaders would bring to Drum Beat the mass-mediated selfunderstanding of the Civil War (Warner 270). Northern civilians would access the war through accounts printed in periodicals such as Harpers New Monthly Scribners and the Atlantic Monthly For example, Panic Terror, an October 1861 article in the Atlantic Monthly attempts to consol readers by arguing that other nations have survived similar wars and so will America, despite the Union retreat following the First Ba ttle of Bull Run, which occurred in July: The civil war which ours most resembles is that which was waged in England a little more than two centuries ago, and whic h is known in English history as The Great Civil War shameful exhibitions of fear, flights of whole bodies of troops, and displays of terror panic were very common things with our English ancestors who fought and flourished. (496-497) Following the essay is an unsigned poem dedicated to Our Country: O Land, the measure of our prayers, / Hope of the world in grief and wrong, / Be thine the tribute of the years, / The gift of Faith, the crown of So ng! (506). Dickinsons Drum Beat poems continue this theme of hope, as do other poems in the Atlantic Monthly despite the procession of years. Oliver Wendell Holmess poem in the February 1864 edition of the Atlantic Monthly continues the optimism of Our Country, but does so, it seems, to recrui t: Now, men of the North! Will you join in the strife / For country, for freedom, for honor, for life? / The giant grows blind in his fury and spite, 16


/ One blow on his forehead will settle the fight! (244). Within this declaration of a soon-tocome Union victory, notably titled The Last Ch arge, there is a clear sense of necessitythe North must win, or else we must submit to be considered cowards; and we shall deserve to be so held, if, with our superior numbers, and still more superior means, we cannot maintain the Republic against the rebels (Panic Terror 506). While assurance for a Union victory is clear, in order to win, The life-drops of crimson mu st be shed, but are done so for liberty (Holmes 244). The force of hope is muted in Dickinsons poems, as is the presence of death, although the effect of death plays a role, and the Drum Beat readership could not ignore nor forget this aspect of the war. After the battle of Antietam, for example, readers could fi nd numerous accounts of wars violence. In the Springfield Republican correspondents referred to Antietam variously as the largest and most destruc tive battle of the whole war; the bloodiest field of this most bloody war; and the greatest battle ever fought on th is continent (Hoffman 8). New Yorkers could even see the battle through Matthew Bradys October 1862 Broadway photographic exhibit entitled The Dead at Antietam (Hoffman 12).10 In contrast to The name of it is Autumn (Fr465), which Tyler Hoffman notes is scarred by gra phic violence (7), Dickinsons contributions to the Union cause portray hopeful narrators, who recognize death and see in nature too much pathos (Fr95A), but who also look forward to the sacrament of summer days (Fr122B). Dickinsons poetry is u ndoubtedly from the point of view of a civilian, who is unable to identify fully with the experience of war, to be wholly integrated into its frame of violence (Hoffman 1). While other Dickinson poems are more graphic, her Drum Beat 10 Tyler Hoffmans article offers a detailed listing of different newspaper accounts of the battle. 17


publications are from a civilian, Northern pers pectivefor both the poe t and the Drum Beat readers, the war is very far away, yet also capable of creeping in to the drawing room. Although the poems printed in Drum Beat are few, I agree with Dandurand that the Drum Beat poems were Dickinsons contribution to the war effort. The significance of this contribution should not be underestimated. The three poems reveal a specific moment when Dickinson converted her process of sending poems as gifts in letters to intimate acquaintances into a gift-giving process that is mediated by mass print publication. Drum Beat readers could not help but see the poems within the context of warwar was ever ywhere within the periodical, and interpretations of the poems would be marked by this unavoidable contex t. Because of this, the poems in Drum Beat addressed a public that is no longer in existence. We see the poems differently than Drum Beat readers since the poems are most often read today without the Civil War or the periodical to provide context. However, revisitin g the context provides some sense of a public addressed by these texts. It is not necessarily a public for which they were written, but it is a specific public determined by the time, th e periodicals circulat ion, and the Civil War: Although short lived, the Drum Beat was an important newspaper. It was published daily except Sunday from 22 Februa ry to 5 March, with an extra issue on 11 March. Professionally edited, illustrate d and printed, it included poetry and prose by leading writers, and had a circ ulation of six thousand copies daily. (Dandurand 19) Despite the specificity, the Drum Beat public is not a concrete audi ence, which is a crowd witnessing itself in visible space, as w ith a theatrical public (Warner 66). The Drum Beat public is text-based, and although we can determine some of its features due to information about the periodicals circulation, it is a space of discourse organized by discourse. It is self-creating and self-organized; and herein lie s its power, as well as its elusiv e strangeness (68-69). The Drum Beat public is not an isolated, concre te, clearly-determined totality that we can see; in fact, it is a public that has vanished. However, thanks to scholarly interest and advances in 18


technology,11 Drum Beats public continues to create itself in new and various ways. It may have once been an open-ended public that reached about six t housand. But subscribers could leave the newspaper on a public bench or give it to a neighbor; its public would be constantly fluctuating and indeterminate. Now, too, its boundaries and its organi zation are set by its own discourse rather than by ex ternal frameworks (73-74). Richard Storrs, the editor of Drum Beat and Dickinson herself could never have predic ted that the periodical would be read or discussed in the twenty-first -century. The fact that it can reveals that the pe riodical, then and now, addresses people who are iden tified primarily through their pa rticipation in the discourse and who therefore cannot be known in advance ( 74). Locating Dickinsons three texts within Drum Beat represents an important mo ment for Dickinson studies. Drum Beats 1864 public offers an entry point into how Northerners w ho were removed from the violence would have accessed the war, and Dickinsons poems within this periodical speak to her perception of a world in which a civil, fratricidal war was not just necessary, but, as some argued, ordained by God. We should not forget, however that two of the poems were most likely written before the war began, and thus the context shows more a bout how the poems may ha ve been interpreted during the time period than it does about how Dickinson felt in part icular about the Civil War. Dickinsons letters and letter-poems show, as I will de tail in the next chapter, that she does draw a distinction between a poem written for a particular purpose and a poem given for a particular purpose. 11 Dandurand does not specify how she read Dickinsons poetry within Drum Beat and the periodical is not available on any online databases that I could find. However, the Library of Congress appears to have had a copy of it that went missing on 2-15-2005 (call number: E632.D79). While this is very unfortunate, of course, it does oddly illustrate Warners claim that discursive publics are open-ended and unforeseeable. 19


The first Dickinson poem, titled Sunset (Fr321B),12 appeared in Drum Beats second week of publication. Rather th an Dickinsons common quatrain, th e poem is an octave. With alternating lines of pentameter and tetrameter and an identifiable rhyme scheme, one would categorize this as an example of a more traditional poem, a lthough the rhyme is not typical: abcbdcdc. (In this scheme, I consider lines 3, 6, and 8, ending with horizon, barn and gone to be slant rhymes, although it is a stretch.) As the given title implies, the poem describes the setting sun. After Blazing in gold, and quenching in purple, the sun, Then at the feet of the old horizon, can be seen Laying her spotte d face to die. While the poem closes by personifying the sun in a happy way ( And the Juggler of Day is gone!), Drum Beat readers would not have missed the image of death. Rath er than a celebration of dawn, which may have been out of place in a newspaper dedicated to he lping those ravaged by war, the poem celebrates the sunset, which is typically asso ciated with the end of life. In this case, however, the sunset could be seen as hopeful for the end of the war, rather than linked to the end of life although the sun Laying down to die li nks both the poem and the sun w ith death in an unusual way. While not explicit in the poem, hope could exist in the fact that the sun will rise tomorrow and bring the country one day cl oser to the end of war. Two days later, another Dickinson poem app eared entitled Flowers (Fr95A). This poem is Dickinsons variation of a sonnet with tetramet er lines that roughly foll ow a rhyme scheme of ababbcdc decede, although many of the slant rhymes are again a stre tch. The octave idolizes the way With which flowers humble men, and the na rrator offers all the Daisies / Which upon the 12 Unfortunately, since the manuscripts from which the printed versions derived are missing, we cannot know if Dickinson submitted the poems w ith the titles or if they were given by th e editor. Dandurand notes that Success is counted sweetest (Fr112), which was published in the Brooklyn Daily Union on April 27th 1864, most likely without Dickinsons consent, is the only known Dickinso n poem published in her lifetime without a title (25). The typical editorial approach for printed editions, including the 1890s editions, was to add titles to nearly all of the poems. 20


hill-side blow to whomever Can the ecstacy de fine. The sextet argues that there is Too much pathos in their faces / For a simple breast like mine! The poem ends by transferring the inability to define the power of flowers to the system of esthetics of Butterflies, which is Far superior to mine! On the surface, th e poem embodies innocence: the narrator goes into raptures over flowers and butterflies, admitting that language fails to describe their power over men. But flowers are characterist ic at funerals, and Daisies in particular invoke the grave.13 Men are humbled before flowers in the poem, and the narrator sees Too much pathos in their faces. The context of the Civil War would not be ignored by Drum Beat readers, and the poem subsists on more than just a blissful account of flowers and butterflies. Men are also humbled before death, and the narrator cannot withstand the pathos in th eir faces, which refers to the faces of the flowers, but also invokes the faces of menmore specifically, the wounded soldiers that Drum Beat is designed to aid. The narrators simple breast may be unable bear the amount of sadness and sympathy arising out of so much death. Dickinson writes to Higginson in February 1863 while he is stationed in South Carolina, War feels to me an oblique place I found you were gone, by accident, as I find Systems, or Seasons of the year, and obtain no cause but suppose it a treason of Progress, that disso lves as it goes (L280). For Dickinson, the violence of a fratricidal war w ould indeed be difficult to fathom (Wolosky 37). The narrator of Flowers feels humbled amidst the power of nature but this is a nature infused with death, just as the Sunset is more than just an ordinary sunsetit is when the sun lays down to die. 13 A number of other poems portray Daisies as synonymous with death, such as When we with Daisies lie (Fr36), Indolent housewife in Daisies lain! (Fr238), Whom none but Daisies, know (Fr319), and Here, where the Daisies fit my Head (Fr985). In Fascicle 13, where Fr319 is found, the poem ends with the line, Whom none but Daisies, know and directly below Daisies Dickinson writes Beetles a much more gruesome image of life beyond the grave. Only two other poems use beetles in this manner: Fr1068 and Fr1150. 21


Dickinsons Drum Beat publications begin with a typi cal symbol of death, although a hopeful note could be unearthed from Sunset, followed by an account of natures power that seems to be rapturous, but is also mournful and displays natures incoherencethe narrator cannot define the ecstacy and cannot endure the pathos. The presence of Dickinsons poetry ends on March 11th with October (Fr122B). Contemporary readers lack the assistance of a title, and it may be difficult to decipher what days are being referred to in the opening line: These are the days when the birds come back. The poems narrator yearns for true summer, rather than the current fraud: Oh, sacrament of summer days, / Oh last communion in the haze, / Permit a child to join! / Thy sacred emblem s to partake, / Thy consecrated bread to take, / And thine immortal wine! Presumably, the narra tor speaks about a day in October when the skies resume / The old, old sophistries of June, / A blue and gold mistake. In the narrators memory, summer becomes so holy that the na rrator imagines a scene of communion with summers immortal wine. The true summer seems long, long ago (Junes arguments, now specious, are old, old), and while the fraud ca nnot cheat the bee, the narrator is Almost Induce[d] to believe in the plausibility that summer has returned. Since October appeared in March, Drum Beat readers did not have long to wait befo re summers approach, when A very few, a bird or two, will take a backward look. While the poems opening portrays the return of birds, and contemporary readers may not find a ny substance for symbolism, the context of the Civil War adds a darker significance to the returning of A very few.14 In addition, Dickinson associates summer with the wars end and Hi gginsons return: Should there be other Summers, would you perhaps come? (L280). As Wolosky a nd other scholars have noted, Dickinsons use 14 Of course, due to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghan istan, contemporary readers may very well see invocations of war in these poems. Part of the recent interest in Dickinson and the Civil War, according to Faith Barrett, stems from U.S. foreign policy and the current political climate [which] have also served as the impetus for a wideranging scholarly conversation not only about representa tions of violence, but also about the nationalist and religious loyalties that fuel war-time ideologies (102). 22


of martial imagery, especially to describe the ap pearance of nature, refl ects Dickinsons reaction to her climate.15 The association between autumnal la ndscapes and the war would have been familiar to Dickinson, just as it would be to ni neteenth-century readers, which may be why the title October, rather th an Autumn, was chosen. While October seems at first more hopeful th an the previous two, Dickinsons choice of communion, since wine symbolizes the blood of Christ, and the invocation of the immortal sphere again reveal an allusion to deat h. In fact, the poem can be read as a slant commentary on or response to the not ion (expressed, in the white heat of the moment, by many of Dickinsons contempor aries) that the ongoing Civil War was to be interpreted as a gr eat purgative sacrifice of bl ood-offering demanded of an erring nation by an angry God. (Cody 25-26) 16 The obliqueness of war for Dickinson, which she s ees as a causeless Sys tem or a treason of Progress, that dissolves as it goes (L280), requires her to battle with the comforting power and the frightening incoherence of nature. The implication of death can be found in al l three poems, but it remains very subtle, perhaps because Dickinson deemed insinuation ra ther than force more appropriate; she could have sent, for example, The name of it is Autumn / The hue of it is Blood (Fr465), which Franklin dates as late 1862. And compared to Dickinsons understanding of death in her letters, these poems are very subtle and hopefu l indeed: Perhaps Death gave me awe for friends striking sharp and early, for I held them si nce in a brittle love of more alarm, than 15 For example, Wolosky reads They dropped like Flakes (Fr545), a poem previously cataloged by Thomas Ford as a war poem, as a comparison of battle to snow and wi nd, which far from making th e death of soldiers seem more natural, makes nature seem sudden and frightening (37) In Whole Gulfs of Red (Fr468), the violence of war is a figure for nature (38). Wolosky also notes a number of poems in which sunsets or storms are described as battles: Fr182, Fr629, Fr752, Fr1146, Fr1164, Fr1418, Fr1501 Fr1618. While The name of it is Autumn (Fr465) has been associated with one of the most bloody and traumatic periods in our national historythe season that John Greenleaf Whittier referred to as the Battle Autumn of 1862, David Cody notices the sacrificial meaning within the battlefield imagery (Cody 25). 16 See Woloskys Chapter Two for more on the Civil War and the rhetoric of apocalypse. 23


peace (L280). Whether Dickinson chose these partic ular three, or Storrs already had them in his possession and asked or assumed Dick insons permission, the readership of Drum Beat was most likely taken into account. In March of 1864, both sides had been ravaged by three years of war and the end was not yet in si ght. There was no need to hide the image of death, and yet a bold reminder of Blood may have seemed unnecessa ry. In all three, death intertwines with hopethe sun will rise again no matter what occurs on the battlefield, flow ers will continue to grow, and the birds will come back. The violence of war necessitates a re -evaluation of nature, yet these three poems rely upon natures ability to offer solace, and they are given to a newspaper responsible for raising funds to aid th e Union army. While Wolosky argues the Civil War results in a world that Dickinson found overwhelmingly threatening, cruel, and chaotic, the Drum Beat poems are not wholly pessimisticthe y are poems printed in a periodical developed solely as a ch aritable contribution ( Wolosky pg? ). Whether or not they were written for the Union cause, the Drum Beat poems represent objects of beauty during a specific, violent moment in U.S. history given with the hope of re-writing natu re into something palpably charitable for those fighting a war Dickinson could not, and would never, fully comprehend. The 1890s Volumes Due to recent manuscript scholarship, which re mains an integral aspect in understanding Dickinsons re-visioning of genre and the public/p rivate distinction, contemporary scholars and readers may view the 1890s editions of Dickinsons poetry as wrong. In fact, single-author volumes of poetry written by women represen t objects that Dickinson read the least: As far as we know, while Dickinson ow ned single-author volumes of male American poetsEmerson, Longfellow, Holmes, and Bryant, for instanceand those of select British women poe tssuch as the Bronte sisters 1846 Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton and Elizabeth Barrett Brownings Last Poems she did not own any single-author volumes of poe ms by an American woman poet other than Jacksons 1870 Poems She encountered the poems of women like her in periodicals and antholog ies. (Socarides 5) 24


Willis Buckinghams Emily Dickinsons Reception in the 1890s (1989) was compiled in part to complicate the approach of twentieth-century Dick inson criticism, which has been a history of mischaracterizing the nineteenth-century recep tion (as mostly unfavorab le) for the purpose of writing against it (xii). While some of the 1890s genteel critics viewed Dickinsons poetry as perversion, Dickinsons Civil War publications challenge the assumption that Dickinsons casual use of religious imagery seemed sacrile gious to her contemporaries (Dandurand 21). Buckingham writes that the nine ties reviewers were Dickin sons contemporaries or near contemporaries, and their horizon of expectations could not have been wholly unpresupposed by her. Whether she shared or rejected those litera ry attitudes, they shap ed her projection of an ideal reader (xii). Despite the manipulation of Dickinsons first editors, the 1890s editions do reveal Dickinsons understanding of a reading publicone which her poems addressed as she experimented with materiality, poetic addressee, and genre boundaries within the manuscripts. After Dickinsons death, her si ster-in-law, Susan Gilbert, who has been established by recent scholarship as an active member in Di ckinsons workshop, continued sending individual poems to periodicals one at a time. Only the st ature of the journal had increased, while the need for anonymity was gone (Franklin 2). Apparently, Lavinia, Dick insons sister, grew impatient with Sue and sought out T.W. Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, Dickinsons brothers mistress, without Sues knowledge: the 1890 volume must have come as a bitter surprise, for she did not learn of it until near the end, not knowing before late September that her husbands mistress was co-editor (Franklin 2). T.W. Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd made editorial decisions that one could argue devalue Dickin sons unconventionality, but I see these volumes and the responses to them as an important comp onent in understanding Di ckinsons work. While several studies aim to discover Dickinsons intentions with regard to print and publication, I 25


explore the 1890s volumes and the reviews, noti ces, and prefaces because the volumes addressed publics in a different way than Di ckinsons manuscript, letter, and letter-poem publics. Ignoring printed editions and versions of the poems because one deems them wrong, it seems to me, subsumes the toying with medium, genre, and voice that Dickinsons entire body of work reveals. While the single-author volumes of poetry would be familiar to nineteenth-century readers, the 1890s editions are strange but necessary obje cts to consider within Dickinsons body of workthey exemplify what she was working with a nd against in her manuscripts; they represent the standards of the time, and reveal the acc epted, popularized, regularized, and simplified notions of what poetry must be. The editors introd uced the Poetess as much as, and often more than, the poetry itself, and the poems chosen and presented gave a far from accurate picture of Dickinsons work. Despite Susan Gilberts ro le in Dickinsons workshop, Higginson and Todd became Dickinsons primary editors. However, Lavinia had turned first to Sue as the editor after Dickinsons death (Franklin 2). Sue was clearly involved before this, and was the first to introduce it to Mabel Loomis Todd, for in 1882 the latter records in her diary: went in the afternoon to Mrs. Dickinsons. She read me so me strange poems by Emily Dickinson. They are full of power (Smith 155). One of Samuel Bo wles 1864 letters also su pports the idea that Sue was active in Dickinsons workshop: Speaking of writing, do you & Emily give us some gems for the Springfield Market, & then come to the Fair (Smith 156). Martha Nell Smith details the ways in which Sue may have been the one sending Dickinsons poems out for publication, and the few surviving letters from Sue to Dickin son indicate Sue was a ttempting to publish both 26


Dickinsons and her own poetry during Dickinsons lifetime: Has girl read Republican ? / It takes as long to start our / Fleet as the Burnside (Smith & Hart 96). 17 Dickinsons 1890s editions we re cleverly marketed since an unknown name and an unconventional style risked a lack of sales: Late in 1890, in time for the Christmas trade, Roberts Brothers of Boston issued a delicatel y pretty book of poems by a deceased and unknown writer named Emily Dickinson (Buckingham xi). Poems by Emily Dickinson was edited by two of her friends, with the first series appearing in 1890 and the second in 1891. The fascicles were dismantled. The simplest poems were ofte n chosen, and then regularized and categorized to simplify them even further. Higginson s 1890 Preface describes Dickinsons verses as belong[ing] emphatically to what Emerson long si nce called the Poetry of the Portfolio, something produced absolutely without the thou ght of publication (Monteiro iiv). Higginson also presents the Poetess to the world by de scribing her as a recluse by temperament and habit, literally spending years w ithout setting her foot beyond the doorstep (iiv). To reinforce this image of the poet/recluse, the follo wing poem represents the books Prelude: THIS is my letter to the world, That never wrote to me, The simple news that Nature told, With tender majesty. Her message is committed To hands I cannot see; For love of her, sweet countrymen, Judge tenderly of me! ( Monteiro? 9 ) Emily Dickinson becomes a letter-writer to an unaw are world, and here for the first time in print before a wide reading public, Dickinson asks from beyond the grave to be judged tenderly. 17 Smith and Harts focus in Open Me Carefully is to return Sue to her rightful place as Dickinsons mentor. See also Martha Nell Smiths Rowing in Eden particularly Chapters One, Two, Five, and Six, for Sues pivotal role in Dickinsons workshop. 27


The marketing strategy for this unknown poet seems rather clearshe is toned-down, regularized, and conveniently packaged. And this strategy worked. In 1890, the First Series went through numerous reprints with sales to taling 9,460. The First Series also came out in London in 1891 and sold 9,960 copies. In America in 1891, the Second Series sold 14,300. The Third Series which Todd alone edited and was pub lished in 1896, sold 19,980 (Buckingham 557-558). While some reviewers note d the strategies and effects of the editors, as I will discuss in more detail later, most rehashed what was wr itten in the Preface, or what Higginson and Todd wrote in their own reviews and notices. While Dickinsons sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert, was much more a friend and a litera ry confidant than Higginson or Todd, readers in general seemed to accept that Dickinsons poetry is introduced to the world by her friends, by two people who knew and appreciated her genius, and who have selected and arranged her verse with much critical, as well as with loving, judgment (Buckingham 24). The 1890 edition contains one hundred and fift een poems, which are divided into four categories: Life, Love, Nature, a nd Time and Eternity. Helpful tit les, such as In a Library, Dawn, A Book, and The B ee, are often added. In addition, Higginson aligns her with poets who would be familiar to readers. Higgins on mentions Emerson in the first line of the Preface, and attempts to defend Dickinsons or iginality by describing it as suggestive of the poetry of William Blake flashes of wholly original and profound insight into nature and life often set in a seemingly whimsical or even rugged frame (Monteiro v). Success is counted sweetest / By those who neer succeed (Fr112), wh ich opens the edition, contains an editorial note: [Published in A Masque of Poets at the request of H.H., the authors fellowtownswoman and friend.] (13). Readers would recognize H.H. as Helen Hunt Jackson and may recognize the poem itself. If they had not read it in A Masque, then the editorial note suggests 28


that certain poems have been good enough for pr ior publication; therefore, one should keep reading. Higginson writes the poems are here published as they were written, with very few and superficial changes (v). R.W. Franklin, Dick insons most recent and most significant editor, explains Higginsons and Todds s uperficial changes: they adju sted texts to public standards of spelling, capitalizatio n, and punctuation, and altered them in the interests of conventional usage and of clarity in rhyme, rhythm, and meaning (Franklin 3) More drastic, long-lasting, and subtle changes, however, are reflected in Higginsons claim that Dickinson was as invisible to the world as if she had dwelt in a nunnery, and the inclusion of poems to support this claim (Monteiro v). For example, the Love section, which is the briefest, opens with an exclamation: MINE by the right of the white election! Mine, by the graves repeal / Titled, confirmed, delirious charter! (43). While Higginson may have viewed the changes in each poem to be very few and superficial, his and Todds construction of th e edition lead to the perception of Dickinson as a recl usive spinster who sought to be part of the white election. The sections second poem, Bequest, explains: YOU left me, sweet, two legacies, A legacy of love A Heavenly Father would content, Had He the offer of; You left me boundaries of pain Capacious as the sea, Between eternity and time, Your consciousness and me. (44) Readers may have concluded that love in Dickinsons life consisted of a passionate, excited devotion to God because she could fi nd only rejection and pain on earth. While the volumes printed in the 1890s were familiar literary objects, the readers at the end of the nineteenth-century woul d have approached Dickinsons poetry differently than we do 29


today. Dickinsons poems are for the first tim e presented in a mass medium with her name attached, and they are made to fit the nineteenth-century mold: The poems chosen for publication in the ni neties are among her least difficult. Her editors knew there was little enthusiasm at the time for poems as riddles The editors also did what they could to redu ce the oddity of the poems they did choose. Another reason Dickinson found so much acceptance is that her work was experienced as fulfilling many of the comm on readers religious and sentimental expectations for poetry. If it is surprising to learn that two of Dickinsons erotic poems were chosen for the first and second editions, My river runs to thee [Fr219] and Wild nights, wild nights [Fr 269], it is not astonishing that each was mentioned, among hundreds of reviews, only once. (Buckingham xv-xvi) The regularization and choice of poems by Higginson and Todd enabled the volume to be accessible, but the popular enthusiasm for Dickinson can also be attributed to her rejection of proper rhyme and rhythm since readers were accu stomed to reading verses in good form but filled with platitudes of thoughtworn-out ideas re-dressed, re-arranged and re-served (Buckingham 10). Mabel Loomis Todd wrote th e above statement in November 1890 in Home Magazine, a womens monthly in Washington D.C. th at Todd worked for as a book columnist (10). Higginson also used his literary status a nd his position as Dickinso ns friend to prepare readers for a poet who, curiously indifferent to all conventional rules, had ye t a rigorous literary standard of her own (13). Higginsons Pref ace to the 1890 edition, according to Buckingham, was repeated more than any other comment during the decade, and published opinions often reiterate the confusion arising from flashes of wholly original and profound insight into nature and life being presented in a whimsical or even rugged frame (14). For example, a November review in St. Joseph Daily News remarks, in the depth of sentiment and sweetness of note that characterizes the majority of these poems one forgets entirely whatever may be lacking of the rhyme and metre that conventionality has stamped as the signia of poesy. In the face of the subject matter of the verse, a criticism on matters of poetic formula, grammar or such details would be out of place. (Buckingham 26) 30


Another review in the Boston Budget which Mable Loomis Todds sc rapbook attributes to Lilian Whiting, describes the poems as almost a new language, and wonders what results would have been insured had the author subjected hers elf to careful study of poetic ideals, had she learned to chip and polish the marble. It might be that such work as hers would lose in strength rather than gain in melody by such revision (28). The 1890s reviews and reactions, definite ly influenced by Higginsons and Todds comments regarding Dickinsons lack of desire to publish, seemed to see Dickinson as writing only for herself; thus, she was unconcerned with and unaware of poetic rules. While many noted the power of this lack of c onventionality, the New England li terati, according to Buckingham, had a different point of view. Rather than positing that Dick inson intentionally ignored and altered poetic conventions, Arlo Ba tes, a well-known poet, novelist, critic, and editor, assumes, she is not so much disdainful of conventions as she seem s insensible to them. There is evidence that Miss Dickinson wa s not without some vague feeling for metre and rhythm, yet she was apparently entirely unconscious that her own lines often had neither and constantly violated the canons of both. (29) Even within Bates overall diss atisfaction, he admits, there is hardly a line of her work, however, which fails to throw out some gleam of genuine original power, of imagination, and of real emotional thought. There is real poetic motive here (29). Bates appreciation is fleeting, and he surmises incorrectly that Dickinsons power will de light the few, but will not endure to the end of time, although he does contend that her poetry could have done so if she had possessed the aptitude and the will to learn tech nical skill (33). While the establishment critics of the first edition in general reflect the wish that Dickinson had followed tradition, many of the general reviews not only appreciate d Dickinsons lack of technical skill, but aligned her verse with that of Emerson. 31


The alignment between the two poets was not le ft entirely to chance, as Higginson writes in the first line of the Preface that Emerson w ould have considered Dickinsons verses as belong[ing] emphatically to the Poetry of the Portfolio (Monteiro iiv). Two of Dickinsons poems were widely attributed to Emerson until th e 1890 edition rectified the situation: I taste a liquor never Brewed (Fr207) appeared anonymously as The May-Wine in the Springfield Daily Republican (4 May 1861) and the Springfield Weekly Republican (11 May 1861), and Success is counted sweetest (Fr112) appeared anonymously in the Brooklyn Daily Union (27 April 1864), and as Success in A Masque of Poets (1878). Success and I taste a liquor never Brewed are both categorized under Life, the first section of th e 1890 edition. Charles Goodrich Whiting, one of the establishmen t critics who speaks highly of Dickinson and ignores the obsessive hand-wringings over faulty t echnique, writes in the November 16, 1890 Springfield Republican that her poems in their apparent willfulness of intonation often recall Emersons, but also as much by the character of their t hought, for she was a tran scendentalist by native essence, and her intuitions were her reasons (Buckingham 15-16). Whiting quotes I taste a liquor never brewed in full, suggesting that Emersons Humble Bee may have had some share in [the poem] and which in its childlike quaintness recalls Blake (17). Higginson invokes the link to Blake in the Preface, yet a review in Hartford Courant remarks, Emerson will be more in the thought of the general reader (22) While numerous reviews simply re-state (and accept as fact) that Dickinson wrote only for he rself, seeing the poems as the outpouring of a somewhat lonely, meditative mind, reviewers also aligned Dickinson with Emerson: The true poet, we know, need not of necessity give his or he r feelings vent at all, so they are but felt; and true poetry breathes from each of these verses (26). In contrast to the more morbid, pathological views of Dickins on during the early and mid-twentie th-century, 1890s readers seem 32


to see Dickinsons reclusiveness as a choice that followed Emersons prescription for true poetry in The Poet: O poet! Thou shalt leave the world, and know the muse only. Thou shalt not know any longer the times, customs, graces, po litics, or opinions of men, but shalt take all from the muse. The world is full of renunciations and apprenticeships, and this is thine; thou must pass for a fool and a churl for a long season. This is the screen and the sheath in which Pan has pr otected his well-beloved flower, and thou shalt be known only to thine own, and they shall console thee with tenderest love. (Porte and Morris 197) 18 The Hartford Courant reviewer, who notably adds her feel ings to be possibl e in a true poet while Emersons diction is decidedly masculine, designates what Dickinson must have seen as the mission of her volume by quoting If I can stop one heart from breaking (Fr982): If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain. (Buckinham 26) This poem encapsulates the restorative power of poetry as well as the ideal role of ones awareness of Nature. Emerson writes in The Poet that it is dislocatio n and detachment from the life of God, that makes things ugly, [and] the poet re-attaches things to nature and the Whole, reattaching even artificial things and violations of nature, to nature, by a deeper insight (Porte and Morris 189). The speaker seeks to cool one pa in or help one fainting robin back into his nest and these tiny actions will result in a life not lived in vain. While Dickinsons point of view about what makes a worthy life may not be as simple as aiding only one robin or only one life, the reviewer sees the mission of her volume in this statement.19 The perceived mission of 18Charles Whiting writes that the uncommon book represents t he special and serious revelation of a soul apart, by its own choice, but yet vividly sympathetic with its kind, and cognizant of human experience by its intuitive revelations (21). 19 A contemporary reader reaches the same conclusion regarding how Dickinson saw herself and the mission of her poetry. Reverend Bruce A. Bode writes in a 2001 se rmon that although Emily Dickinson struggled with the ultimate questions of existence and the divine level of th ings, struggled with her faith in the goodness of creation 33


Dickinsons poetry, even if contextualized within the sublimity of Emersonian thought, subsists in simplicity. Even if we now more fully unde rstand the complexity of Dickinsons workshop and poetic project, the 1890s readers saw her poetry in its most simplified form, and appreciated it for that simplicity, particularly since it cont rasted with the poems daring expression, their insight into life, love an d nature (Buckingham 26). Dickinsons familiarity with Emersons work is beyond debate. The Dickinson family owned thirteen different volumes of Em ersons prose and poetry, as well as The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson (1883) and Oliver Wendell Holmes 1885 biography of Emerson. In an 1876 letter to Mrs. T. W. Higginson, Dickinson describes Representative Men as a little Granite Book you can lean upon (L481). In addition, her initial letter to Higginson, when she asks whether or not her Verse is alive, references Emersons The Poet: For it is not metres, but a metre-making argument, that makes a poem, a thought so passionate and alive, that, like the spirit of a plant or an animal, it has an architecture of its own, and adorns nature with a new thing (Porte and Morris 186). A lthough Dickinson did not seek out, and actually avoided, Emerson, she may ha ve taken to heart his claim that metres alone do not make a poem. Higginson seems to restate Emerson in his explanation of Dickinsons work in the Preface to the 1890 edi tion: After all, when a thought takes ones breath away, a lesson on grammar seems an impe rtinence (Monteiro vi). Dickinsons poetry was perhaps too new a thing to adorn na ture as Emerson wanted the poet to do, but Dickinson is aware of, if not explicitly heeding, Emersons advice; even in the regularized form of the 1890s editions, Dickinsons poetry has an architec ture of its own. and its power, ultimately she came through and found a way to contribute to the world. I can imagine the poet asking, What good am I in the world? I cant make my self believe as others believe. But what I can do is stop one Heart from breaking by offering the thoughts, feelings, and words of my poetry and thus not live in vain (Mackenzie and Dana 46). 34


Despite the connection to Emerson that Higgins on in particular yearns to make explicit, Dickinson is still a poetess, and thus her literary and physical pr oximity to H.H. takes center stage, which is exemplified in the editorial not e for the first poem. The yoking of Dickinsons daring originality with a simple, pr etty presentation represents the e xpectations for a female poet. Dickinsons daringness stems not from her lack femininity, but from a freedom that could only result from such a cloistered, nun-like existen ce. Higginson, once again, put s forth this idea in his Preface, where the seclusion of the portfolio parallels the seclusi on of the poet, who was so secluded that she lived literally indoors by choice for many years who shrank even from the tranquil society of a New England college to wn, and yet loved her few friends with profound devotedness, and divided her life between them and her flowers (Buckingham 4).20 A gloss of the first fifty reviews reveals the repetition of key terms that offer an understanding of how readers saw the poetry. The object itself is often described in de tail: The cover and binding of this little volume are well f itted to its contents. The design of flowers in silver upon a white ground, with the letters at the top in gold, is in the best pos sible taste (24). It is a pretty volume (15), which is beautifully bound, with an ornament of the Indian pipe upon the cover, a typical flower in this case (22). The volume is very beautiful (22) and very dainty (25); it is daintily bound and beautiful ly printed, making a handsome gift book (26). Despite observations of Dickinsons vigor ous intellect (3), the descrip tions of the verses are often reductive: the stanzas are charming (9, 19, 31) modest, piquant, and spirited (10), magical (19), delightful (30) and touching (31). Reviewer s often do not include complete 20 Mabel Loomis Todd writes that the life of the author wa s intensely picturesque, and at the same time perfectly simple (Buckingham 11). Todd also incorrectly implies th at Dickinson dressed always in white (11). Numerous reviewers parrot these facts throughout the 1890s and we ll into the twentieth century. For example, Emily was naturally of a retiring nature, and except for a very few friends, was as invisible to the world as if she had dwelt in a nunnery (24). 35


poems, but offer lovely fragment s (10) and marvelous brevities (17). Far more than Emerson, readers invoke Helen Hunt Jackson, a successful and familiar female poet, Dickinsons intimate friend and a warm admirer of her poetry (3). In a September essay in the Christian Union, where Higginson seeks to prepare an audi ence for the volume of Dickinsons verse, Higginson writes that in dealing w ith Nature she often seems to possesses as was said of her fellow townswoman, Helen Jackson (H.H.) a si xth sense (5-6). Numerous other reviews then repeat the apparent opinion of Helen Jackson and her friendshi p with Dickinson to align the first volume with an established poet: H.H. was a great admirer of the poetry of Emily Dickinson (10); Dickinsons intimate acquain tance of H.H. That remarkable woman knew her as well as any one could, and it was due to H.H. that a few of her poems saw print (15); The poem called Success, that forms the head ing to the literary reviews of today, was a favorite of the authors friend and townswoman, He len Hunt (27). Again, while general readers seem to delight in Dickinsons brilliant shinings of beautys inspiration (19), Arlo Bates, a representative of the estab lishment critics, reads Dickinsons supposed simplicity as a certain rude and half barbar ic naivet. They show the insight of the civilized adult combined with the simplicity of the savage child. There is a barbaric flavor often discernable, as if this gentle powe r had the blood of some gentle and simple Indian ancestress in her veins still in an unadulterated current. (29) For Bates, Dickinsons new species of art is not gentle enough, and he apparently seeks to explain her lack of technical skill (33) by invoking the stra nge idea that her savage, yet gentle and simple, innocence is due to an Indian ancestress. Bates point brings up another interesting facet of reactions to the first volume. Due in part to the portrait of a recluse drawn by Higginson and Todd, people who were Dickinsons loving friends and were thus supposed to know, certa in responses wonder how Dickinson could have known about what she writes: 36


What Emily Dickinson says of love has a peculiar interest, a nd it can hardly be forbidden that the reader should wonder what experience of her own she might have had to produce so exceptionally personal utterances as some of these voices of imagination seems to be. (17) Charles Whiting wonders how Dickinson, who was supposedly a nun-like recluse, could have written songs in which one feels that passion should have throbbed to speak so (18). He does not develop this idea fu rther or offer any suggestions saying only that we may not enlighten the reader (17). While the reviews often indicate an awaren ess of the editorial influence, such as there is no purple clover, as the editor has mistakenly called it in the title (19),21 reviewers often accept as fact Higgi nsons description of Dickinsons life22 and then wonder how she could have experienced enough to write so powerfully about life and love. Higginson remarks that Dickinson has a sixth sens e, and then explains that most of her poems grapple at first hand with the very mysteries of life and death (6). Higginson includes I died for Beauty as his evidence for Dickinson grappling first hand, following it with the comment that the conception is weird enough for William Blake (6). In contrast to Whitings view of the exceptionally personal utterances, Higginson writes that the poems are strangely impersonal, although here and there we have a g limpse of experiences too intense to be more plainly intimated (8). And despite the oftrepeated description of Higginson and Todd as Dickinsons intimate, loving friends, Higginson does not hide the fact th at almost all of his experience with Dickinson is via correspondence: she sent her poems with gifts of flowers or as in my own case to correspondents whom she ha d never seen (9). R eaders did not miss this 21 Higginson writes, the title being here, as elsewhere, my own, for she herself never prefixes any (4). 22Quite often, however, mistaken accounts of Dickinsons life are given. Some are minor, such as moving Dickinsons date of death from May 15th to May 1st, 1886 (Buckingham 26). Others, however, are rather severely mistaken, such as an anonymous review in the Philadelphia Press which takes twenty years off her life and makes her an invalid: Miss Dickinson, daughter of the Hon. Edward Dickinson, of Amherst, Mass., died in 1886 at the age of 36. She was an invalid who seldom emerged from the retirement of her home; not oftener than once a year (25). 37


detail: he gives an interesting picture of the s ecluded life of Miss Dickinson [in his preface]. Although Col. Higginson had corresponded with her for many years he saw her but twice face to face (9). Interpretations of the poems as simultaneously exceptionally personal and strangely impersonal are not caused merely by the Dickinson myth, but by Dickinsons meticulous effort to create non-referential poetry. While the printed versions alone subsume this meticulousness, we can see Dickinsons efforts if we take the manuscripts into consideration, and I explore this issue in the next chapter. The general marketing approach makes sense. Dickinson is aligned with familiar traditions, such as transcendentalism, and authors, particularly Helen Hunt Jackson, and her powerful, original thoughts are couched within the safety of portraying Dickinson as an unstudied recluse whose inspiration came from within. But th e volume is also portrayed as Dickinsons letter to the worl d, which Higginson remarks is probably the utterance of a passing mood only (9). Readers brought to the pretty volume a mass-mediated understanding of what poetry should be and what a poet workin g in the transcendental tradition would choose to write about. Readers were also given an unknown poet, introduced to the world for the first time by an established, well-known, and trusted literary critic and a recognized female co-editor who was presented as a loving e xpert of Emily Dickinson. The Drum Beat printings align with Dickinsons habit of sending her poems as gifts, normally to intimate acq uaintances, of course, but not always, as her early le tters to Higginson, a corresponden t whom she had never seen, make clear. Dickinson most likely did not write the Drum Beat poems for the Union cause or to be printed in that part icular periodical, but contextualiz ing the poems shows how the texts, regardless of Dickinsons in tentions, create open-ended, discursive publics. The Drum Beat public relays information to twenty-first-cent ury readers about how the war was accessed by 38


39 those physically detached from the violence, and our ability to access nineteenth-century periodicals reiterates the open-ende d, indeterminate, self-containe d, and self-creating nature of discursive publics. But the 1890s editions addre ssed publics in a new way for Dickinson. Although she read the work of poets in objects similar to Higginsons and Todds 1890s creations, she predominantly was interested in something more experimental and varied, and she most often accessed the work of female poets in contexts created by the anthology or by the surrounding text of a periodical. Within her manuscripts, she pl ays with materiality and visuality in ways that print will always obscure, no matter how meticul ous the editor may be. Dickinson clearly realized this. While I do not think publishing was truly foreign to her thought (L265), the necessities of print publication were a hindrance to her project. Howe ver, this is not to say that the 1890s editions are simply wrong and should be ignored; rather, they represent an integral aspect of Dickinson studies. What Higginson and Todd did in order to package and market Dickinson shows us what Dickinson was working with and reacting against. Without objects such as Drum Beat and the 1890s editions, twentiethand tw enty-first-century criticism would be less able to understand Dickinsons opus. When we compare the manuscripts with the print possibilities open to her and th e presentation that her printe d poems took, then we see Dickinsons commitment to blurring the distin ction between public and private forms of communication and publication.


CHAPTER 2 THE POET AS LETTER WRITER In Ralph Waldo Emersons essay, New Poet ry, which was published in the October 1840 edition of The Dial he asks, is there not room then fo r a new department in poetry, namely, Verses of the Portfolio ? (221). While Higginson will write in the 1890 Preface that Dickinsons work belongs emphatically to what Emerson long since called the Poetry of the Portfolio, something produced absolutely with out the thought of publication, Emersons definition of this new poetry is not so simplistic (Buckingham 13) Emerson argues that the democratical tendencies of America created a r evolution in literature that gi ves importance to the portfolio over the book. This revolution is a more liberal doctrine of the poetic faculty than our fathers held [who] denied the name of poetry to every co mposition in which the workmanship and the material were not equally excellent (220). New poetry consists of verses of society, rather than the fe stal and solemn verses which ar e written for the nations (220). While Emerson does contend such verses are not written for publication, the defining characteristic is the lack of finish which the conventions of literature require of authors. However, though we should be loath to see the whol esome conventions, to which we have alluded, broken down by a general incon tinence of publicatio n, and every mans and womans diary flying into bookstores when a writer has outgrown the state of thought which produced the poem, the inte rest of letters is served by publishing it imperfect, as we preserved studies, to rsos, and blocked statues of the great masters. (221) Verses of the portfolio are not simply written without any thought towa rd publication; rather, they are confessional poems written as unpremeditated translation[s] of ones thoughts and feelings into rhyme, and then not edited and polished to fit tradi tional poetic conventions (220). The important point is that print does not necessarily indicate merit, and although the portfolio verses can be publishe d imperfect, there still must be poetic excellence for these 40


verses to be enjoyed. Emerson refers to portf olio poetry as a cert ain private and household poetry, contrasting it with work by men of ge nius, and yet we are sure that some crude manuscript poems have yielded us a more sust aining and a more stimulating diet, than many elaborated and classic productions (223). The flas hes of insight that one writes down as quickly as possible are just as valid for Emerson, perhaps even more so, than the printed, solemn, studied works of conventional poetic perfection. One ca n draw greater pleasure from some manuscript verses than printed ones of equal ta lent (221). The verses of the por tfolio testify that the writer was more man than artist, more earnest than vain and all the faults, the imperfect parts, the fragmentary verses, the halting rhymes, has a worth beyond that of a high finish (221). Dickinsons work exemplifies a commitment to writing poems that would fall under Emersons category of new poetry. Although 1890s readers believed Dickinson to be unstudied, we know now that she was a dedicated, meticulous, a nd extremely well-read devotee of poetry and prose. It seems safe to assume that the appare nt lack of a high finish speaks of an intentional toying with genre and conventions, as opposed to the cluelessness th at high-brow critics assumed. The 1890s editions show that popular readers appreciated Dickinsons imperfect poetic constructs; in fact, several reviewers referred to her poetry as a new species of art, rather than just a new department (Buckingham 29). However, editorial decisions, selections, and mythologies did much to make Dickinsons work appear written absolutely without the thought of publication, and her workshop also reveals a production of poems that were the opposite of portfolio verses. Her meticulous attention to diction, linebreaks, grammar, and capitalization is revealed only in the manuscripts. Her efforts to re-write stanzas to better suit Su san were not seen in the nineteenth-century. The fascicles, which Franklin refers to in 1981 as manuscript books, di sprove the idea that 41


Dickinsons poetry consisted only of unpremed itated translations of fleeting thoughts and feelings to which she never returned or revised.1 While Dickinsons work can be considered portfolio verses as Emerson describes them, her poetr y fits too with the work of men of genius, for whom to act on the public is always a secondary aim. They are humble, self-accusing, moody men, whose worship is toward th e Ideal Beauty, which chooses to be courted not so often in perfect hymns, as in wild ear-piercing, or in silent musings. Their face is forward, and their heart is in this heaven. (222)2 After Dickinsons death, her sister, Lavinia, found the forty bound fascicles and enough unbound fascicle sheets for several others plus the worksheets, indeterminate drafts, and miscellaneous fair copies Mabel Todd called scraps (Franklin, Manuscript Books x). The worksheets and indeterminate drafts can be seen as unpremeditated. They are often random stanzas, typically in pencil a nd written on whatever Dickinso n had availableenvelopes, shopping lists, or irregular scraps of pa per that had apparently been discarded.3 Dickinsons fascicles represent more finished poemsthey are copied in ink on sheets of letter paper 1The fascicles are a relatively recent area of study within Dickinson scholarsh ip, and I will discuss their significance in Chapters 4 and 5. Despite Franklins efforts in re-estab lishing the fascicle sequence in 1981 with the publication of The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson he believes the fascicles are a means of keeping order and does not see them as booklets of poetry. The early fascicles had very few unresolved readings, but by Fascicle 9, in early 1861, they would have been unsuitable for circulation. The transcription, though in ink, was less careful, and the texts, now with unresolved readings, were not intended fo r others (20). However, my final chapters show how I and others see the fascicles as the center of Dickinsons project. Franklin notes that Dickinsons workshop did have rules for destruction, though their purpose was orderly preservation. The primary one was that when working drafts were copied to a later form, such as a fascicle, the dr afts were destroyed. Thus, none of them survives for the twenty-seven poems in Fascicle 1, with one exception, a rare one since it is the only worksheet for a poem in the forty fascicles (11). 2 Emersons use of the term wild predicts wh at he writes in The Poet, an essay from Essays: Second Series which we know Dickinson owned. Jack Capps notes that I taste a liquor never brewed correlates to Emersons statement, the poet knows that he speaks adequately then only when he speaks somewhat wildly not with intellect alone but with the intellect inebriated by nectar (115). In the Di ckinsons family copy of Essays: Second Series, this portion of the discussion of symbolism in The Poet has been marked: We are far from having exhausted the significance of the few symbols we use. We can use them yet with a terrible simplicity. It does not need that a poem be long. Every wo rd was once a poem. Every new relation is a new word (116). Dickinsons meticulous, laborious attention to diction fits with Emersons description here, as well as the decep tive simplicity of her new species of poetry. 3 For the most detailed study of Dickinsons later writings, drafts, and fragments, see Marta Werners Open Folios 42


already folded by the manufacturer to produce two leaves (x). Dickinsons opus of fascicles and scraps represent the two opposing approach es to poetry that Emerson outlines in New Poetry, yet I cannot be sure that Dickinsons process was influenced by this specific essay.4 More importantly, however, Dickinson would have gathered Emersons opinion regarding the relation between women and authorship from his other essays. For example, in Beauty from Conduct of Life Emerson describes a beautiful woman as a practical poet, taming her savage mate, planting tenderness, hope and eloque nce in all whom she approaches ( The Complete Writings 611). In Success, which explores th e accomplishments of Americans, Emerson writes, we have seen an American woman writ e a novel of which a million copies were sold, in all languages, and which had one me rit, of speaking to the universal heart, and was read with equal interest to three audiences, namely, in the parlor, in the kitchen and in the nurser y of every house. (707) Even though of all American authors whom she read, Emily Dickinson can be most closely associated with Ralph Waldo Emerson, she remains a poetess and thus incapable of being the man of genius and the Poet for America Emerson sought (Capps 113).5 It seems to me that the fascicle poems represent more fi nished products than what is f ound in the rest of her workshop, but Dickinson also manipulated genre, voice, an d audience within her le tters and letter-poems, 4My research thus far has not reveal ed whether or not Dickinson read The Dial. There is no record of the Dickinson familys subscription to it, and I could not find the essay reprinted in any of the periodicals we know the Dickinson family read, such as the Atlantic Monthly Harpers and Scribners I have been unable to locate whether or not Emerson defines verses of the portfolio in his later wo rk; at this point, it seems the essay only appeared in The Dial However, it may have been common knowledge at the time since Higginsons simplistic definition of The Poetry of the Portfolio is repeat ed throughout the 1890s reviews. 5 While Emerson was a powerful influence on Dickinson, her most coveted authors were British women, such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, for whom she wrote three elegies, George Eliot, and the Bronts. With regard to female poets in America, Cheryl Walker writes, by mi d-century the dominant members in this womens tradition must have seemed to younger women poets like an Establishment Poetry had become so inbred that only an outsider like Emily Dickinson could revitalize it Though we dont know to what extent she admired American womens poetry, one thing is certainly clear: she ignored its stylistic conventions. However, she did not ignore the type of the poetess as a cultural phenomenon. She couldnt, because as a woman interested in literature, she had to come to terms with this model (87). 43


and she uses this partic ular space to experiment because it was deemed an appropriate form of female writing. In Publics and Counterpublics Michael Warner isolates the lyric as a mode of address that contrasts with public address. While the address of public speech is both personal and impersonal, lyric conventions require that we regard [the voice in a lyric poem] as transcendent. Though it could only be produced th rough the displacement of writing, we read it with cultivated disregard of its circumstance of circulation, understand ing it as an image of absolute privacy (76, 81). By transcendent, Warner means timeless, as opposed to the way Emerson describes Transcendency in Poetry a nd Imagination: The solid men complain that the idealist leaves out the funda mental facts; the poet complains that the solid men leave out the sky ( The Complete Writings 749). Warner argues that when we read lyric poetry, the voice of the poem is read as the voice of the poet, but we must separate this voice from the poems initial circumstance and circulation. While we understand that this voice is produced through the displacement of writing, lyric poetry transcends time and space. We read the poem as the disembodied voice of the poet speaking to the reader. In lyric poetry, the poems I is understood to be the poet speaking to a you, which refers to the individual reader. This is, of course, impossible. We can only read a poem as a lyric if we approach it with cultivated disregard of its circumstance of circulation (81). Warner decides that the lyric can be understood as timeless overheard self-communion (82). Warner s description here correlates with the long-held perception of what Dickinsons poetry was: written for herself, without any thought towards publication; poetry stolen from her a few times during her life, but overall poetry that remained in a locked box. For decades, Dickinsons poems exemplified timeless overheard self-communion. We ll into the twentieth -century, readers perceived Dickinsons 44


poems as a conversation with herself since, for mysterious biographical and psychological reasons, she did not want to talk to anyone else. However, Wa rner argues that Walt Whitmans poetry compromises the typical l yric transcendence since Whitm ans work must embrace its scene of address (82). Whitmans poetry does not simply fictiona lize either the speaker or the scene of address; rather, it produces a tension betw een the addressee and the scene of address. In To a Stranger, for example, the speaker hi mself indicates the gene ricizing conventions of print publication (286). For Warner, Whitman plays with the communicative medium of intimacy in a way that toys with the nonintimate, deperson alizing conventions of print publication (285). When we take into account Dickinsons body of work, including the letters, letter-poems, fascicles, and the materiality of he r workshop, rather than just an isolated poem in its print form, then we see that Dickinsons prim ary mode of address is the lyric, yet her poetic project encompasses and utilizes letter-writing, which is a genr e associated with absolute privacy more prevalently than lyric poetry. Less explicitly yet no less radically than Whitman, Dickinson plays with the boundaries between intimate and non-intimate means of communication. While Whitmans poe try fictionalizes its own disc ursive status and refuses to suspend awareness of the public ation context, Dickinson con centrates on non-print publication in order to fictionaliz e particularity (288). In Whitman s To a Stranger, the tension arises because we recognize the speakers difficulty simultaneously as (a) his personal co mmitment to me, whom he loves; and (b) his attempt to acknowledge our anonymity, our mu tual nonknowledge, our mediation by print (286). Dickinsons printed poems, particularly those in the 1890s edit ions, enact a simpler fictionalization than Whitman does in To a Stra nger. In two poems from the 1890 edition, for example, the narrators are dead : Because I could not stop for Death, / He kindly stopped for 45


me (Fr479) and I died for beauty, but was scarce / Adjusted in the tomb, / When one who died for truth was lain / In an adjo ining room (Fr448). In these po ems, we know that Dickinson is not explaining a moment when she died for beauty, yet we stil l feel as though the poet/narrator talks directly to us. Since Dickinson died in 1886, 1890s as well as contemporary readers may be enticed into believing it is Dickinson speaking to us from beyond the grave, even though we know the poem is addressing the in-principle an onymous and indefinite audience of the print public sphere (286). However, Dickinson did not focus on the audience of the print public sphere in the way Whitman did, and her poems printed in the nineteenth-century read as the poet speaking to the reader because they were pa ckaged that way. The placement of This is my letter to the world / That never wrote to m e as the Prelude, combined with Higginsons description in the Preface of Dickinsons extreme reclusiveness, helped to make every I read as I, Emily Dickinson. Of the 115 poems in th e 1890 edition, sixty-four ar e written in the first person. In her entire body of work, Dickinson uses I more than any other word,682 times (Rosenbaum 865). Instead of toying with audien ce and addressee in the print public sphere, Dickinson manipulates epistolary conventions to explore the limits of genre and the boundaries between poetry and prose, public and private, and print and manuscript. Cristanne Millers first chapter in A Poets Grammar investigates Dickinsons Letters to the World, arguing that letters and poems appear to be complementary forms of the same kind of communication for the poet ( 10). Dickinsons approach to poetry is remarkably similar, often seamless, to her appr oach to letter-writing: In some letters Dickinson changes from pros e to verse in mid-sentence, as if both were the same medium. In other lett ers Dickinson lifts lines from finished poems and incorporates them into her pr ose. More often, however, the poet lapses into verse to express what she cannot say in prose. (10-11) 46


Mabel Loomis Todds 1894 volume represents the fi rst edition of Dickinsons letters, which Todd apparently approached with something almost like dread lest the deep revelations of a peculiarly shy inner life might so pervade them that in true loya lty to their writer none could be publicly used (xxv). Although Todd claims the concern was unwarranted, since Emily kept her little reserves, and bared her soul but seldom, even in intimate correspondence, the common approach to the letters is as an entry-point into the mind of the mysterious recluse (xxvi). However, recent re-evaluations reveal Dickinson s manipulation of genre as something far more complicated and innovative than has been prev iously acknowledged. Marietta Messmer, for example, investigates how Dickinsons poems and letters become complementary modes of writing that participate in a ra dically experimental, gendered cr itique of specific discursive formations (26). Dickinsons letter-writing can be contextualized within nineteenth-century epistolary culture, which deemed letter-writing a proper endeavor for women of Dickinsons status and class, yet Dickinsons choice to be a poet and her manipulation of a womanly duty reveal a desire to blend the boundaries betw een public and private communication. While Dickinson coveted personal communication, and was weary of innovations that purported to connect people, such as the train and the telegrap h, she also manipulated the accepted nineteenthcentury genres of prose and poetr yher letters are not simply a means to keep in touch with friends; her lyrics, even in the simplified, regulari zed formats of the ninete enth-century printings, are not simply the singular voice of the poet speak ing to an ideal reader. The poems result from Dickinsons experimentation within her work shop, and the poems ar e often meticulously designed to seem personal and impersonal. Equally to the poetry, and perhaps even more so, the letters, since they are an accepted fema le occupation and a genre that is not art but simply a means of intimate communication, e xperiment with addressee and voi ce, and blur the distinction 47


between prose and poetry, public and private. Ma rietta Messmer describes Dickinsons process as a third space, while Cristanne Miller remarks that Dickinson manipulates distance as well as intimacy (15).6 I would add that Dickinson consciously works with the esta blished notions of public and private during the nineteenth-century, although these notions remain prevalent in the twenty-first, and uses the assumed simplicity of th e distinction to develop prose and poetry with a new architecture. And, as Ellen Louise Hart and Martha Nell Smith show in Open Me Carefully, Dickinson did not, and could not, co mplete this endeavor on her own. Susan Gilbert moved to Amherst in 1850, and became engaged to Austin, Dickinsons brother, in November 1853. They were married in July 1856 and moved next door to Dickinson (Johnson 939). We know of only on e letter that Dickinson wrot e to Sue in 1850. It opens, Were it not for the weather Susie my little, un welcome face would come peering in today I should steal a kiss from the sister (L38). Dick insons first letter to Sue occurs about five months after the death of Sues sister, Mary, a nd Dickinson invokes the new world of sisters to which Sue now belongs: I miss one angel face in the little world of sisters dear Mary sainted Mary Remember lonely one tho, she comes not to us, we shall return to her! (L38). While necessities of print and the assumptions of reader s expectations result in poems separated from the letters, the poets literary a pproach was quite different. According to Harts and Smiths Open Me Carefully by the mid-1850s Dickinsons writings to Susan expand from conventional 6 For additional ways of reading Dickinsons letters, see Reading Emily Dickinsons Letters: Critical Essays edited by Jane Donahue Eberwein and Cindy MacK enzie. There are also several article s that focus on Dickinsons letters. For example, see Sarah Widers Corresponding Worlds: The Art of Emily Dickinsons Letters; Paula Bennetts By a Mouth that Cannot Not Speak: Spectral Presence in Emily Dickinsons Letters; Ellen Louise Harts The Elizabeth Whitney Putnam Manuscripts and New Strate gies for Editing Emily Dickinson's Letters; Erika Scheurers Near, but remote: Emil y Dickinson's Epistolary Voice; an d Lori Lebows Woman of Letters: Narrative Episodes in the Letters of Emily Dickinson. In contrast, Alexander Street Press has made Todds twovolume 1894 edition of Dickinsons letters available online, introducing the database, North American Womens Letters and Diaries as including the immediate experiences of 1,325 women and 150,000 pages of diaries and letters (). 48


letters to what Susan refers to as letter-p oems as she later compiles her book of Emilys writings. These letter-poems are letters that look and sound like poems; they are also poems addressed to Susan that read like letters, or messages (65). Dickinsons process of sending poems to Sue begins in the late 1850s, and D ickinsons poems, letters, and letter-poems to Susan give us a rare glimpse into the poets process of writing and revising. They also indicate that Susan, herself a published writer of poems, reviews, essays, and stories, was Emilys primary reader, the recipient of both drafts and finished poems (xii). Dickinsons format of sending poems as letters began as early as 1850, when Dickinson sent an unsigned valentine to Elbridge G. Bowdoin, then 30 a nd practicing law with Edward Dickinson (Franklin 49). These very early poems7 were written for Valentine Wee k, which was a custom Dickinson participated in while at Mount Holyoke. 7One of the manuscripts of Dickinsons second valentine, Sic transit glor ia mundi (Fr2B), was sent to William Howland, and appeared in the Springfield Daily Republican on February 20, 1852. The manuscript for the other version of the valentine, Fr2A, has been lost, but was copied into a commonplace book belonging to Eudocia Converse, a first cousin of Dickinsons mother (Franklin 51). One of Dickinsons valentine letters (L34) was printed unsigned in The Indicator (7 February 1850), which was published by a group of students at Amherst College (Johnson 93). While Johnson prints the letter as prose, remarking that this valentine letter, dated Valentine Eve, is typical of the nonsense Dickinson coul d evoke for such occasions, one can detect the subtle mixture of prose and poetry that Dickinson will continue to develop. The first sentence, for example, rings of her typical hymn quatrain: Sir, I desire an interview; / meet me at sunrise, or sunset, / or the new moon / the place is immaterial (Johnson 92-93). According to Johnson, the letter was printed in the Editors Corner and preceded by a comment in which the editor says: I wish I knew who the author is. I think she must have some spell, by which she quickens the imagination, and causes the high blood run frolic through the veins (93). L33, which Johnson estimates was sent to William Cowper Dickinson about February 1850, illustrates another approach to a valentine letter: Life is but a strife Tis a bubble Tis a dream And man is but a little boat Which paddles down the stream Johnson explains, although the spirit of this verse seems removed from that of the usual valentine, it seems to have been sent as such. It is illustrated with small cuts clipped from old books and papers (91). 49


Aside from the valentines, the first poem Dick inson dispatches is addressed Susie, and sent to Susan Dickinson in March 1853 when she was in Manchester, New Hampshire (Franklin 57): Write! Comrade, write! On the wondrous sea Sailing silently, Ho! Pilot, ho! Knowest thou the shore Where no breakers roar Where the storm is oer? In the peaceful west Many the sails at read The anchors fast Thither I pilot thee Land Ho! Eternity! Ashore at last! Franklin numbers the above poem as Dickinsons third poem overall. A later copy, slightly altered from the one sent to Sue, appears in Fascicle 1, which Fra nklin dates as about 1858 ( Manuscript Books 2). This format continues throughout her life, and more than six hundred manuscripts, representing a few over five hundred poe ms, had been sent to others (Franklin 29). This includes poems as letters, such as the above example, which is a lett er to Sue as well as a poem Dickinson copied into a fascicle, and poems sent along with letters, su ch as the enclosures Dickinson sent in her first letter to Higginson.8 But even Dickinsons early letters blend poetry and prose, both by including quotes or paraphrase from the works of others and by collapsing the distinction between her own prose and poetry. In a September 1845 letter to Abiah Root, for example, Dickinson writes, but as long as I dont [know how to cook], my knowledge of 8 Franklin writes, one cannot say exactly how many manus cripts she produced for these 1,789 poems, which is to date the amount of poems Dickinson wrot e if only one version is counted for each poem, but the number may have been twice what we know, as many as 5,000 manuscripts, instead of 2,500 (28-29). For details about who received which poems, see Franklins Appendix Seven, 1547-1557. 50


housekeeping is about as much use as faith without works, which you know we are told is dead. Since I wrote you last the summer is past an d gone, and autumn with the sere and yellow leaf is already upon us (L8). Johnson notes, this is the earliest known le tter in which Dickinson para phrases lines from the Bible and from Shakespeare, the two sources to which she returns again and again throughout her life for quotation or allusion. The scripture source for the first is James 2.17: faith, if it hath not works, is dead. The second is from Macbeth V, iii, 22-23: My way of life / Is falln into the sere, the yellow leaf. (23) One of the earliest letters that Johnson argues cont ains a prose-poem is an October 1851 letter to Austin: Dont think that the sky will frown so the day when you come home! She will smile and look happy, and be full of sunshine then and even should she frown upon her child returning, there is another sky ever serene and fair, and there is another sunshine, tho it be darkness there never mind faded forests, Austin, never mind silent fields here is a little forest whose leaf is ever green, here is a brighter garden, where not a frost has been, in its unfading flowers I hear the bright bee hum, prithee, my Brother, into my garden come! (L58) Johnson explains, the poem at the end of the le tter is printed here, as Dickinson wrote it, in prose form (150). Franklin does not list this as one of Dickinsons 1,789 poems, although it does appear in Appendix Thirteen of the 1998 variorum: Some prose passages in Emily Dickinsons early letters and notes exhibit charac teristics of verse wit hout being so written (1577). Franklin lists eight of these prose pa ssages, including the one from L58 above, and he records the verse as beginning with there is another sky. The passage was published as prose in Todds 1894 version of the Letters and as poem number two in Thomas H. Johnsons 1955 version of the Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (1578). Until quite recently, Dickinsons letters have be en read to discover the events of her life and the inner workings of her mind. Even T. H. Johnsons scholarly edition, which did not exclude any known letters, treated the letters as a separate, distinct genre of writing that served to provide biographical contexts for the poetry. Johnson notes that his volume of letters (1958) 51


brings to its conclusion the task of editing the poetry and prose of Emily Dickinson (xi). Of the letters, Johnson remarks, they are the expres sion of her unique personality. Though she never wrote about herself after adolescence, the letters neverthe less are always self-portraits, written by one who has observed herself frankly and w ith no self-pity or regrets (xxi). In the nineteenth-century, Dickinsons focus on interiority had alre ady been established by 1890s prefaces and reviews, and Mabel Loomis Todds 1894 edition of the letters aimed to offer Dickinsons prose to the lovers of Emily Dick insons poems [who] have been so eager for it (xxv).9 Todd desires for the letters to dispel the conception of Dick inson as a darkly mysterious poet: Emily Dickinsons verses, often but the re flection of a passing mood, do not always completely represent herself,rarely, indeed, showing the dainty humor, the frolicsome gayety, which continually bubbled over in her daily life. The sombre and even weird outlook upon this world and the next, characteristic of many of the poems, was by no means a prevailing condition of the mind. (xxv) Todds intent with the letters is to show more of Dickinson so readers will not think her as weird as the poems seem to indicate. Todd exacts a distinction betw een the letters and the poems, aligning the letters with journal-writing: As she kept no j ournal, the letters are the more 9 Mabel Loomis Todd edited the Letters of Emily Dickinson which was published in 1894, eight years after Dickinsons death. According to Buckinghams study, the two volumes of letters totaled 2,500 sales for that year. In the Preface to a 1931 version of the Letters, Todd writes that Austin, Lavinia, and I collected her letters, which they entrusted to me to edit and publish I tried, alwa ys, to comply with those still living in 1894 who wanted their identity disguised, or reference to their personal sorrow omitted (ix). Todd writes that the second edition (of 1931) is much enlarged but contains everything which appeared in 1894 (x). Essentially, Todd collected letters from anyone who would give them to her, but was initially inspired to do so when a schoolmate of Dickinson at Amherst Academy approached Todd at a talk at Westfield, Massachusetts that Todd was giving about Dickinson. The schoolmate asked where might she read some of Emilys prose? But Dickinsons sister, Lavinia, had not found any prose, so Todd replied that she hoped that some of her letters might be rescued She responded eagerly that she possessed a large number of letters and that nothing would delight her more than to send them to me,-which she promptly did (xv-xvi). In a 1931 reprint and enlarged edition of the 1894 Letters, Mabel Todd writes in the Preface, now, after th irty-seven years [after the 1894 publica tion of the letters], the Emily legend has assumed a shape unrecognizable to one who knew her. Her life is revamped to suit the taste of the times, and Emily herself has all but vanished in the process. And so it seems advisable to return to sources, and to publish a second edition, much enlarged, of the original volumes of Letters (x). 52


interesting because they contain all the prose wh ich she is known to have written (xxv). In contrast to the letters as Dickinson s biography, Marietta Messmer observes, Dickinson is able to transfer the letter from the sphere of (womanly) duty to the realm of (male-dominated) literary produc tion. At the same time, by endowing her poems with epistolary properties, she is able to legitimize a genre primarily reserved for men (poetry) through the use of the (for women) socially acceptable epistolary format. (48) However, despite this realm of propriety,10 many of the letters, the full scale of which can only be guessed, have been destroyed, lost, or blotted out because, as Sue puts it, they were too personal and adulatory to be pr inted (Hart and Smith 77). Ru th Miller investigates T.W. Higginsons role in the creation of the Dickinson myth, while Hart and Sm ith attribute much of the manuscript mutilation to Mabel Loomis T odd, who may have entirely inked over poems within the fascicles. For exam ple, in the case of One Sist er have I in our house (Fr5B), the fascicle version of this poem was entire ly inked over. It is quite possible that someone (probably Mabel Loomis Todd) found this poems unabashed expression of affection offensive and tried to blot it out. This mutilation parallels those in the earlier letters, as well as the erasure of S ue as the addressee of erotic verses such as Her breast is fit for pearls. (77) 11 The Dickinson myth, at least in part, subsumed attention to Dickinsons letter-writing and poetic innovations. Another detracting factor, according to Hart and Smith, is the assumption that nineteenth-century female relationships consiste d of passionate intimacy that was patently not sexual As this correspondence [in Open Me Carefully ] shows, however, Emily and Susans 10 Dickinson mocks established notions of female propriety in an 1848 letter to her brother, Austin Dickinson. She explains her reaction when she first received his last letter, telling him she debated whether to read the letter or continue her study of the history of Sulphuric [sic] Acid. She writes, I concluded to open it with moderation, peruse its contents with sobriety becoming my station, & if after a close investigation of its contents I found nothing which savored of rebellion or an unsubdued [sic] will, I w ould lay it away in my folio & forget I had ever received it. Are you not gratified that I am so rapidly gaining correct ideas of female propriety & sedate deportment? (L22). 11Hart and Smith write, When the Dickinson fascicles were turned over to Mabel Loomis Todd, Susans crucial position as primary audience for Emilys po etry became an inconvenient and irre levant piece of information that did not jibe with the popular image of a nineteenth-century poetess. To editors of the time, the most marketable image of Dickinson the poet was that of the eccen tric, reclusive, asexual woman in wh ite Loomis Todd was therefore willing to play up this solitary spinster characterizatio n of Emily Dickinson in her editorial productions (xv). 53


relationship surpasses in depth, pa ssion, and continuity the stereoty pe of the intimate exchange between women friends of the period (xiv). While Dickinson sought out Higginson and routinely sent poems to Samuel Bowles, another prominent editor, as we ll as to numerous other friends and relatives, the sheer volume, durati on, and diversity (148) of correspondence sent to Sue convinces Hart, Smith and myself, among others that Sue represents Dickinsons primary reader, and the two sustained an ongoing literary dialogue for more than thirty years (xii). Dickinsons intimate letters to Sue convin ce Hart and Smith, as well as other scholars,12 that Dickinson saw Sue as the beloved, rath er than as only a sister-in-law and literary confidant: we can only assume that a love poem se nt to the beloved has a very different impact from a version of the same poem sent to a friend or an editor (148). While we cannot know, of course, how certain poems impacted Susan, a twen ty-first century reading of an isolated poem will be altered if the same poem is put in anot her context. However, as Cristanne Miller deduces, Dickinsons practice of mailing the same poem in more than one letter is related to her practice of posing. This serves as a warning to her twentieth-century readers that poems mailed in letters may be decepti vely personal; they were not conceived solely in the light of a single friendship a poem seems to be occasional, referring to particular even ts and the private relationshi p between writer and reader. Just as one cannot assume the detail of Dickinsons poetry is autobiographical, one cannot trust that she will represent hersel f fully or accurately in a letter. (13) For example, Miller discusses what appears to be a highly personal message to Samuel Bowles: Dear Friend / If you doubted my Snow for a moment you never will again I know (L792). Dickinson includes the poem, Through the strait pass of suffering / The Martyrs even trod (F r187). Miller explains, 12 Cristanne Miller, for example, writes, that Dickinson loved Susan seems beyond debate. The character of that love included strong romantic and erotic components (190n15). Judith Farr notes, eight years before she died, she equated Eden with Sue, in one of the scores of notes, letters, and provocative lyrics that establish the fact of her lasting and troubled love for her sister-in-law (100). 54


the poet made a fair copy of this poem for herself before she mailed it to Bowles, however, and she mailed another copy of the same poem to Sue. The multiple copies suggest that the poets primary inte nt in writing the poem was not to present herself as a martyr to Bowles or to point to any single occasion, whatever the impetus for sending him the poem might have been. In the letter to Sue, the poem would seem to have a different referen ce and perhaps significance. The poem expresses a truth that Dickinson values a nd finds useful. Like any poem, it allows her to share her emotional present without revealing its events and detail. (13-14) While Franklins variorum offers the bac kground information for each poem, including all manuscript and print information available, his edition invariably simplifies the nature of Dickinsons approach to language and communi cation. Franklin exp licates his editorial approach regarding what constitutes a poem: For inclusion in this edition, passages from the letters meet one or two conditions. They have independent verification as poetry by having other appearances that confirm it, or they were incorporated as poetry in Dickinsons customary way, or both. The criteria here, though her ow n, do not establish an exclusive canon, for there is no definitive boundary between pros e and poetry in Dickinsons letter. (3334) Franklin recognizes the complexity of drawing genre boundaries, yet he draws them anyway, and then oddly states that at times she [Dickins on] may have surprised herself to find prose becoming verse (34). Of course, I cannot know wh ether or not Dickinson surprised herself, yet studies such as Cristanne Millers, Messm ers, and Hart and Smiths locate a sustained experimentation with genre that belies Franklin s contention that inde pendent verification as poetry can take place. Franklin compiles all available details in orde r to present a separate text for each known manuscript, and the resulting texts create publics which are quite different from the ones during Dickinsons lifetime. While none of us can appro ach a poem, letter, or letter-poem as Sue, when we know that a poem was sent in a letter or incorporat ed into a letter-poem to Sue, then we cannot avoid the attempt to read through Sues eyes. A feat, of course, no one can accomplish. What occurs, then, is we see the poem as occasional, although we cannot return to the 55


historical instance and are not encouraged to do so through Franklins neat, detailed, seeminglycomplicated variorum. The separation of poems from letters, the standardization of line breaks, and the arrangement of poems in chronological order follow Franklins assertion that this edition is based on the assumption th at a literary work is separable from its artifact, as Dickinson herself demonstrated as she moved her poems from one piece of paper to another (27). While Franklins plethora of details appears overwhe lming and complicated at first, his editorial approach is far more simplistic than Dickin sons workshop, where Dickinson manipulated and experimented with the boundaries between public and private, intimate and distant, verse and prose. Specific examples of poems and letter -poems reveal that a return to Dickinsons workshop offers valuable insight into how la nguage operates within a hierarchy between public and private (Warner 23), and how transgressing the distin ction as well as the hierarchy may be one explanation for why Dickinson writes to Higginson, I had told you I did not print (L316). One example of a poem addressed to Sue that reads like a message to her, and thus as a comment on Sue and Emilys relationsh ip, is L258, written in early 1862: Dear Sue, Your Riches taught me poverty! Myself, a Millionaire In little wealths as Girls can boast Till broad as Buenos Ayre You drifted your Dominions A Different Peru And I esteemed all poverty For Lifes Estate with you! Johnsons version of the poem continues for thre e more eight-lined st anzas with the ending signature: Dear Sue You see I remember 56


Emily. Approached in isolation, this poem has been interpreted in a number of ways.13 George Frisbie Whicher, for example, views it as an elegy fo r Benjamin Franklin Newton: There cannot be much doubt that Emily was thinking of Newton. So me years later, we cannot be sure just when, she sent this poem to her sister-in-law with the words: You see I remember. Sue would know what (92). Newton, Dickinsons gentle, yet grave Preceptor from about 1849-1850, who taught her what to read and wha t authors to admire (L153), le ft Amherst to continue the study of law at Worcester when Dickinson wa s nineteen, giving her a copy of the 1847 edition of Emersons Poems as a parting gift (Johnson 85; Capps 113). Newton died in March 1853, and Dickinson most likely refers to him in an 1862 le tter to Higginson: When a little Girl, I had a friend, who taught me Immortality but venturing too near, himself he never returned Soon after, my Tutor, died (L261). Despite Wh ichers claim, Dickinsons exact reference is uncertain, although we can be sure Sue would know what. Johnson suggests it may be written about a person living whom [Dickinson] f eels that she has lost, perhaps Sue herself. Such indeed seems to have been her feeling about Sue at this time (401-402). But the poem seems to be about more than loss, although the na rrator and the addressee of the poem are apart: But this must be a different Wealth / To miss it beggars so! / Im sure tis India all day / To those who look on you The address and signature lines, in conjunction with the message of the poem, allow one to interpret Sue as the Different girl who drifted her Dominions into Dickinsons life; until that day, Dickinson perceived herself as a Millionaire 13 Daneen Wardrop contextualizes th e poem within the burgeoning mining industry in the nineteenth-century, concluding it may caution against greed: She provides ironic twists on the type of wealth obtained from Buenos Ayre, Peru, and India, and Golconda, a city in southern India, renowned for diamonds. Her point is eminently clear: Of 'Mines' I little know myself / But just the names of Gems (Fr418A). Her riches come from the names of things rather than from the things themselves (75). Vivian Pollak reads the poems economic metaphor as a link between the private experi ence and that communal nineteenth-century life of which she was a shrewd observer and oblique critic (161). 57


in whatever wealths a girl can Boast. R eading the poem as a message to Sue fosters the biographical context, providing the illusion that one can isolate the narrator, the addressee, and the non-referential nouns, such as Riches, wealth s, and the Pearl. The inherent intimacy of the epistolary form becomes even more power ful in this instance, since the poem appears to have been sent as well as written to show Sue that Dickinson remembers something. As readers, we wish to imagine what that something ma y be, and yet the poem does not offer access to Susans or Dickinsons memories. In this instance, the allure of returning to a specific occasi on is tempting, but the inability to be sure and the rang e of interpretations, pa rticularly without any biographical background or the letter context, represent why one could argue, as does Dohmnall Mitchell, that what is easily forgotten is the remoteness [of the manuscripts] from our own time and twenty-first-century readers should keep the inaccessibility of th e historical in mind (A Foreign Country 186). However, another position articula tes that the manuscripts offer a different view of the writing process and can bring us closer to what Jerome McGann calls Dickinsons original scene of writing (Debo 133). The Dickinson Digital Archives for example, contain a section labeled, Emily Dickinson Writing a Poem, which shows the manuscripts of the exchange between Dickinson and Susan regarding Safe in their Alab aster Chambers. The poi nt of this section, it seems clear to me, is not to finalize Dick insons intentions, but to raise questions: In these screens, browsers can see Di ckinson sending one of her poems to a correspondent and then rewriting the poem in consultation with that reader, Emily's sister-in-law Susan Dickinson. Their exchange about this poem raises questions of identity central, really, to all practices of r eading. (Preface) While the editors, Martha Nell Smith and Lara Vetter, offer a few possible questions, such as what is the identity of Saf e in their Alabaster Chambers, the poem under Emily and Susans consideration here?, they end the Preface with this statement: As you examine the manuscripts 58


and notes featured here, many other questions and insights will surely arise, and we would greatly appreciate your comments and inquiries The discovery of an exchange between Susan and Dickinson leads to contempla tions regarding the id entity of poetry, the nature of writing, the idea (or breakdown of the idea) of the isolated genius, and what c onstitutes an artistic artifact. Rather than drawing any finite conclusion about Dickinsons intentions, databases such as the Dickinson Archives seem established to raise more questions. Smith deems this readerly writing a useful tool not only for scholar ly inquiry but for pedagogical approaches: Having realized that poems do not spring fully formed from a poets mind, seventh graders were inspired [after looking at the Emily Dickinson Writing a Poem section of the Archives ] not only to read but also to write poetry. Their activity parallels the writing that all readers and all editors do in the acts of reading and of textual production, the very sort of read erly writing that conventional editions, however scrupulously produced, occlude. (Introduction, Emily Dickinsons Correspondences) Due to time constraints in the classroom and in critical inquiry, scholar s and teachers who agree that Dickinsons presentation is pa rt of her art can typically discuss only a few poems where, for example, the shape of an s and the cross of a t are seen as intentiona l and influential in how the poem is read. Mitchells concern is that these anomalies may be consistent features within Dickinsons manuscripts as well as in nineteenth -century conventions, and thus the treatment of the material appearance of [Dickinsons] manuscripts as if they were not accidental or incidental to her practices indicates a quite drastic assumption as to authorial intention (Mitchell, A Foreign Country 178). Howeve r, manuscript study need not be to discover Dickinsons intentions, although the resistance to manuscript st udy may be explained through its break with Western tradition, in which public and private haven been commonly and sensibly understood as distinct zones (Warner 26). Manuscript study and digital archiving access Dickinsons bedroom poetry in ways that ma y cause anxiety or rebuke from those committed to traditional editorial approaches, and these r eactions against standard procedure parallel the 59


1890s reactions against Dickinsons lack of technical skill. When we read Dickinsons poems in print, and disregard the manuscripts and Di ckinsons workshop, then we can just read Dickinsons poetry without having to think about genre boundaries, let alone see them manipulated and broken. While the manuscripts pinpoint an occasion, or multiple occasions, in which Dickinson sought the advice of Sue, my discu ssion of the letters is not to return us to the historical moment, but to reveal the complexity of Dickinsons opus. While poems, letters, and letter-poems are marked by historical specificit y, the primary operation of Dickinsons poetry is un-occasional, something which Dickinson devel ops through her epistolary experimentation. The poses and voices in her letters a genre which readers typically assume represents an honest intimacy, correlate to her commit ment to non-referential poetry. The story regarding Sue and Dickinson hinges on an increasing distance between the two following Sues marriage in 1856, an event whic h some argue Dickinson viewed as Sues abandonment of her for the duties of wife, mother, and socialite.14 While the two women had intellectual disagreements and differences in opinion, Hart and Smith problematize the biographical commonplace that Emily did not see Susan for years at a time. In fact, the contact between the two is deep ly intimate and sustained [during the mid1860s to the mid-1870s]. The letter-poems allude to unkempt appearance, shared cups of coffee, and private interludes, wh ich Susans daughter Martha described as taking place in the back hallw ay of the Homestead. (147) In Open Me Carefully Johnsons L258 is transcribed as L70: 14 For example, Judith Farr reads Dick insons poetry, in conjunction with the letters, as narratives of two great loves: an early one for Sue, which is replaced by one fo r Samuel Bowles: Her surrender of the adored Sue to marriage, motherhood, and a shared lif e with Austin seems to have prompted a thirst for prominence and position of her own. It clearly provoked a surge of desire for a life in art, a life for which she must have known herself suited The evidence of her poems and letters, however, also shows that Emily Dickinson had indeed been in lovewith the girlhood friend who became her sister-inlaw; that later she was passionately drawn to the married Samuel Bowles (30). Dillon notes, however, that In criti cal treatment of Dickinsons poems concerning marriage, the biographical impulse has thus proved powerful in part because Dickinson has so effectively blocked this path of analysis (247). The push to find to what or whom Dickinsons non-referential poems and letters refer is, perhaps, understandable, or at least the primary critical approach thro ughout the twentieth century. In contrast to filling in biographical gaps, however, the letters and letter-poems indicate Dickinsons commitment to keeping the occasional out of her poetry, and her epistolary work enabled her to practice. 60


Dear Sue. Your Riches taught me poverty! Myself, a Millionaire In little wealths as Girls can boast Till broad as Buenos Ayre You drifted your Dominions A Different Peru And I esteemed all poverty For Lifes Estate with you! The intent of Hart and Smiths edition is to make a cohesive book that would most effectively relate the human story behind this most generative of literary and emo tional unions because of the editorial belief that the textual body of the corresponden ceDickinsons manuscripts and all their material factsforms a powerful witne ss to Susans involvement in Emilys writing practices. (xxi) However, the difficulty of transcribing these mat erial facts into print necessitates an involved, detailed End Notes that attempts to describe the materiality of each letter. Hart and Smith contend, Dickinson used the page itself, and th e placement of words in relation to embossments, attachments, and margins to convey meaning, yet they admit that typography cannot sufficiently transmit all of the poetic designs ( xxiii). Thus, one is left to decide how the Hart/Smith version differs from Johnsons: doe s the spacing alter ones vision of the poem, and can the visual differences be related to cont ent differences? While contemporary Dickinson criticism debates such questions, Michael Warne rs discussion of how the unending process of redefinition of multiple publics, which can be st rategic, conscious, even artful, applies in fruitful ways to Dickinsons body of work, particularly in the current moment of digital archiving (14). Digital archives dedicated to providing access to Dickinsons work and to nineteenth-century periodicals allow one to see how context shapes interpretation. We can also 61


see Dickinson at work, which offers possibilities beyond whether or not Dickinsons intentions can be located. Dickinsons material artifacts, in manuscript as well as in print, reveal that each decision of form, style, and pr ocedure carries hazards and costs in the kind of public it can define. The temptati on is to think of publics as something we make, through individual heroism and creative inspiration or through common goodwill. Much of the process, however, necessarily remains invisible to consciousness and to reflective agency. (Warner 14) While Dickinsons process of creating multiple publics is somewhat invisible, and was largely absent until the computer allowed for a wider range of access, we can see her workshop, her experimentation, and the ways in which each co ntext of each poem alters not only the poems content but the poems identity. Whether or not Dickinson intended to make various publics is largely invisible too, but her decisions of form, style, and pr ocedure offer possib ilities that are only recently being fully explored and appreciated. Wa rners theories in the Dickinson context elucidate just how complex the interplay among th ese different levels [of publics] can be, but it is precisely this interplay that debunks the long-held assumption of Dickinsons place as the poet of privacy (14). Dickinsons commitment to interplay is clear to me, and while I may be unable to prove that she intended to make various publics, my intent is to show how her body of work explores and transcends the public/private dichotomy. Hart and Smith are committed to the active presence of Sue within Dickinsons workshop, and the few examples of Sues letters to Dickinson seem to support this conclusion. For example, Dickinson listens to Susans advice regarding Safe in their Alabaster Chambers (Fr124A-G). While the Springfield Republican printed a version of the poem on March 1, 1862 (Fr124A), Dickinson sends the poem to Sue with an altered second stanza and the signature line, Perhaps this verse would please you better Sue Emily. 62


Susan replies: I am not suited / dear Emily w ith the second / verse Dickinson revises the second stanza again, returning it to Sue and asking, Is this frostier ? (Hart and Smith 96-100). The version included in Fascicle 6, however, closely resembles the version printed in the Republican which indicates that while Di ckinson revised and sent the stanza to Sue, she retained what seems to be the earliest version of the poem in fair copy without any va riants in the fascicle (see also Franklin 159-164). In Fascicle 10, however, Dickinson records the poem again in fair copy and includes the two alternate st anzas that she had sent to Sue.15 We can only guess at the extent to which Dickinson sought and implemente d Sues advice. Dickinsons correspondence, however, provides a context that differs from any poems in print, including those printed during Dickinsons life, such as These are the days when Birds come back While Sue may have been the one to send the poems to Drum Beat we can conjecture that she could not have done so without at least Dickinsons implicit approval. And since, once again, we cannot know the situation firsthand, the more important point is to see the influence of context in what we understand a poem to mean. As discussed in Chapter One, the readers of Drum Beat would interpret These are the days when Birds come back in a different way than Sue, if only because Dickinson initially sent this poem to he r in the mid-1850s, before the start of the Civil War. The study of these various contexts, ev en though we cannot read as Sue and we are no longer in the nineteenth-century, allows for open-ended publics to be formed. In addition, according to Hart and Smith, Di ckinsons These are the days echoes a poem by Susan, There are three months of the Spring, suggesting a call-and-response relationship in their writing life (71). Although Susans poem was not printed, the manuscript can be read on the Emily Dickinson Archives and is clearly a work in progress. If Dickinson is 15 For Eleanor Heginbothams discussion of how duplicates operate within the fascicles, see her Chapters Three and Four. 63


echoing Susan, then the poem could be read as a peaceful observation regarding Indian summer, similarly to the way Susans poem observes the p eaceful flow from winter into spring. Susans poem, however, never appears in Drum Beat or anywhere else in print, and the context of the Civil War adds a dimension of violence to Dickin sons poem. Since we have neither the Civil War as context nor Susans original poem at our fingertips, unless one looks for it within the digital archive, then we read Dickinsons poem primarily as Fr122A, B, C, or D, or J130. In fact, without the aid of a tit le, such as October, under which the poem appeared in Drum Beat or the utterly-telling Indian Summer of the 1890 edition, interpreting the poems main description may represent a difficulty. One would need to know, for example, what an Indian Summer signified, and the general reader may easily understand the reference if she lived in a geographic location in which these fraudulent su mmers are prevalent; others, who have never experienced such weather, may not.16 Ones interpretation of this poem depends upon its context, yet the various contexts in which it was and can be seen, such as by Susan, by the readers of Drum Beat as Fr122, or untitled17 in Fascicle 6, reflect the ways in which Dickinsons work, in conjunction with but also apart from the themes discussed in the poems, represents the possible spaces beyond public or priv ate. Dickinsons work exemp lifies the alluring difficulty of 16 For an interesting close reading of Indian Summer, based exclusively on the poems portrait of this season, see Donna Bauerlys Dickinsons Rhetoric of Temporality Bauerlys understanding of Indian Summer and of language is altered by the poem, which recalls all the deceptiv e tricks that such a season, not really a season at all, plays on the willing-to-be-duped. Indian Summer comes afte r the first frost, when we reluctantly have turned ourselves toward winter. Suddenly, the days warm, the light catches the colors in the leaves and returns us to the bright hues of summer blossoms. Mindlessly, like an overwrought and eager Orpheus pursuing Eurydice, wanting to catch hold of what we fear we are lo sing, we turn backfoolish and fooled mortals! (1-2). Baulery concludes, and how shall I go out into nature, into Nature, these days? Returning to Iowa will not just be the recognition of the old familiar signs. The displacement has been far more th an external. Dickinson knew a ll about that, for more than once she spoke of internal differences. Now I know, and knowing, unknow as well (7).17 Elizabeth Maddock Dillon correlates Dickinsons lack of titles to the liberal subjects narrative of identity, in which identity is often imagined to ha ve been established in private, par ticularly in the domestic space of the home. Dillon argues that Dickinsons preference not to title her works is not simply a problem for editors; rather, it is of a piece with a poetic practice that disturbs and ob structs the liberal subjects narrative of identity as well as the division between public and private on which this narrative depends (246-247). 64


defining private and public as di stinct zones that are always cl early demarcated regardless of context or situation. The image of Dickinson has long been synonymous with privacy, but I see her work as playing with the multiple, comple x, and sometimes contradictory definitions of private and public poetry. Within the past few decades, studies into Dickinsons refusal to print highlight the multiple, often competing, contexts in which Dickinsons work can be comprised, and these studies reveal how Dickinson blur red genre distinctions, with bot h print and manuscript contexts playing a role. Dickinsons project rather than simply existing because she delayed to print, represents possibilities beyond the norm, and we n eed not finalize Dickinsons intentions or the proper way to read her poetry. Elizabeth Mad dock Dillon, for example, utilizes Dickinsons work to explicate contemporary political debates concerning marri age (237). Dillons reading of Dickinsons marital poems centers on the argument for alternative spaces: By splitting apart the public and the priv ate, Dickinson makes visible the space of socialitythe space in which public and pr ivate meanings are stitched together either overtly or covertly. The third space, between public and private, is one that Dickinsons poetry habitually seeks to inhabit. (253) Some critics, such as Dohmnall Mitchell, may di sagree with others who focus their studies on the manuscripts, such as Martha Nell Smith, beca use relying on the autograph version alone is problematic, for it assumes that the handwritten page is a form of publicationcomplete, finished, and containing in script and in visual form all the information necessary to its further transmission (Diplomacy of Translation 45). Mitchell articulates that prioritizing Dickinsons work in manuscript form may cause one to forg et the remoteness [of the manuscripts] from our own time (A Foreign Country 186). However, Martha Nell Smith, in Rowing in Eden: Rereading Emily Dickinson never suggests that Di ckinsons work should only be read in manuscript. Rather, her main point seems to illustrate how 65


the original Dickinson documents emphasize the fact that reader s do not get hold of or master poems, but are themselves part of the process. Dickinsons literary productions are themselves theoreti cal, beginning to critique the idea of the author, the role of the read er, and to elaborate what we now call reception studies. (8) A return to a historical moment is not possible, yet the attempt to do so has revealed multiple, complex contexts through which Dickinsons work can be considered, lead ing to a necessary reevaluation not only of Dickinsons status as a private poet but of the dichotomy between private and public. Rather than seeing Dickinson s project as a rejecti on of print, Alexandra Socarides locates the ways in which the ma nuscripts investigate the limits of print: When we look at the two main material contexts in which Dickinson copied her poems (her fascicles and her letters) we see something other than flat out rejectionwe see that she is also adopting, borrowing, and appropriating conventions of print, in order, as I will argue, to figure out wh at the limitations of print might be.18 Critics have always found a lack of consistency in Dickinsons work, such as the lack of a clear pattern to each fascicle; certain poems appearing in duplicates in the fascic les; the presence of variants or alternate word choi ces in the fascicle poems; various drafts of the same poem; and certain poems working with the hymn quatrain wh ile others seem to be experimenting with visual effects of line breaks. These inconsistenc ies lead some scholars to deem a vast amount of Dickinsons work as unsuitable for circulation [and] not intended for others (Franklin 20). However, I see Dickinsons project as going in a different directionw hile we cannot read Dickinsons mind, we can find some consistenc y within her experimentation, which may be to not be consistent Dickinsons manuscripts and letters re veal the ways in which she delineated how to manage the writing of poetry: meticulous ly experimenting with diction, line breaks, 18 Socarides argument stems from a close reading of the ways in which Dickinson copied poems into her manuscripts. A detailed discussion of contemporary manuscript studies, including Socarides point of view, is the focus of Chapter Three and Four. 66


grammar, addressee, purpose, context, and voice The letters can be seen as practice for her commitment to non-referential poetry, and the wo rkshop plays with and un derstands the confines of print, and Dickinson uses this workshop not simp ly to talk to herself, but to investigate how and when she could work within those confines and how and when she could not. I have already mentioned the discussion within the letters about Safe in their Alabaster Chambers, but another rare glimpse into how the workshop may have operated between Sue and Dickinson is the poems appearance in the Springfield Republican (March 1862): The Sleeping. Safe in their alabaster chambers, Untouched by morning, And untouched by noon Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection, Rafter of satin, and roof of stone. Light laughs the breeze In her castle above them, Babbles the bee in a stolid ear, Pipe the sweet birds in ignorant cadences: Ah! What sagacity perished here! Pelham Hill, June 1861. The violence of the Civil War seems intenti onally subdued by the poems title, which was most likely chosen by the Republican editor, Samuel Bowles, as it does not appear anywhere in Dickinsons manuscripts, yet the context of the pu blication and the addition of the exact site of where the perished lie make the war inextricab le from the poems images. Besides the title, the poems diction, such as Safe, Sleep, laughs and babbles, rings of such peace that one may miss the poems portrait of an uncaring, ignorant nature, laughing and singing, significantly in cadences, despite of, or perhaps at, the dead who lie below. According to the Emily Dickinson Lexicon, sagacity is shrewdness; acuteness of mental discernment; aptitude for investigation or discovery; keenness and soun dness of judgment of persons and conditions. 67


Why the fallen soldiers represent sagacity is unclear. The poem seems to indicate that nature continues despite human death. The dead as t he meek members of th e Resurrection echoes Bible verses such as But the meek shall inher it the earth; / and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace (The Psalms 37:11) and Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5.5). Ignorant nature remains unaware that The Sleeping will one day return and inherit the earth. However, the Republican readership would associate death with the Civil War, where both sides used millennium discourse as justification,19 and natures laughing scorn may be at the wars contingency upon a lack of keenness and soundness of judgment of persons and conditions. A primary objective of the Republican was to offer a weekly review of the wars status, and Dickinsons poem, appearing on pa ge two, follows an extensive account of the Progress of the War. A Republican reader could be uplifted from the dismal reminder by the message of hope in the poem that follows Dick insons, which Hart and Smith indicate could likely be Susans (96): The Shadow of Thy Wing. Weary of lifes great mart, its dust and din, Faint with its toiling, su ffering with its sin, In childlike faith my heart to Thee I bring, For refuge in "the shadow of thy wing." Like a worn bird of passage, left behind Wounded, and sinking, by its faithless kind, With flight unsteady, seeking needed rest, I come for shelter to Thy faithful breast. Like a proud ship, dismantled by the gale, Her banners lost and rifted every sail, In the deep waters to Thy love I cling, And hasten to the refuge of Thy wing. 19 See, for example, Shira Woloskys A Voice of War Chapters One and Two. 68


O Thou, thy peoples comforter alway, Their light in darkness, and their guide by day, Their anchor mid the storm, their hope in calm, Their joy in pain, their fortress in alarm! We are all weak, Thy strength we humbly crave; We are all lost, and Thou alone canst save; A weary world, to Thy dear arm we cling, And hope for all a refuge neath Thy wing. Although both poems were published anonymously, T he Shadow of Thy Wing as authored by Susan seems indicated in her statement to Dickinson, Has girl read Republican ? / It takes as long to start our / Fleet as the Burnside (L58). In comparison to The Shadow, Dickinsons invocation of scripture is remarkably slight and it s use as a message of hope is debatable. While the Biblical connotation makes meek a positive quality, the meekness of soldiers, especially dead ones, may not have been a well-received de scription. The lack of clarity belies not a statement of peaceful, hopeful closure, but a criti que of the war itself and of what caused these soldiers to die; it may refer to the sagacity of the perished soldiers, bu t it may also indicate, especially if the place of death is removed, that what has perished is sagacity. In contrast, The Shadow finds and offers hope in the St eadfast love of God: How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! / Therefore the children of men put their trus t under the shadow of thy wings ( Psalms 36:7). Although only the meek are addressed in Dickinsons poem, Susans claims that We are all weak We are all lost and God alone canst save this weary world and God alone can offer a refuge.20 Juxtaposed with this confident message of hope and love, one views Dickinsons as more critical of the warra ther than a reflection up on the peaceful sleep of 20 Dickinsons Hope is the things with feathers seems to allude to The Shadow of Thy Wing, although it was not printed until the 1891 edition of Poems and most likely was not sent to Su san (Franklin records that a lost manuscript was sent to Louise and Frances Norcross, perhaps about 1862, 333). Dickinson transcribed the poem into Fascicle 13. Dickinsons synthesis, as always, i s hers, and unique (Sewall 717), and she removes the direct Biblical allusion. In Dickinsons poem, hope itself, unatta ched to any mention of God, perches in the soul And sore must be the storm / That could abash the little Bi rd / That kept so many warm / Ive heard it in the chillest land -/ And on the strangest Sea -/ Yet never in Extremity, / It asked a crumb of me. (Fr314). 69


fallen heroes, one can read it as an observation of natures relentlessne ss and of the lack of shrewdness that caused The Sleeping to be put in their place. The poems placement exemplifies that war kills, since an account of th e wars progress leads read ers here to imagine a Rafter of satin, and roof of stone. Despite the weariness of the world that Susans poem admits, one can find an anchor mid the storm in God, which indicates that the storm will pass; until it does, however, refuge is possible with an d within Gods love. Dickinsons poem offers no such guaranteeonly that sagacity perished here. The third space appears when we account for the material existence and the various contexts of Dickinsons poems and letter-poems and see them as objects contingent upon space and time, yet capable of transcendence. The identity of these artifacts does not depend on Dickinson alone, but on who sees it and where. Alt hough contemporary print editions offer all of Dickinsons poems in isolation, or seemingly w ithout a context other than the random page at which a person opens the book, mid-nineteenth-cen tury readers would access Dickinsons poems much like the above example, which is a contex t separated from Dickinson in several ways: her name, for one, would be anonymous, and while a poem would be isolated from other Dickinson poems, its interpretive context would be shaped by th e surrounding poems and prose. Despite the alteration of print, the periodical context reflects an aspect of Dickinsons workshop that Johnsons and Franklins variorums, a nd particularly the read ing editions, obscure. Although recipients of Dickinsons poems would know the author of the poem, despite her tendency to vary or leave out a signature, the poem or lette r-poem would be read amidst Dickinsons prose, often with a specific occasion in mind. Just as readers of Drum Beat and the Republican could not disregard the cu ltural or textual contexts surrounding Dickinsons poems, Susans reading of a poem would be marked by the poems relation to recent events in her life. 70


Specifying Dickinsons intent in writing the poem, however, is made difficult by a poem also being sent to Samuel Bowles, who would interpret it according to events in his life. In other words, both recipients would attempt to unders tand Dickinsons point, yet both would come to different conclusions since Dickinson sent it to th em, but did not necessarily write it with them in mind. While Dickinsons reason for the initial writing may be unverifiable, her reasons for sending it can be postulated, and when twenty-f irst century readers are made aware of the context, of when the poem was read by a particul ar recipient, then a new public is created, one which differs from a public arising out of Frankl ins traditional editions. And these material artifacts continue to create new publics with each additional layer of context: we see the artifact through Susans eyes or read it in the context of Susa n, Higginson, or Bowles, depending upon to whom she sent it. The poem could also be read by a contemporary reader who has no knowledge of any of the various contexts or reci pients and would consti tute a public in a way different from those who do read it in the light of its fascicle placement its status as a letterpoem, or its being sent to Sue, Bowles, or Higginson. Public is a complex noun, with various senses and modes of definition that tend to be intermixed in usage. People do not always even distinguish between the public and a public, though in certain contexts the difference can matter a great deal. The public is a kind of social totality (Warner 65). Modern societys conception of the public is one sense of the noun, while Michael Warner explains that a public can also be a second thi ng: a concrete audience (66). Warner thinks of this concrete audience as a bounded totality marked by a specific event or place, such as the audience of a play, yet his ex planation links in an interesting way to the specific, intended audience of Sue. However, Wa rners main objective is to clarify the third sense: the kind of public that comes into being on ly in relation to texts and their circulation 71


(66). While Dickinson may have intended numerous poems to be read by Sue, to be about Sue, or to work through her emotions regarding Sue, Sue no longer can be the bounded totality of Dickinsons poetry. And Dickinson seemed to r ecognize this. When cons idering even a single Dickinson poem, the various versions and contex ts result in publics that exemplify Warners notion of a public in the third sense. The discursive publics cr eated by Dickinsons texts rely on multiple factors, such as a reader or readers, th e setting or context in which the poem(s) is found, the medium of access, and the moment in time and each public changes depending on these and other numerous factors. While I see Dickin sons project as a pr ediction of Warners investigation, Emerson clarifies the simple distinction between prose and verse by writing, you shall not speak ideal truth in prose uncontradict ed: you may in verse. We ask for food and fire, we talk of our work, our tools and material n ecessities, in prose; that is, without any elevation or aim at beauty (Poetry and Imag ination 743). Emerson also simplifies the distinction between public and pr ivate by relating it to moral conduct: We believe that holiness confers a certain insight, because not by our private but by our public force can we share and know the nature of things (Worship 586).21 The poet is endowed with the ability to understand and explain nature in a way that normal men cannot: the poet stands among partial men for the complete man, and apprises us not of his wealth, but of the common wealth. Nature enhances her beauty, to the eye of lovi ng men, from the belief th at the poet is beholding her shows at the same time (The Poet 239). Although Henry Wells observes that Dickinson was the only person in America who really ma de Transcendentalism practical, she also radicalized and complicated Emersons notions of the clear boundaries between public and 21 Earlier in the essay, Emerson makes clear that his us e of the terms public and private relates to forms of worshipreligion being public and faith or a moral consciou sness being private: The builder of heaven has not so ill constructed his creature as that the religion, that is, the public nature, should fall out: the public and the private element adhere to every soul, and cannot be subdued except the soul is dissipated. God builds his temple in the heart on the ruins of churches and religions (582). 72


private, verse and prose (Capps 112). The experimentation that occurs in her letter-writing provides the laboratory for Dickinson to produce her new species of art. Of course, Dickinson is not the only nineteenth-century writer to experiment with literary conventions or to blur genre dis tinctions. In fact, the Civil War era altered the l iterary landscape: Boundaries between once-distinct poetic st ances became remarkably fluid. Earlier in the century an occasional civic poem such as Emersons Concord Hymn would have seemed diametrically opposed to a woman poets meditation on the death of a child In the Civil War era, however, when a poem represents the death of a son in battle, grieving becomes a process that is at once collective and individual an astonishing variety of peopl emen and women from all walks of lifeturned to poetry in order to respond to ev ents of the war. (Barrett 2) While poetry became integral to American cu lture, writers recognized the difficulty of representing the war and its effects, and some atte mpted to alter literary conventions in order to produce a new language that could better convey what was happe ning. Dickinson clearly falls into this category, as does Melvilles Battle-Pieces in which he examines how the war is represented in all kinds of text s, including newspapers, telegrams, and poetry. Melville probes the boundary between poetry and prose, suggesting that poetrya new kind of poetry might have a role to play in representing the wars horrors (14). Si milarly to the critical confusion about Dickinsons unc onventionality, Mel villes volume of densely written and philosophical war poems was a critical failure in its own time Some reviewers had trouble deciding whether Melville was writing poetry or prose (14). But Melville and Dickinson were not the only ones who consciously blended verse and prose. While they may have done so as an artistic stance, the prevalence of poetry during the mid-nineteenth-c entury resulted in extensive circulation in various ways: some Americans sent in their work to newspapers and magazines; others copied them into album books, mailed them in letters, or read them aloud at social gatherings (2). Poetry was read in books and anthologies, in broadsides, pamphlets, daily newspapers, and magazines, as well as in the fo rm of sheet music (2). Besides letters as a 73


74 means of circulating ones own poems or poems one liked, other writers of the time period also collapsed prose and poetry in letters. For example, Faith Barrett and Cristanne Millers Words for the Hour: A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry publishes for the first time the work of Obadiah Ethelbert Baker, who fought fo r the Union army and filled thirteen pocket diaries with his responses to th e war, responses that include j ournal entries and long poems, as well as the lines of verse he sometimes used to cl ose out journal entries (1). Baker revised and drafted the war-time materials until the 1890s, ending up with about tw o hundred poems (1). Dickinson is clearly a product of her time peri od, yet the quantity, variet y, and quality of her poems create one of Americas most accomplished poe ts. While there is indeed experimentation going on in her letters, she was not the only poet of the time period to do so, and the intermingling of communication and poetry was a facet of the nineteenth-century that links Dickinson with her culture, rather than sets her apart. What di stinguishes her is the sustained effort to continue to play with the limits of ge nre and print conventions. In the next chapter, I explore how Dickinson became known as the isolated genius ahead of, rather than influenced by, her time.


CHAPTER 3 DICKINSON IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY In the twentieth-century, Emily Dickinson became one of the most canonized female writers in American literature. This transiti on from a popular writer to the ideal (pre)modernist poet continues to influence the way her work is read, taught, and understo od. The myth of the spinster recluse who wrote poetry only for herself arose during the nineteen th-century, of course, but the reiteration of this myth throughout the twentieth-century continues to permeate the way Dickinsons work is understood. In stark contrast to viewing Dickinson as a product of the Civil War era, an era which collapsed the distinct ion between high and low poetry, twentiethcentury editorial procedures and literary criticism reinforced the image of Dickinson as isolationist. In fact, the literary establishmen t purported to have discovered Dickinson, and she was valued as a protomodernist poet who had re jected everything about her own time. Allen Tate, for example, writes in a 1928 essay on Emily Dickinson that when she went upstairs and closed the door, she mastered life by rejecting it (287). The Third Series in 1896 marked the last of the nineteenth-century volumes. After Austin Dickinsons death in 1895, a quarr el developed between Dickinson s sister, Lavinia, and Mabel Loomis Todd over a strip of land, culminating in a much-publicized court cas e that Todd lost. It ended her work on the manuscripts leaving them divided between the two women (Franklin 3). Lavinia continued on her own, and although she was reduced to the old pattern of piecemeal publication, she succeed at times. Four poems attributed to Emily Dickinson appeared in periodicals in 1897 and 1898 Lavinias death in 1899 stopped such publication, and the manuscripts passed to her niece and heir, Martha Dickinson (4). Martha, who would later become Martha Dickinson Bianchi, did nothing with the manuscripts unt il about thirty years later, by which time Susan Dickinson was dead a nd [Martha] was in her sixties (4). Bianchi 75


was Susans daughter, and she did not publish any of the manuscripts until in The Single Hound, largely made up of poems that had been sent to her mother (4). Bianchi also published a 1915 article in the Atlantic Monthly which contained notes and le tters, including some poems, that Dickinson had sent to her fam ily (4). In 1924, Bianchi published The Life and Letters of Emily Dickinson which was Bianchis re-arrangement of Letters (1894) with a biographical account and some material from the 1915 arti cle (4). Also in 1924, Bianchi issued The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson which combined the 1890s volumes and The Single Hound Bianchi did not realize many of the manuscripts she had inherited from Lavinia contained poems not yet published, so she issued Further Poems in 1929 and Unpublished Poems in 1935. While Bianchi was not as competent as Todd with Dickin sons handwriting, and she made numerous alterations in the interests of sense and sensibility and her texts were regularized as to spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, her installments may be seen as the continuation of the three nineteenth-century se ries, although she was the firs t to stop giving titles to poems, and in fact removed all of them from the nineteenth-century versi ons when she brought them into her collected edition in 1924 (5). In 1931, Ma bel Loomis Todd, in collaboration with her daughter, Millicent Todd Bingham, published an expanded edition of the Letters, which Franklin sees as a direct challenge to Bianchis Life and Letters (1924) (5). When both Bianchi and Todd died, Bingham issued two books, Ancestors Brocades: The Literary Debut of Emily Dickinson (1945), in which she documented the early editing, the lawsuit, and the ensuing confusion, and Bolts of Melody (1945), an edition containing over 650 unpublished poems, the last installment in the series that had begun in 1890 (5). The 1945 edition represented the end of the first cycle of Dickinson editing n early all the poems had no w been published, yet the 76


1896 manuscript division was made permanent be tween Harvards collect ion and the collection at Amherst College: In 1950 Alfred Leete Hampson, Bianchis heir, sold the Dickinson papers to Harvard University, which thereby acqui red claims to the manuscripts in Binghams possession, along with those in Hampsons, and to the Dickinson literary property generally. Bingham gave her manuscripts to Amherst College, and an agreement between the two institutio ns permits their remaining there. (5-6) In addition to the single-author volumes, Dickinsons poems were presented in anthologies. To show how the mythic Emily Dickinson came into being, Amanda Gailey traces major editorial approaches in depicting Dickin sons life and poems by examining representative anthologies from 1897 to 1955 (62). Gailey record s several specific instan ces of later editorial introductions that simply redraw the reclusive, love-spurned image of Dickinson that began with Todd and Higginson, and Todd, Higginson, and Bian chi, all writing in the new century, continued to add to the myth. For example, Hi gginson collected a number of his nineteenthcentury Atlantic Monthly essays into a book, Carlyles Laugh, published in 1909. The longest essay in the collection is Emily Dickinson, wh ich opens, few events in American literary history have been more curious than the sudden rise of Emily Dickinson many years since into a posthumous fame only more accentuated by the ut terly recluse character of her life (249). Higginson recounts his relationship with Dickinson, including in full the first eight letters she sent him as well as a number of the poems sent along with those letters. Early twentieth-century readers would see that Dickinson writes, I sm ile when you suggest I delay to publish, that being foreign to my thought as firmaments to fin, and When I state myself, as the representative of the verse, it does not mean me, but a s upposed person (258, 260). Although Higginson is not completely trut hful about his initial reaction to Dickinson, he writes, the impression of a wholly new and original poetic ge nius was as distinct on my mind at the first 77


reading of these four poems as it is now (252).1 Higginson refers to the four poems Dickinson sent in her first letter to him, the one in which she asks, Are you too deeply occupied to say if my verse is alive? (L262). Higginson includes in full two of the poems, We play at paste (Fr282) and The nearest dream recedes unrealized (Fr304), since they had not yet been printed. He notes that the other two enclosures have si nce been separately printed, Safe in their alabaster chambers and Ill tell you how the sun rose (251). Higginson mainly uses Dickinsons letters to present an account of her life. Although he calls her a poetic genius, his essay reinforces the image of Dickinson he drew in the 1890s: At last, after many postponements, on August 16, 1870, I found myself face to face with my hitherto unseen correspondent I heard an extremely faint and pattering footstep like that of a child, in the hall and in glided, almost noiselessly, a plain, shy little person, the face without a singl e good feature She had a quaint and nun-like look She came toward me w ith two day-lilies, which she put in a childlike way into my hand, saying sof tly, under her breath, These are my introduction, and adding, also under her br eath, in childlike fashion, Forgive me if I am frightened; I never see stranger s, and hardly know what to say. (272) While the Prefaces to the 1890s editions highlighted Dickinsons reclusiveness, Higginson linked Dickinson the poet with Helen Hunt Jackson and Emerson. Here, he reduces the forty-year-old woman to an unattractive, timorous child. Am anda Gailey argues that Dickinson had to be naturalized [into] the feminized private explorer because of the belief that she could not have produced universally aesth etic poetry without a painfully fe minized life (65). According to Bianchi, Dickinsons painful life is a result of falling suddenly and comple tely in love with a man already married (Gailey 73). Bianchis portrait of her aunt appears in her Pref ace to the 1915 and 1924 volumes, which ushered in a new period in Dickinsons recepti on, according to Fred Lewis Pattee, who remarks 1 Recall from Chapter One that Ruth Miller relays Higginsons April 17th letter to his editor: I foresee that Young Contributors will send me worse things than ever now. Two such specimens of verse as came yesterday & day beforefortunately not to be forwarded for publication! (62). 78


that by 1930 the flood-gates of sentimentality and sensation and romance were wide open (186). Pattee argues that by 1937, the y ear when his article was published in The Sewanee Review there are three Emily Dickin sons, if we begin our consider ation with the date when she first appeared in published form (181). Pattee claims that first is the Todd-Higginson period, which he sees as without sensation, deeming the prefaces as offering perhaps a complete revelation of the poet as we shall ever have ( 182). Pattees second period is the Madame Bianchi periodEmily Dickinson presented as a person, Emily Dickinson romanticized, sentimentalized, drenched with superlatives (185). The post-1930 period witnesses a flood of interest in Dickinson: there we re four biographies of Dickinson, and four different lovers, and with it came a new Complete Edition of th e Poems poems now. Then had come two bibliographies and endless articles in ma gazines and reviews, much of it in the key of personalia and literary gossip (185-186). While Pattee pinpoints the ed itorial blunder of withholding material, saying that photographic reproductions of manuscripts often differ from translations into print, he associates the bungl ing and unscholarly editi ng with the feminine ranks: The proponents and biogra phers and defenders of the poet have been from the first mostly women (186-187). Pattee singles out Mabel Loomis Todd as praiseworthy, despite her unscholarly editing, her haphazard arrangement of the poems, and her composition of titles (186). Pattee laments editorial issues that continue to conc ern critics today, such as the selections made for the 1890s editions (why se lect the 115 seemingly at random and throw them without chronology into four classi fications never dreamed of by th eir author?), the translation of the poems into print, and the apparent divisi on of the holders of the manuscript poems into two seemingly hostile camps (187). 79


While Pattee makes some poignant observation s that are still bei ng debated today, his overall argument is to show the real Emily Dick inson, which he believes is different and more real than the other Dickinsons al ready created by past ed itors and critics. He rightly calls for a detailed editing that remains close to the ma nuscripts, saying that if the poet revised her manuscript poems or presented them in different versions the reader should know it and all of the manuscripts should be open for the inspec tion of students and critics (188-189). But Pattees scholarly, male editors main task would be to organize the chaotic mass of the manuscripts. Although the first scholarly edition will not appear until 1955, Pattees vision of an editor parallels the mentality of T.H. Johnson and R.W. Frankli n, which is to clean up the poetry and present it correctly by removing the ti tles and regularizations and organizing the poems into chronological order. Pattee quotes th e conclusion of Professor Whicher, which has been the conclusion of every other scholarly crit ic: Of the growth of Em ily Dickinson as a poet some conception of the sequence of her poems is a first essential (188). While I do agree that Dickinsons manuscripts are integral to her pr oject, Pattee and his idea l editor, a role which Johnson and Franklin fill well, would offer the poetry correctly in order to judge it more accuratelya competent male editor is need ed in order to determine whether or not Dickinsons poems reveal poetic value. While Pattee recommends that this editor throw aside most of the biographical material now in print and all of the centenary papers in magazines and reviews, presumably to be able to edit the poetry without being blinded by the sentimentalized myth of Dickinson, he then argues that the po ems should be considered a media through which one might catch possible glimpses of a womans naked soul (189-190). Pa ttee restates the myth begun by Higginson that the lyrics we know were written w ith never a thought of possible publication, and adds his own explanation for why Dickinsons poems should be understood as 80


passionate confessions and cries, whether or not they were attached to autobiographical events. Pattee argues Dickinson never did escape from he r ancestral environment, which he describes as New England individualism seeding into queerness; religion hardening into clich; love in its natural channels repressed, denied, thwarte d, become a growing underground cataractstrange wreckage one finds on the terminal moraines of the Puritan ice-age (191). Pattee, in fact, affirms his theory of Dickinsons Puritanical repression with Higginson s portrait of Emily at both of his visits to Amhers t as a mere child (193). Pattee reads the poetry as Dickinsons desi re for escape, and suggests that what undoubtedly saved her from mere ster ile queerness, was her abilit y,first tested after she had entered her thirtiesto express herself with the wr itten word; an ability ra rely attained in the New England of her period where feminine repr ession was deemed to be scriptural command (193). Since Pattee calls for an editor to thr ow aside most of the biographical material, I should add here that we know Dickin sons valentine was published in the Springfield Daily Republican in 1852, when she was twenty-one. Many much later critics have suggested that Dickinson was oppressed by her time period, a nd countless psychoanalytic readings of her poems were published throughout the twentieth-century.2 But rather than add anything new or 2 For example, Heather Kirk Thomas writes in a 1988 ar ticle, Emily Dickinsons Renunciation and Anorexia Nervosa, that Dickinsons poetry display[s] the obsessive patterns of starvation and renunciation typical of female victims of anorexia and that her lif e and her extant letters present nearly conclusive evidence that Dickinson herself suffered from this syndrome (206). In 1979, Karl Keller claims Dickinson was liberated to write poetry through her Puritan heritage, just as Puritanism liberated Anne Bradstreet not to here sy, but to duty In each instance the Puritan emphasis on fulfillment through faith gave a woman her poetry (17). Keller contextualizes Dickinsons work within the teachings of Puritanism to show how he r Puritan heritage allowed more freedom and equality than nineteenth century social binaries, since every man and woman [was] struggling toward the Celestial City (16). Kellers concludes, a private poetry could th erefore become Emily Dickinsons way of fulfilling herself (in perfect Puritan model) as a woman (22). Wells includes the comments of Bliss Carman, a reviewer in an undated clipping from an unnamed paper in the Jones Library, who also understands Dickinson through an understanding of Puritan New England: It would never, I feel sure, occur to anyone with the least insight into the New England conscience (with its capacity for abstemiousness, its instinct fo r being always aloof and restrained rather than social and blithe) to think of Emily Dickinson as peculiar or her mode of life as queer (257). Sandra Gilberts and Susan Gubars famous 1979 book, The Madwoman in the Attic explains Dickinsons art as a coping mechanism, resulting from psychic anxiety. A 2009 collection, Gilbert & Gubars The Madwoman in the Attic 81


revise the myth of Dickinson, Pattee reaffirms the designation of the ge nteel critics of the nineteenth-century: All of her poetry from the first ran riot over the rules. No conscious rebellion however! She knew no be tter (193). While Pattee year ns for a competent editor for Dickinsons manuscripts and recommends scholars to ignore the sentimental, romantic rewriting of Dickinson, he sees her, at best, as a fem inine Emerson without benefit of Harvard and the schools; an inconsistent childlike poet who unconsciously broke poetic rules and spoke only for herself, rather than for humanity or for the life of his times; Dick inson would add to the long tradition of American poetry a few lyri cs, undoubtedly, that will continue to enrich the anthologies, even the most select (197). Bu t Pattee implicitly states the Dickinson is not a great poet, like Whitman: were she a conscious rebel she would have thrown off completely shackles of uniform rhyme and stanza form and expr essed herself in free verse. Either all or nothing! (195). While Pattee outlines the influence of editors on Dickinsons work, nearly ten years earlier, Anna Mary Wells writes, when Emily Dickinso n appeared upon the literary horizon in this decade, she was greeted as a disc overy of twentieth century critics (246). In some ways, as Wells and later critics would admit, Dickinsons poetry is modern3: the flippancy of many of After Thirty Years, addresses the significance, implications, and re-evaluations of this pivotal study. Lucia Aiello, for example, challenges Gilbert and Gubars analysis of Dickinsons po etry, suggesting that the authors underestimate her innovative work. 3 Cary Nelsons Anthology of Modern American Poetry (2000) begins with Whitman and Dickinson. In a very short introduction to the sixteen Dickinson poems, Nelson writes, the cultural environment was fervently religious, but Dickinson instead gradually chose irony as her way of viewing the world. She is thus, in an uncanny and symbolic way, the precursor to everything in modern poetry that is condensed, elliptical, and disjunctive, rather than being expansively Whitmanesque (9). A far earlier anthologist also began with Dickinson: Starting with the 1919 publication of Modern American Poetry Untermeyer began his selections of modern poetry with Dickinson: in his introduction, he claims that Whitman was the greatest of the moderns (vii), but he does not even include Whitman in the book, making Dickinson the earliest modern incl uded. In fact, in other writings Untermeyer claims Dickinson's superiority as a poet, as in his 1927 chap book, where he writes: this poetry, built on epigram and paradox, has a range unsurpassed even by Whitman (6). He began his Modern American Poetry with Dickinson until 1942, when he finally pushed the starting point back to Whitman, the only poet included who predates Dickinson (Gailey 74). 82


the religious poems, the epigrammatic brevity of all, and the unexpected mingling of sardonic wit with sentiment find numerous parallels in the work of our contemporary poets (246). But Wells quotes a review of William Dean Howells to show that 1890s reviewers were not unaware of Dickinsons power, and she explains how the r omantic and popular account of the survival of neglected manuscripts has little if any basis in fact (247). We lls includes several of the 1890s reviews, both positive and negative, to show the amount of attention the nineteenth-century had paid to Dickinson: Until 1900, then, discussion of Emily Dickinson in magazines was fairly plentiful. It was after the turn of the century that for fifteen years she became almost as obscure as she had been during her life . In 1914 Emily Dickinsons niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, published a fourth volume of poems entitled The Single Hound It was the fifteen years of obs curity between 1900 and 1915 that led to the popular misconception that no one befo re our own generation had appreciated Emily Dickinson. (257-258) This rewriting of nineteenth-cen tury reactions conti nues throughout the century as the Bianchi period reinforces the myth of a recluse whose e xperience of unrequited love leads her to reject the world. Yet Dickinsons popularity is predom inantly academic, and her canonization occurs because of the kind of female poet she is assumed to be. Histories of American literature give her from a page to a chapter; most anthologies include her, and a number of important critics have written about her (Wells 258). The acceptance of Dickinson by the intellectual elite, according to Wells statement, began around th e 1920s, and Amanda Gaileys study shows how this acceptance allowed Dickin son a rare place in the canon: Paul Lauter has argued th at in the early twentieth centuryin the twenties, especiallywomen and minorities began to be systematically excluded from poetry anthologies. He notes, though, one pe rsistent exception to this trend: Emily Dickinson. He points out that by 1948, th e NCTE [National Council of Teachers of English] found that only three American women writers were represented in college English classes, but that Emily Dickinson was tenacious enough to appear in twenty-four courses, ranking her as the seventeenth most commonly taught American writer. (67) 83


The portrait of Dickinson as a shy recluse with an intense im agination made her a woman who was kept safe in her own head. Gailey argues, the frequent inclusion of Dickinsons bra nd of creative femininity in anthologies and the frequent exclusion of competing notions of what it means to be a woman writerlikely helped check early feminist forces in the academy and to serve the conservative impulse to domes ticate educated women. (68) Rather than poetry being seen as a cultural necessity to which everyone had access, such as was the case during the Civil War, the mode rnist literary establishment had an interest in seeking an exclusionary cultural position (Lurie 153). The overly-simplistic character ization of Dickinson drawn in the 1890s carried over into the twen tieth, and was further cemented by Bianchis editions, which incorporated num erous alterations in the interest s of sense and sensibility and presented seemingly-accurate acc ounts of Dickinsons biography and literary methodology since the editor was Dickinsons niece (Franklin 4). The complete scholarly publication of Dickinsons 1,775 poems came in 1955, when Thomas H. Johnson printed a three-volume variorum of The Poetry of Emily Dickinson This edition became the academic standard, backed by the power of Harvard. Johnsons purpose was to publish all of the poems in a literal text, chronologically arranged, with the variant readings, which infested the publis hed texts, critically compared to all known manuscripts. The second editing fo r most of the poems, Johnsons work was the first collected edition of the whol ewithout titles and a lterations and, in a major change, without standardizing tran scription. He preserved Dickinsons spelling and, within the limits of conventional type, her capitalization and punctuation. (Franklin, 1998, 6) Franklins 1998 variorum has the same pur pose as Johnsonsthe poems are dated and arranged chronologically rather than in topica l or other groups, and the manuscripts for each text are identified to give the publishing hist ory of each (6). Franklin revises Johnsons chronology and lists the number of poems as 1,789. Franklin attribut es his ability to better date the poems to the 84


reconstruction of the fascicles reported in The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson (1981). The sequence of the fascicle papers, if not always specific fascicles, was thus already known, and the fascicles and sets, containing about two thirds of the poems, have been a sturdi er base upon which to study handwriting and assign dates than a series of individual manuscripts. (38) Johnsons and Franklins editorial procedures pa rallel those called for by much earlier critics, such as Pattee, who wonders why the 1890s ed itors throw the poems without chronology, and even Mabel Loomis Todd, who writes, her letters cannot complete the picture until her poems have been fitted into the sequence where they belong (Pattee 187-188). For all, it seems, the chronological sequen ce would offer a better understanding of Dickinsons poetic ability since it would show her progress. However, Franklin re minds us that the dating is of documents, not necessarily of the composition of poems (39). Fitting Dickin sons poetry into a chronological sequence is possible, of course but it is only an approximati on, and it shows only when a poem was copied into a particular place, rather than when the poem was written. In contrast to a chronological sequence, Dickinson worked w ith anotherthe fascicles. But the chaos found by editors even in Dickinson s most formal means of presentation resulted in the editorial choice to approach the poems under the philosophy that a literary work is separable form its artifact (Franklin 27). I wi ll detail contemporary theories regarding the fascicles in the final two chapters but I would like to highlight here the difficulty in Dickinsons case of viewing the manuscripts as separable, which implies they are inconsequential or should be ignored in the interests of clarity. In his call for a compet ent editor and open-access to the manuscripts, Pattee quotes Mabel Loomis Todds obser vation that the changes of text suggested by the poet were numerous and at times baffling (188). One of the most problematic aspects of Dickinsons fascicles is the presence of variants, which Franklin explains: Dickinsons care in preparing the earliest fascicles, which admitted only completed poems, all their alternative readings re solved, shows the goal to have been a finished product. She used clean erasur e, not overwriting or crossing out, and 85


deftly squeezed in omitted letters. Befo re 1860, she did not revise them. The first appearances of extraneous writing are in Fascicle 5, where an omitted reading was transcribed in ink as an alternative (Fr121) and in Fascicle 7, where for two poems (Fr145, Fr159) an alternative was added in pencil. As of Fascicle 9, in early 1861, they would have been unsuitable for ci rculation. The transcription, though in ink, was less careful, and the texts, no w with unresolved readings, were not intended for others. (20) Mabel Loomis Todd writes, in th e so-called copied poems [mean ing the fascicles and sets], tiny crosses written beside a word which might be changed ultimately and which referred to scores of possible words at the bo ttom of the page were all strictly alike, so that only the most sympathetic and at-one-with-the-author feeli ng would determine where each word belonged (Pattee 188). While Todd is overly-simplistic in sa ying the variants are a ll strictly alike, her portrait of confusion and chaos le ads Pattee to write, to reveal the poet full circle, a definite edition must be prepared with foot-notes and with a biographical introduction bare of superlatives (189). The Johnson and Franklin edit ions fulfill Pattees desi re, yet we still have not solved what some call the editorial probl em of Dickinson, and this is because print cannot solve Dickinson. The poems can and have been quite successfully separated from their artifacts, but this was done because editors followed a philosophy that assumed what poetry should be. Consequently, they worked to make Dickinsons poems fit into pre-conceived notions. I do not want to argue that Dickinson should only be read in manuscript since th e editorial philosophies from Higginson and Todd to Franklin follow a great tradition of what poetr y is. In Dickinsons case, however, these editors made her more clear, and the manuscripts reveal a complexity that print will always obscure. The manuscripts offer possibilities for new ways of reading and understanding not only Dickinson but poetry in gene ral, and to account for them is not to deem all other approaches as wrong, but to see where these possibilities may lead. To show the complexity, I offer a case study of We play at Paste (Fr282A). Although I focus on only one poem here, my intent is to sh ow that there are always many different ways 86


of addressing a public, that each decision of form style, and procedure carries hazards and costs in the kind of public it can define (Warner 14). A single text cannot cr eate a public, yet the temptation is to think of publics as something we make, through individu al heroism and creative inspiration or through common goodwill (14). For Dickinsons work, a case study reveals the complexity of the publics defined by the poemse ven a single poem is often not a single text, and the various contexts of a si ngle poem are steeped in prior disc ourses, such as epistolary or poetic conventions and the very long publication histor y of the poems in general and a single poem in particular. Warner argues that in so me cases a conscious strategy of style can be seen as struggling to compensate for conditions of circulation, perhaps vain ly, and I believe this case applies to Dickinson. An analysis of a single poem shows the sort of multileveled analysis that is always demanded by public texts (15). However, literary study in its traditional form is not adequate to the analys is of publics (16). The study of Dickinsons poetry to find Dickinson or to understand Di ckinsons opinion regard ing life and love, for example, begins simply with the text as its obj ect (16). However, Warner argues that an analysis of publics cannot focus only on the text as its object: Publics are among the conditions of textuality, specifying that certain stretches of language are understood to be texts with certain properties. This metapragmatic background itself of infinite complexity must be held up for analysis if we are to understand the mutually defining interp lay between texts and publics. Publics are essentially intertextual, framewor ks for understanding texts against an organized background of the circulation of other texts. And that circulation, though made reflexive by means of textual ity, is more than textual especially now, in the twenty-first-century, when the texts of public circul ation are very often visual or at any rate no longer me diated by the codex format. (16) A text is defined by its public, yet a public is defined and brought into being by texts and their circulation. The text alone as the sole object to be analyzed does not take into account the publics created, addressed, and define d by that text, and a text is never solely an object on its 87


own since its circulation and its consumption also determine how it is understood and what types of publics it can define. In Dickinsons case, the circulat ion of a poem, the way a single text is consumed, reveals the complexity of the operation of discursive pub lics. We play at Paste (Fr282A), currently housed at the Jones Library, was one of the four poems enclosed in Dickinsons first letter to Higginson. We know, then, that the poem was written by April 15, 1862. Since Dickinsons first letter to Higginson was in spired by his essay, Letter to a Young Contributor, Franklin suggests that the poem as well may have been insp ired by the advice found in that essay (299). The poem explores experience and learning: We play at Paste Till qualified, for Pearl Then, drop the Paste And deem ourself a fool The Shapes though were similar And our new Hands Learned Gem -tactics Practicing Sands Franklin records the poem as two quatrains, even though the line breaks in the manuscript are different. Franklin, again, believes that Dickin son only broke lines due to space on the page, rather than for any visual effect or artistic pur pose. Since this is not a fascicle poem, the only way one could see the manuscript version is to ge t access to it at the Jones Library. Franklin records the line divisions, however so we know that the copy sent to Higginson was not written exactly as it was printed by Higginson in the Atlantic Monthly in October 1891 or by Johnson and later Franklin. The first stanza has five lin es with a fool set off on its own. The second stanza consists of five lines since the first is broken in two: The Shapes though / were similar Whether or not Dickinson intended a twenty-first century reader to see the line breaks as she wrote them, or if she assumed they would be regulated into the normal quatrain, is 88


somewhat beside the point because Dickinson coul d not have predicted the publics that would be addressed by or created by this particular text. It w ould be difficult to claim the effects are the samea fool and were similar as lines of their own force one to pause, and the visual change highlights these terms; since they are liter ally set apart from the rest of the poem, they become more important, whether or no t Dickinson intended it that way. But one could also ignore these possibl e incidentals and read the poem as two quatrainsthis is how readers of the Atlantic Monthly saw the text in October 1891 and readers of Johnsons variorum in 1955. Readers of the poem as it appeared in Poems (1891) would have seen this: WE play at paste, Till qualified for pearl, Then drop the paste, And deem ourself a fool. The shapes, though, were similar, And our new hands Learned gem-tactics Practicing sands. Although this is the edited version as it appeared in 1891, the lack of a stanza break follows an 1865 manuscript version that Dickins on made in fair copy, which Frank lin translates into print as Fr282B: We play at Paste Till qualified for Pearl Then, drop the Paste And deem Ourself a fool The Shapes, tho, were similar, And our new Hands Learned Gem Tactics Practicing Sands 89


This version is again not a fascicle poem, so I know of the manuscrip t details only though Franklins variorum.4 In this version, the second line e nds with for, making Pearl its own line. The other line breaks nearly follow the ea rlier version: a fool becomes line six and similar is line eight. In this version, the li nes with single words seem to make them parallel one could argue that these line breaks make Pear l and a fool similar. And this does not seem too much of a stretch since the poem argue s while we may deem ourselves fools when we simply play[ed] at Paste, those early material s allowed us to make Pearl[s]. A period of coarseness and foolishness, it seems, precedes on es learning of Gem Ta ctics. Despite the varying visual cues, one could stil l arrive at the same interpretati on of the poem, and this is why many contemporary critics argue th at reading Dickinson in manuscr ipt is not necessary. Others, however, value the experience of readingreading Dickinson in manuscript is different than reading the poems in print if onl y because the poems look different. This is not to say that reading Dickinson in manuscript is better or that it offers a pr ivileged interpretation, but the multiple contexts open up additional possibilities, and these possibilities can alter interpretation. Higginson, for example, most likely understood th is poem differently than we do today. The lack of reference allows the We to be seen as humanity and play at Pa ste could be an endless number of learning experiences. If Higginson read it as a reply to his essay, however, the We could seem less generalwe the young contributors. Once one knows the contextual information and the circulation of this poem, then We may imply Higginson and Emily Dickinson, or We poets, which would affect ones understanding of the poems message play[ing] at Paste could come to mean writing in general and the writing of poetry in particular. An additional interpretive layer is a dded by the fact that Dickinson refers to a book as 4 The manuscript is housed at the Jones Library in Amhe rst, which is more accessible than the collections at Harvard. I plan to see the manuscript during a visit to the library in August 2011. 90


a Pearl in a few of her letters; one could ar gue, as is often the case with lyric poetry, that Dickinson is offering the reader a metaphor fo r how she understands literary influence and process. But the second version as it appeared in Poems 1891 would lack this contextual and manuscript information; readers could easily iden tify it as an exploration of Life since it was the fourth poem in this first category of the ed ition. Some readers may recognize it from the October 1891 essay in the Atlantic Monthly which Higginson used as a means to advertise the appearance of the 1891 volume. In the essay, Emily Dickinsons Letters, he discusses her early letters to him, including We play at paste in full since it had not yet been printed: We play at paste Till qualified for pearl; Then drop the paste And deem ourself a fool. The shapes, though, were similar And our new hands Learned gem-tactics, Practicing sands. Higginson introduces the poem by sayi ng it comprises in its eight lin es a truth so searching that it seems a condensed summary of the whole experience of a long life (445). Readers in 1891 may notice the two printed versions of the poem, and wonder, as did Pattee, why certain editorial choices were made, but nineteenth-century readers would not know that the 1865 manuscript, which presents the poem as a single stanza, was an unfolded fair copy, written on embossed notepaper, headed Emily and signed Emily. Since it was unfolded, Franklin writes that it was not sent to a recipient (300). In this instance, while other interpretations may abound, the manuscript reads as a letter that Dickinson wrote to herself. While the 1890s editions reflect a clear marketing strategy centered on the discovery of Dickinsons letters to a silent world, seeing a manuscript version of this poem as addressed to and signed by herself cannot help but 91


be a different reading experience than seeing th e poem in any other print form. The image of Dickinson conjured by this artifact, or even by the knowledge of the artifacts details, places her and this poem in the position of George Orwells diarist in 1984. We play at Paste is a single example within a large and complex body of work, a nd my discussion of it here is not to imply Dickinson addressed her work to humanity as Winston does in 1984. The manuscript does reveal the layers of interpretation created by contextual information, and the comparison to Orwells diarist, which I will discuss in detail to wards the end of this chapter, encapsulates how Dickinsons choice of style has influenced the publics created throughout hi story by her texts and their circulation. While there was a need to recognize poetry as po etry during the Civil War, as is evidenced by critical lamentations at Melv illes apparent confusion betw een prose and poetry, much more so in the twentieth-century, editors and readers of Dickinson needed to see her poetry presented as recognizable poems. Since it was assumed sh e wrote only for herself, a competent editor had to clean and organize the chaotic mass to see what poems could be pulled from it, and then critics could finally decide Dick insons place in literary histor y. However, as manuscript study became more widespread, critics found that more than chaos existed in the mass, and the manuscripts represented something other than materials left unorganized because no one was supposed to see them besides Dickinson. While the Civil War era enjoyed a more universal approach to poetry since Americans desperatel y sought an understand ing of the war through verse, we find in the 1890s and in the twentieth-century, particularly in the case of Dickinson and within increasingly elitist canons the notion that poetry must be recognizable. Complicated projects that examined the futility of language which applies to the work of Melville and Dickinson, were not greatly appreciated in the Civ il War era, but poetry was a part of the culture 92


and could be read and written by anyone. Verse played an important role in daily life, so much so that normal correspondence often collapsed poetry and prose. But the majority of the reviews of the literary establishment in th e 1890s viewed Dickinson as unstudied. The twentieth-century establishment ignored the posit ive reviews and the popul arity of Dickinson in the 1890s and purported to have discovered an isolated genius ahead of and unconcerned by her time. While Johnsons 1955 edition ushered in a new era of Dickinson criticism, and readers and scholars were for the first time introduced to the amount of poems she wrot e, the editorial policy continued and remains the same today in certain areas of thought, such as Franklins argument that a literary work is separable from its artif act (27). The consistent thread is that poetry should be recognizable and consistent, which enable s one to judge it accurately. Pattee laments in 1937 that she felt too that poetry was expressed in stanzas her most common units being those of the church hymnal. Why then start her poem in conventional form and then suddenly switch it into chaotic formlessness? (194). Pa ttee may be thinking of poems such as After great pain (Fr372), which was first published in the Atlantic Monthly (February 1929) and Further Poems (1929). When translated into print, it op ens with a quatrain of iambic pentameter lines that follow a rhyme scheme of aabb: After great pain, a formal feeling comes The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs The still Heart questions was it He, that bore, And Yesterday, or Centuries before? This form breaks, however, and Further Poems prints the second stanza w ith five lines. In the manuscript in Fascicle 18, the second stanza is written in ink like this: The Feet, mechanical, go round Of Ground, or Air, or Ought A Wooden way Regardless grown, 93


A Quartz contentment, like a stone However, in Franklins variorum, he prints a five-line stanza with the second and third lines switched. This is because Dickinson has writte n the number one next to the first line, the number three next to the second, number two next to the third, and four next to the fourth. In the fascicle version, the first stanza has seven lines and the second and third both have six. Franklin reports that some collections after 1929 would reformat the poem into three quatrains (397). Although Franklin records the manuscript details, he presents the poems firs t and last stanzas as quatrains; only the second stanza would have fallen, as Pattee exclaims, into chaotic formlessness. In Bianchis Further Poems (1929), which Pattee most likely read, the poem appears as such: After great pain a formal feeling comes The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs; The stiff Heart questions was it He that bore? And yesterday or centuries before? The feet mechanical go round A wooden way Of ground or air or Ought, Regardless grown, A quartz contentment like a stone. This is the hour of lead Remembered if outlived As freezing persons recollect The snow First chill, then stupor, then The letting go. Despite the removal of dashes and capitalizations and the regularization of grammar, this version follows Dickinsons line breaks in the final stanza, something that Franklin does not do. While this poem can be easily regularized, an issue with Dickinsons work that Wells discusses in her 94


1929 article, the manuscript version displays a concern with line or der. Dickinson plays with the traditional unit here by opening and ending the poem in what can be made into iambic pentameter. But when the poem describes the mechanical nature of the contentment one feels while in the formal fee ling, the traditional organiza tion breaks down. Rather than attributing this poems lack of finish to a rush of inspiration, the fasc icle version indicates a sustained attention to detail. While editors may have seen it as unstudi ed and often corrected it to fit within poetic trad ition, it aligns with Emersons expl anation of poetry in the portfolio, rather than the book: it is a verse of society, rather than the festal and solemn verses which are written for the nations; and, to the frustration of some mode rnist critics, it encompasses a more liberal doctrine of the poeti c faculty than our fathers held [who] denied the name of poetry to every composition in which the work manship and the material were not equally excellent (220). Ones experience of it is altered by reading in its portfolio, rather than in an edited book. And while it represen ts the lack of finish which the conventions of literature require of authors, Dickinsons attention to de tail is indicated by her notations regarding line order. The lack of finish can be and has been corrected by editors. The poem fits in part with Emersons definition of poetry of the portfolio, but this fit seems a conscious effort, rather than when a writer has outgrown the state of thought which produced the poem, the interest of letters is served by publishing it imperfect, as we preserved studies, torsos, and blocked statues of the great masters (221). One consistent approach in editing Dickinson is to make her poetry more clear. Editors since the 1890s have seen it as their role to clarify Dickinson, through regularization and categorization; formalist criticism to show how ahead of her time sh e was; detailed, scholarly work to present her correctly; and most recently to return to the manuscripts to figure out what 95


she intended. There is a solid possibility that Di ckinson intended her poems to be read in their manuscript contexts. The romantic notion of a partially cracked poetess, to borrow Higginsons well-known description, whose brilliance was discovered after her death, locked away in a box that she ordered to be burned, has been debunked in recent decades (and even far earlier, as evidenced by Anna Mary Wells articl e). As I have shown in the previous two chapters, Dickinsons experiment ation with genre, voice, addre ssee, and linguistic conventions represents a far more complicated methodology that can only be fully appreciated if one accounts for the print versions and th e manuscripts. Dickinson was not an unstudied poet, and she had to be aware of poetic traditions a nd the methods of circulation ava ilable to her. Similarly to Melville and Whitman, she realized during the Ci vil War that language as it had been understood was not sufficient, and she experimented with ne w ways of communication. What others saw as a lack of knowledge, a lack of consistency, and a lack of editorial procedure can now be seen more clearly as a method of experimentation. The debate about whether or not we can assume Dickinsons intentions is not a new one. Critics have long yearned for some sort of st atement regarding her poetic philosophy. Since one does not exist, it remained quite easy for represen tatives of the literary elite, beginning in the nineteenth-century and continui ng throughout the twentieth, to stat e that Dickinson simply did not know poetic conventions. Anna Mary Wells sought a poetic statement in Dickinsons letters to Higginson. Wells refers to Dickinsons famous definition of poetry, at least according to Higginsons account of his first fa ce to face conversation with her in 1870: If I read a book, and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that it is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were take n off, I know that it is poetry (Higginson 275; Wells 251). Wells responds to Dickinsons defin ition by saying, I think that unless we refuse to 96


believe she was sincere in this we cannot believe she had a r easoned technique (251). Using the letters to Higginson that he includes in Carlyles Laugh Wells argues that poetry for her [Dickinson] was always connected with emotion rather than cerebration, and her interest in form was only spasmodic (251). Wells belie ves the correspondence with Higginson throws a good deal of light on another que stion which has vexed critics ever since her work was first published. The argument still continues: did Emily Dickinson write awkwardly, ungrammatically, and with faulty rhymes because she was unable to do better, or because her artistic pu rpose demanded that she write so? The modern critic tends toward the belief that every irregularity was conscious and of artistic purpose. (250) While Wells sees Dickinsons work as connected to emotion, rather than to a system of rhyme approximations or a reasoned technique, sh e does conclude Dickinsons manipulation of convention was intentional, rather than unstudied: It seems to me that the very ease with which this stanza, and many other similar ones, can be changed to a conventional form shows that Miss Dickinson did not really want to achiev e regularity of form (254-255). Wells refers to an 1890s reviewer, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, who rewr ites the first stanza of Dickinsons I taste a liquor never brewed to make the lines rhyme since he could not find anything admirable in work which was faulty grammatically (254). Although Wells at first seems to be unconvinced by other modern critics who argue Dickinsons i rregularities were of artistic purpose, she seems to side with Susan Miles, who chose fift een or twenty such stan zas, altered them as Aldrich did in this one, and attempted to show that in each case the regular version was less effective than the original irregular one (255). In a 1926 article in The London Mercury Susan Miles concludes that Dickins ons irregularities express a world which does not dovetail properly (251). This conclusion parallels in particular the work of Shira Woloskys 1984 study, which re-contextualizes Dickins ons work and the Civil War. 97


The work of these early critics brings up issu es still debated today. During the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, Dickinsons canonized status relied upon and perpetrated the myth of the safe, private, isolated feminine explorer. The early splitti ng up of the manuscripts in 1896 between Mabel Loomis Todd and Lavinia meant that Johnson was th e first editor, since th e 1890s, to have access to the corpus of Dickinsons manuscripts (Franklin 6). Thus, when he published the threevolume edition, The Poems of Emily Dickinson (1955), Johnson was the fi rst literary scholar to edit Dickinson (6). In 1966, Jack Cappss study, Emily Dickinsons Reading revealed how much Dickinson was influenced by the great am ount that she read. In 1968, Ruth Millers The Poetry of Emily Dickinson highlights the problem of the Dick inson myth and the importance of the fascicles. She writes, the mythic Emily Dickinson was a shy primitive, a recluse whose retirement from the active world was due to an act of re nunciation of an unattainable lover. The poet Emily Dickinson does not fit the woman of this myth. The poems she left to the world, the best evidence we have t oday, are speculations and contemplations, the queries and outbursts of a tough-minde d, independent woman whose self-doubt and timidities were a mask. (4) While many contemporary scholars would disagree with Millers view that Dickinson allayed her despair at the worlds rejection of her as a poet by composing hymns to herself and to God, she was one of the first to take notice of the fasc icles (4). Franklin a nd other scholars had begun reconstructing the fascicles, and Miller was allowed access to the holdings at Harvards Houghton Library and Amhersts Frost Library, yet her conclusions regarding them have since been disproven; the fascicles are not, for example, so similar that it seems possible to chart one and obtain a blueprint for all (249).5 However, Miller rightly evaluates the influence of 5 Although Dorothy Huff Oberhaus tries to make a simila r claim for Fascicle 40, Mille rs view does not hold that each fascicle is a narrative structure designed to recreat e the experience of the woman as she strives for acceptance or knowledge, is rebuffed or fails because of her limitations, bu t then by an act of will, forces herself to be patient in order to survive, fixes her hopes on another world where Jesus and God await her, and remains content meanwhile with herself alone. Or, if the emphasis is on the poet, each fascicle records the poets efforts to understand the truth as she observes the phenomena of th e transient world she inhabits (249). 98


Higginson, the first publications in the 1890s, and ev entually turns to the fascicles for a more accurate depiction of Dickinsons project. She co ncludes, we have not yet shed the distorting effects of her editors who in her own day confus ed sentiment with insight, and in our own day confuse cataloging with scholarship (288). Th e 1980s and 1990s witnessed the most powerful re-visioning of Dickinson and her body of wor k, ushered in by Fra nklins publication of The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson in 1981. Karen Dandurands and Shira Woloskys studies in 1984 dispel the myth that Dickinson was unc oncerned and unaffected by the Civil War, as well as highlight the importance of a historicist approach in Di ckinson criticism. Martha Nell Smiths Rowing in Eden (1992) reinstates the influence and importance of Sue in Dickinsons workshop, and is one of the first studies to reveal the power, importance, and excitement of reading Dickinson in manuscript. Marta Werners Emily Dickinsons Open Folios rather than seeing Dickinsons non-fascicle poems as scraps, uses the non-fascicle manuscripts to show how, Dickinson refused the limitations of a print existence and, in so doi ng, effectively altered the ways in which we read (receive) he r encodings (1). Sharon Camerons Choosing Not Choosing (1992) and Eleanor Heginbothams Dwelling in Possibilities (2003) represent fascicle studies less concerned with biography, or collapsing the woman w ith the poet, and examine the artistic approach of individual fascicles. While much work has gone into showing Dickinsons commitment to unconventionality and explaining why this commitment is both un ique and a product of the Civil War era, contemporary critics continue to debate the issues invoked by Miles, Wells, and Pattee: how much is intentional and of artistic purpose? What role should a competent editor play? The debate about how Dickinsons poetry should be read connects to pedagogical concerns. The image and perception of Dickinson, again due to her commitment to non-referential poetry, 99

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which has always left ample room for roman tic, pathological specu lation, often depends upon what poems a person reads and how one is offere d access to those poems. Realistically, even in an undergraduate course focused on Dickinson, on e cannot expect students to read Dickinsons entire body of work. Therefore, especially in high school courses where time is even more limited, ones image of Dickinson is centered on only a handful of poems. This remains problematic in the case of Dickinson, but it is, again, nothing new: As the scholarly climate put less and le ss emphasis on historical and biographical context with the rise of New Criticism, editors seemed less inclined to seek out accurate contextualizing hist orical information to frame their selections. Since classrooms were similarly tending to beco me centered around the texts themselves, students and teachers were not demandi ng accurate, useful contextualizing information. Not surprisingly, many anthol ogies from this period are based on formalist principles: W.H. Auden and John Ga rrett, for example, in their influential The Poets Tongue thought poets names not as important as their "tongues," and withheld them from the pages that th e poems were printed on. (Gailey 75) In Dickinsons case, we can locate how problema tic the early twentieth-centurys ahistoricism and mythologizing were, yet Dick insons poems also argue for the unimportance of a poets name. One of the major editorial problems has been the lack of pagination, table of contents, or instructions, and while Dickins ons letters were signed, altho ugh not consistently, her poems often were not. None of the fascicles, for exampl e, contain the name of th eir author. And in the two poems I include here (I am sure many more exist), Dickinson presents the power of poetry in a way similar to the philosophy in The Poets Tongue The first is in Fascicle 30, and Franklin records it was most likely copied into that fasc icle about the second half of 1863 (Franklin 646). This poem (Fr665) was not printed until Bianchis Unpublished Poems in 1935: The Martyr Poets did not tell But wrought their Pang in syllable That when their mortal name be numb Their mortal fate encourage Some The Martyr Painters never spoke Bequeathing rather to their Work 100

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That when their conscious fingers cease Some seek in Art the Art of Peace The second poem (Fr930) was transcribed into Set 5 in early 1865, and was not printed until it served as an epigraph in Binghams Ancestors Brocades (1945): The Poets light but Lamps Themselves go out The Wicks they stimulate If vital Light Inhere as do the Suns Each Age a Lens Disseminating their Circumference The poems above reveal that Dickinsons them es, among other style components and the notion of her rejection of the world, aligned her with writers of th e early twentieth-century, which enabled them to argue she was ahead of her time, rather than influenced by it. Apart from the mythology of Dickinson, or the understanding of Dickinson as the embodiment of modernist views of Art, her poems can be seen as exemplifying formalist principles. Scholars offer numerous, varied, often cont radictory notions of how we can read Dickinsons poetry in the twenty-first century. Annette Debo uses the number of Dickinson scholars, such as Susan Howe, Martha Nell Smith, Jerome McGann, Sharon Cameron, and Paul Crumbley, who focus their studies on the facsimiles rather than printed edit ions to indicate that Dickinson must be studied by undergraduates th rough her manuscript facsimiles (Debo 132). Debo is a member of what Domhnall Mitchell an d others describe as the manuscript school since she defends the idea that Dickinsons manu scripts can offer an accurate text, indicating that even the most painstaki ngly detailed printed editions, su ch as Franklins 1998 variorum, contain the mark of the editor and are thus corrupted texts (132). However, Debos article is mainly concerned with practical use of the ma nuscripts in the classroom, which are accessible thanks to advances in technology and the comp uter. Dickinsons handwriting is notoriously 101

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difficult and sometimes impossible to decipher with certainty, which is one of several reasons for the problems inherent in translating the manuscripts into print. Debo consistently defends the superiority of the manuscripts, yet her main purpose in the article is to offer suggestions and explain personal experiences in using the manuscrip ts to teach Dickinson. Dickinsons difficult handwriting obviously poses a problem, and Debo ad mits, I do offer a typescript version of each poem to help students overcome these complica tions initially, but I tr y to wean them back to the manuscripts (135). Debos classroom focus is not only on the analys is and close readings of poems, but on requiring students to contempl ate and even perform instances of editing. Domhnall Mitchell argues that relying on the autograph version alone is problematic, for it assumes that the handwritten page is a form of publicationcomplete, finished, and containing in script and in visual form all the inform ation necessary to its further transmission (Diplomacy of Translation 45). Mitchell finds problematic the assumption by scholars, such as Susan Howe, that Dickinsons presentation is part of the art form (Debo 134). Scholars and teachers illustrate this point through select case studies, which are often few due to time constraints both in the classroom and in critical inquiry, of individual poems where, for example, the shape of an s or the cro ssing of a t is seen as influe ncing the way the poem is read. Mitchell finds this line of thought problematic si nce scholars tend to then argue that Dickinson intended the crossing of the t to be taken in to account, and therefore, Dickinson meant her poems to be read in her own handwriting.6 However, Mitchell shows these anomalies to be more consistent features not onl y in Dickinsons poetry and letters but in everyday letters from the nineteenth-century as well. The treatment of the material appearance of [Dickinsons] 6 Debo refers to Howes apt example of how the letter s in The Sea said / Come to the Brook is crafted to simulate the shape and movement of waves (Debo 133). In A Foreign Country, Mitchell references Martha Nell Smith, who first describes the stunning flourish that crosses both Ts in the word Tonight, and then argues that this passionate scrawl as intentional and integral to the poem Wild Nights! (Mitchell 182). 102

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manuscripts as if they were not accidental or incidental to her practices in dicates a quite drastic assumption as to authorial intention (Mitchell A Foreign Country 178). Mitchell concludes that while the claim that Dickinsons manuscripts have a design element cannot be dismissed, it also cannot easily be sustained (186). Reading the manuscripts and using them in the classroom is a consequence of being allowed access, which has been brought about by not only Franklins Manuscript Books but by the computer. Therefore, at this specific instance in time, it may appear that we can now be present at what Je rome McGann calls Dickins ons original scene of writing (Debo 133). However, Mi tchell argues that the current drive to present Dickinsons manuscripts in apparently unmediated electronic forms is as much a function of our historical moment as, say, Mabel Loomis Todds efforts at altering Dickinsons rhymes. In this case, the impulse exists because there is an audience and because the so ftware and technology are available. (Mitchell 186) Contrary to the position that the manuscripts re present for current readers Dickinsons original scene of writing, Mitchell articulates that a ma nuscripts-only approach provides one with this illusion, and what is easily forgotten is the rem oteness [of the manuscripts] from our own time (186). Nineteenth-century manuscript conventions can be co nveniently or unintentionally ignored, or not taken into account, allowing anomalies in Dickinsons manuscripts to hold meaning for a twenty-first-century reader. It is indecipherable, however, as to whether or not that meaning is intended. Mitchell views the focus on minute material details in Dickinsons manuscripts as a fascinating and necessary aspect to Dickinson cr iticism that opens up an array of possibilities, but Mitchell also observes that we should keep t he inaccessibility of the historical in mind (186). Mitchell argues that a manuscripts-only po sition is uncertain and often impractical; in fact, it should be considered a corruption : assuming that the material details are not accidental is equal to the assumption made by editors that they are accidental. On a practical, pedagogical 103

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level, Mitchell explains, for t hose of us who teach Dickinson, it remains necessary to crosscheck the print edition of a given poem with a f acsimile of the manuscript whenever possible (44). However, not everyone in the manuscript school argues the same thing, and lumping Dickinson criticism into two sidesmanuscript studiers versus print studiersproduces an unhelpful tension. A particular scholar may d ecide, as does Debo, that Dickinson must be studied by undergraduates through her manuscript facsimiles (132). However, this does not mean that every scholar who reads Dickinsons manuscripts believes that they provide the one true way to read Dickinson. Reading all of Dickinsons manuscripts is, in fact, impossible since one would require access to Harvards entire collection. One can read the fascicles in Franklins Manuscript Books and find select letters and later drafts and fragments in digital archives, but one cannot access everything. Thus, one is forced to use case studies, and those such as Mitchell who aim to prove the manuscr ipt school wrong argue that these case studies are not enough to prove Dickinsons intenti ons. Practical, pedagogi cal reasons aside, both manuscript and printed versions of Dickinsons poems are necessary and valuable because they provide the entry point into a complicated, dense history of editing, categorization, criticism, and canonization that reveals the inapprop riate description of Dickinson as the poet of privacy. One could argue, as many critics have, that Dickinsons work correlates to modernist principles and themes, yet historicizing Dickinso ns work is necessary si nce it sheds light on the complexity of her project. The modernists we re not the first to appreciate poetry for the tongue rather than the name. Poetry during the Civil War era was incorporated into daily life without giving credit to the aut horthe words or thoughts were more important, and people used them in their letters, diaries, jour nals, memory books, and conversations. A Masque of Poets in 1878, which contained Dickinsons Success is counted sweetest (Fr112), presented all of the 104

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poems anonymously. While Dickinsons work can be seen as proto-modernis t, it is also very much a part of her time period, yet the myt hology surrounding the discovery of Dickinsons poetry continues to be problema tic. Mary Aswell Doll writes, the conventional view of Emily Dickinson as Maid of Amherstvirginal, pure, and sentimentalwas promoted by her playac ting a public pose; she was producer, director, and actor for Emily Dickinson. I imagine Emily Dickinson has been played out in many classrooms, wher e teachers think it safe to teach the strange little nature poems penned by a Massachusetts maid. No wonder students hate poetry. (67-68) The safe portrait of Dickinson as a private explorer pervades rece nt criticism and general reading responses. Although Doll highlights Dickinsons act, she then claims, Emily Dickinson only published ten poems in her lifetime. The other thousand-plus poems, hidden in a locked chest that contained forty hand-sewn albums, neve r saw the light of day (67). This myth (whether or not Doll believes it or is attributing it to Emily Dickinson is unclear) coincides with others that have been presented about Dick inson, and ignores the fact that Dickinson sent out over six hundred poems to friends and famil y. Doll uses Dickinson as an example, along with Lawrence, Chopin, Woolf, and Joyce, to ex plore the impact of repression on character, and argues that Dickinson saw th e repressed nature of conventional society and chose to counter it by parodying the conventi ons from another side of the social mirror (68). Doll knows of Dickinsons performance because, presumably, she has read more than the strange little nature poems; thus, Doll sees in Dickinson s poetry the performance of someone who does not fit the conventional view that t eachers of Dickinson see as safer. Dolls study is meant to reveal how learning from literature is valu able, yet is often discounted. Doll argues, in a culture that considers the humanities as the stepsister in the academyan enterprise that will not fatten the poc ketbookmy students are like so many other nonreaders whose only experience with books is with the textbook But, together with curriculum theorists, I insist that the engagement with fiction (prose, drama, poetry, myth, fairytale, dream) can be a learning experience of the first ordernot because students hunt down sy mbols or identify themes, not because 105

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they check boxes on multiple choice tests, and not because they echo the professors beliefs: safe activities all. N one of these. Rather, out of the very chimney corner from which the humanitie s huddle, fiction disturbs the status quo. (xi) Even if Doll is unaware that hundreds of Dickinsons poems did see the light of day, her use of Dickinsons poetry is not to find Dickinson, but to help her studen ts experience alternate spheres offered by literature. Sara Ahmed opens her conclusion to Queer Phenomenology with the statement, moments of disorientation are vital (157). In a way similar to Dolls effo rt to use fiction as a way to disturb the safety of the status quo, Ahmed is concerned with the necessity of redefining how we think of the term orientation. By focusing on spatiality and using Warne rs idea that directing ones attention to a shared object is e nough to create a public, Ahmed concludes, the very act of reading mean s that citizens are directi ng their attention toward a shared object, even if they have a different view upon that object or even if that object brings different worlds into view. So we might face the same direction. We could even say our faces face the same wa y, creating a collective force. Yet, it is not that the collective has a face, in the sense of a personality and agency. The collective takes shap e through the repetition of th e act of facing. (119-120) Ahmeds description of a collect ive of readers facing the same way counters the image that when one reads Dickinsons poetry, one is facing Dickinson (rather than the object which is drawing our shared attention.) Ahmeds claim that disorientation is vital and Dolls claim that fiction should be taught because it disrupts th e status quo coincide with Michael Warners discussion of the image of George Orwells diarist: Orwells dystopia disturbs readers because th e frustration it asks them to imagine is common enough not just behind the old Ir on Curtain but here in the land of freedom, under civil-society conditions, whenever the available genres and publics of possible address do not r eadily lend themselves to a world-making project. Anyone who wants to transform the condi tions of publicness, or through publicness transform the possible orient ations to life, is in a position resembling Orwells diarist. (128) 106

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Although many continue to imagine Dickinson as the poet of privacy, it seems possible that she found her work did not fit in with the available genres. Just as Wi nston chooses to write despite his situation, Dickinson seems to have ch osen to try to transform the conditions of publicness. It was not simply that she wrote for herself in order to prevent insanity; her experimentation shows she understood what bei ng a public woman would mean, what print would require of her poems, and how conventional genre distinctions woul d inhibit the way she wanted to explore language and poetry. More important than Dickinsons intentions is understanding wh at manuscript study (and the current debates surrounding it) tells us abou t publics. The brief outline of Dickinsons publication history here reveals what Michael Warner argues about publics, and the assumptions of what kinds of publics a particular genre or text should address. As we have seen, editors, reviewers, and systems of canonization have possessed Dickinson, claiming that their understanding and translation of her was better: Higginson and Todd did for Dickinson what she would not do for herself; twentieth-century critics discovered her; Johnson created the first scholarly, accurate edition; Franklin reconstructed the fascicles and made them available in conventional book form; Franklin then revised Johnson and supplied all necessary details for each poem in a three-volume variorum; and digital archives increase access to read Dickinson in her own handwriting.7 Although the myth is somewhat bei ng deconstructed, one can find a great quantity of essays and books that focus on (re)d iscovering Dickinson, and the image of her (even now) parallels Warners discussion of George Orwells diarist in 1984: 7 I borrow this term from Seth Perlows discussion at the 2011 Modern Language Association convention. Perlows paper, The Possessions of Emily Dickinson, discusses the ways Dickinson has been possessed by readers and how readers have been possessed by her. His discussion uses previous work, such as Susan Howes, that centers on readings of Dickinson as My Emily Dickinson which is the title of Howes 1995 book. 107

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The horror of totalitarianism is driven home to the reader by of all things writers block. The main character, Wi nston Smith, has just sat down under the glare of the all-seeing telesc reen, intending to begin a diar y. He falters For whom, it suddenly occurred to him to wonde r, was he writing this diary? (125) Winston eventually makes a decision about his addressee, writ ing in the diary, To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, wh en men are different fr om one another and do not live alone (Warner 127). While Warners main ar gument is to compare the situation of Orwells diarist with that of contemporary leftist theorists who are often cr iticized for not writing clearly enough, Warners parallels a pply to Dickinson as well as to Dickinson criticism. In fact, Winston arrives at his address ee by reasoning that he was a lone ly ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttere d it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by stayi ng sane that you carried on the human heritage (127). Although Dickinson most likely did not see herself as carrying on the human heritage in spite of the horrors of totalitarianism, her wo rk has been understood for years as her way of staying sane. Warner e xplains the diarists dilemma by writing, the public sphere here becomes purely imagin ary; or, we might say, internalized as humanity. In order to write even a di ary, Winston must imagine the ability to address partial strangers. When he turn s this ability into an internal freedom, able to dispense with being heard, he begins to speak directly to humanity in an effect that could aptly be called lyric, since Winston addresses humanity only in the absence of any actual context of address. (127) This is an eerily apt descript ion of the mythic image of Dick insonher poems were seen as her letter to the world that neve r listened or replied to her. Numerous critics throughout the twentieth-century have agreed with Pattee that the poems represent a means of mental survival for her, rather than an organi zed poetic projectDickinson stayed sane (perhaps just barely) by expressing herself, and the chao tic mass of poems reveal how much she had to express in order to keep from going over the edge. Dickinson needed to write, but in order to do so, like Winston, she had to imagine the ability to a ddress partial strangers. What has remained 108

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frustrating for readers, editors, and critics is Dickinsons commitment to keeping herself a stranger. Her poems have been understood as lyrics as the poet speaking to the reader, and this has been accomplished because the poems were seen as without context. Yet the poems do have various, complicated, sometimes contradictory contexts, and each movement within Dickinson studies seems to argue for a more real Dickinson. The problem, it seems, is Dickinsons choice of styleher lack of clarity and he r refusal to print has lead readers to assume what types of publics her po ems should address. Warners discussion of styles of intellectual publics centers on the ongoing preoccupation, voiced by journalis ts and academics, w ith the style of left academic theory. When people compla in, as many do, that intellectuals are not writing clearly enough, their yard stick of good style often tu rns out to be not just grammatical or aesthetic but political They want language that will bring a certain public into being, and they have an idea of what style will work. The question of style, at any rate, entails a worry about the nature and duties of the intellectual. (129) Although Warner is not talking a bout poetry or poets here, his di scernment of the importance of style choice in a world making project applies to Dickinsons position. Dickinson is placed, along with unclear academics, in the position of Or wells diarist because th ey are writing to a public that does not exist, and fi nding that their language can circul ate only in channels hostile to it, they write in a manner designed to be a placeholder for a future public (130). It seems to me that Dickinson did at least ente rtain the idea of printing her poem s, and she sought out the advice of Higginson perhaps as preparati on. Whatever her thought process, she did eventual ly reject the traditional print form, but she did not stop writing. This choice, combined with her experimental grammar, punctuation, meter, rhym e, and contextualization, has l ead many to complain that she had no clear understanding of poetry. From the mid-nineteenth-century until now, many wonder why she did not fix her work, which would en able editors, reviewers, and readers to understand clearly her intentions and her philosophy of poetry. 109

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Although Dickinsons uniqueness is part of her po wer, she is not as isolated as has been thought previously, and her choice of style reflects more than a commitment to defy poetic conventions. Warner discusses the arguments of style with regard to contemporary theory, pointing out that critics, particul arly journalists, complain that bad writing is unclear writing, by which they mean inaccessible writing. Katha Pollitt, for example, argues that intellectuals write for themselves and thus it is a pse udo-politics (Warner 130-131). Their assumption, Warner argues, is that accessible style leads to mass markets and therefore to effective politics (132). The idea that good writing is accessible wr iting leads to the discussion of what writing and language should be used forto reach as many people as possible and therefore be politically effective, or, in th e arguments of the academics bei ng attacked for writing badly, such as Judith Butler, the apparent clarity of common sense is corrupt with ideology and can only be countered by defamiliarization in thought and language (132). Warner points out that a very similar argument lies at the core of Amer ican Transcendentalism. Henry David Thoreau had nothing but scorn for common sense and the journalistic demand that one write for it. He also thought that true percep tions must be poetic, transformativ e, even transgressive; any true thought must wake you out of common sense (133). We can better understand Dickinsons work in this light. She was not writing to be i mmediately accessible to all who read her, but this does not mean her poems are unclear. For over a cen tury, editors have been able to re-format her work to seem safe yet unconventional; popular and then iconically academic; ahead of her time yet deeply influenced by her world, real or imaginary; and committed both to the traditional stanza and to materiality. Dickinsons primar y concern aligns her w ith the conception of common sense espoused by Thoreau and contempor ary critics like Judith Butler because her body of work defamiliarizes not only poetic co nvention but methods of communication. I see 110

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111 Dickinson as deeply influenced by her time pe riod, working within and against the notions of public/private, prose/poetry, print/portfolio that marked her understanding of language, an understanding which arose out of th e Civil War era. Dickinsons e fforts, even without any clear artistic philosophy or concrete evidence that woul d clarify her intentions, reveal that she too viewed the primary operation of poetry to be trans formative, even transgressive. But to write as she did, she had to write to a public that does not exist. Although Dickinson has been in print since the 1890s, and has been rigorously st udied and debated since those first volumes appeared, we can better understand her now if we seek not to pinpoint her intentions, but to explore the tenuous, complex, varied, flexible, and open-ended publics that her texts have created.

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CHAPTER 4 THE FASCICLES Besides Johnson, Franklin remains the only other main editor of Dickinsons body of work, and he edits under the philosophy that a litera ry work is separable from its artifact (27). The contemporary scholars who disa gree with Franklins approach rely on the computer, rather than standard typography, to pres ent various approaches to readi ng Dickinsons work (28). In an interesting move, despite his power as Dickinsons prim ary editor backed by Harvard, Franklin seems aware in 1998 that Dickinson and H ypertext were soon to come. Of this, he says that even with digital images, where the poems are in pixels, an editor will need typography to explain the relationship of images a nd to transcribe the texts, confirming what the eye sees but may not understand and disclosing what the eye, una ided, cannot detect (28). I must admit that I do not really know what he means here, and do not see why any explanation would be needed of the relationship of images Perhaps Franklin simply has in mind the difficulty of Dickinsons handwriti ng, which would be something th at the eye sees but may not understand. In a classroom setting, Franklin may be imagining that students would need some kind of explanation for the images of Dickinson s manuscript poems. But, if this is what he means, the reading experience, no matter how di fficult, would add to students understanding of Dickinsons work and of the influence of ed iting and publishing. I do think that typography would be needed as the sole means of explanation. As to why the eye is unaided in front of a computer screen and not any less unaided during the process of transcribing the manuscripts into print as Dickinson editors have ha d to do is not clear to me, unle ss there is some editorial magic Harvard has kept hidden. Martha Nell Smith discusses her work with Dickinsons manuscripts, arguing that the Dickinson Electronic Archives figure into her broader c oncern of textual production: 112

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maintaining relentless self-cons ciousness about how critical f acts have been produced, about how items of knowledge are part of the circumstan ces of their creation, is crucial for responsibly providing the provisionality that char acterizes the best kind of science of chaos (852). And in response to the question of how might all these technologies and their potential be gin to address crises in publishing and in humanities education?, Smith answers, I am persuaded that protecting the flow of informa tion should trump protecting profit in academic publishing. Besides these new models of publishing, new models of scholar ly and pedagogical praxes are needed (852-853). Some of these new models already exist and have been incorporated into pedagogical texts and hypertexts. Besides the di gital archives made available in open-access, free websites such as the Dickinson Electronic Archives the Classroom Electric and Emily Dickinson Online,1 editors of websites and anthologies have opted to use individual fascicles, rather than selecting individual poems. While an editor makes a subjective or practical choice as to what fascicle to include or teach, using a fa scicle, rather than ones own selection of poems based on preference, common themes, or technique opens up space to explore issues of editing, publishing, materiality, and access. Although ar guments abound about the impossibility of arguing for Dickinsons intentions with regard to the fascicles, they ar e a space set by Dickinson, and the poems within that spac e can take on new meanings when read together. Michele Ierardis Translating Emily: Digitally Repr esenting Dickinsons Po etic Production Using Fascicle 16 as a Case Study provides one of the most detailed and fascinating examples I have 1 For a small fee, one can access Marta Werner's Radical Scatters: Emily Dickinson's Fragments and Related Texts 1870-1886, which is a site-licensed electronic archive, the first SGML-e ncoded section of an increasingly collaborative effort of the Dickinson Editing Collective which aims to reproduce electronically all of Dickinson's writings, beginning with the poetic and ep istolary texts in her correspondences. Radical Scatters contains all of the extant fragments composed by Dick inson between 1870 and 1886 ( Dickinson Electronic Archives http://www.emilydickinson.org/radical_scatters.html). Emily Dickinsons Corresponden ces: A Born-Digital Textual Inquiry edited by Martha Nell Smith and Lara Vetter, was pub lished by the University of Virginias Rotunda Press in 2008. Although some portions are accessible for free, this database also requires a subscription. 113

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found of the opportunities offered by the computer. Ierardis intent with the website is to connect hypertext to Dick insons poetic innovations: In Dickinsons self-publication, she pushed out of the confines of the print medium. She created her own language of punctuation which we will never be able to fully understand. She offered variants which pitc h a reader onto a fulcrum, teetering between two or more choices for meaning, the very idea of ch oices creating webs of meaning. Dickinson worked to th ink outside of the book, to break with the paradigms of print and by doing so, created texts that de-naturalize the book and help re-present it as technology. On a certain level isnt that wh at hyper-text is all abouttext that is hyper, th at wont stay within the neat confines of the preexisting technology? Ierardis project offers scanned copies of Fascicle 16 as found in Franklins Manuscript Books. Below each image, there are Fascicle 16 Na vigation Options, which, depending on the poem and its appearance in ear lier publications, show multip le versions of the poem in print, such as in Poems (1891), Final Harvest (1962), and the 1930 Centenary Edition titled The Poems of Emily Dickinson when it was brought out by Bianchi and Al fred Leete Hampson. The poems are presented in the order they are found in the fascic le, and my favorite part is the this poem with its variants optiona printe d version of the poem, normally following Johnsons 1955 transcription, appears, but any lines with variants automatically change back and forth. Thus, one can literally watch the poem change as it would with the different variants inserted.2 2 Another useful online project, although not as in-depth or innovative as Ierardis, is Sean B. Palmers Emily Dickinson Archive, which includes Johnson s transcriptions of the poems in their fascicle order. Palmer offers a list of the forty fascicles, and includes Johnsons transcripti ons in their fascicle order for F1, F6, F7, F8, F11, F14, F15, F16, F18, F21, and F25. Judith Johnsons Emily Dickinson: A Reconsideration is a hypertext project based on Dickinsons Fascicle 33. It is also not as professional or as innovative as Ierardis, but remains a useful example for the possibilities offered by hypertext. Janet Gray includes Fascicle 34 and the variants found in the manuscript version of the fascicle as her entry for Emily Dickinson in She Wields a Pen The first image of the book is the manuscript page of Dickinsons A Little Road not made of Man (Fr758). In contrast, Cheryl Walkers anthology, American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century does not include Dickinson. In the Introduction, Walker explains, the exclusion of Em ily Dickinson from this an thology was a decision made for the sake of space and coherence. Though this anthology aims to insp ire new comparative work that would connect Dickinson to other nineteenth-century women poets, its purpose is mainly to bring to the attention of modern readers the longforgotten texts of nineteenth-centu ry women poets who are not already widely known and recognized (xliii). 114

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The more readers and scholars study Dickins ons manuscripts, the more they are made aware of the powerful influence others have had in creating Dickinson. Throughout the twentieth-century, as new Dickinson materials were discovered and offered to a wider audience, the image and understandi ng of Dickinson as a poet change d. That change continues. While we remain fascinated by the mystery of Di ckinsons intentions, and while some are often left frustrated by the vast complexity of Dick insons materials, we better understand the dangers of oversimplification for Dickinsons work in pa rticular and for poetry in general. Dickinson lived in an era when poetry was a part of Americ an culture, society, and politics, and the twentyfirst century seems far removed from that time. But perhaps it is not as far away as was assumed in the twentieth-century. The current technology increasingly allows wider access to more and varied materials than ever before. While these materials are not un-mediated, of course, they do create publics in a new way. Dickinsons inten tions become less important, since students and scholars are allowed to become involved in the wr iting process in such a way that no other prior technology has allowed. The manuscripts remain remote from our own time, as Mitchell has argued, but the access to them allowed by digitization alters this remoteness in such a way that exemplifies Warners most powerful points abou t the nature of discursive publicsthey are unknowable, unforeseeable, ever-changing, and open-e nded. Rather than seeing Dickinson as inconsistent, unstudied, isolated, and private, the collection of materials now at our disposal proves that discursive publics are to blame, not Dickinson s psyche or poetic ability. Perhaps the push to find Dickinson is due to the complicat ed and often misunderstood notion of publics. We take the idea of publics for granted. As readers and scholars of poetry, particularly if we read a poem as a lyric, we a ssume that the Poet behind the texts must have had an audience or even the public in mind (or the Poet did not fa thom any type of public and wanted 115

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the poems to remain locked in the box.) But this line of investiga tion ultimately leads to readers, editors, and publishers assuming too much. The publics created and addressed by Dickinsons texts become a fascinating way of inquiry outside reading the poems for their own sake. The publics have morphe d through history, with different schools of cr itical thought as well as with different modes of editing and translating the poems into print. Dickinsons place within the canon came about as the result of editing, editorializing, and an thologizing; it was not primarily due to her widely or consistently recogn ized poetic genius. For me, this coincides with Warners opening argument that the idea of a pub lic is a kind of practical fiction (8). The image of Dickinson, as it was a nd is fiercely attached to the poe ms, serves a purpose in different contexts, and because the image fits the need of the moment, a different public comes into being. The definition or interpretation of Dickinsons poetry has been and remains centered on ones definition of Emily Dickinson. But Warners explanation of how discursive publics operate moves the focus from the person of Emily Dickins on to the queer nature of publics (7). What prior editors and critic s have imposed upon Dickinson, whether it was her childlike, strange personality or her unstudi ed technique, can be attributed to the queer creatures that are publics (7). The print editions togeth er with the manuscripts, including the letters and letter-poems, highlight Warners correlation between world-making projects and style: The desire to have a different public, a more accommodating addressee, therefore confronts one with the circularity inherent in all publics: public language addresses a public as a social entity, but that entity exists only by virtue of being addressed. It seems inevitable that the world to whic h one belongs, the scene of ones activity, will be determined at least in part by the way one addresses it. In modernity, therefore, an extraordinary burden of wo rld making comes to be borne above all by style. (129) The current ability and commitment to take the manuscripts into account offers unending possibilities to redefine Dickinson. The attemp ts to return to Dickin sons scene of activity reveal a choice of style that ha s confused critics, readers, sc holars, and editors since the mid116

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nineteenth-century. The chaos, as it is deem ed by numerous editors and critics, does have a method to its madness, and this method can be found in the fascicles, which I explore in this and the final chapter. Editorial procedures during the nineteenth-century and the tw entieth-century fostered the general point of view that Dickinson repres ented the isolated, oppressed, and unappreciated genius. This caricature allowed her printed poems to be seen as lyric poetry, which is often understood as timeless overheard self-communion (Warner 82). However, reading Dickinson in manuscript shows us something else. While Walt Whitman chose print to compromise the typical lyric transcendence, which allows hi m to toy with the nonintimate, depersonalizing conventions of print publication, Dickinson chos e portfolio poetry to toy with the intimate and personal conventions of communication (Warner 82, 285).3 Although my claim in these final chapters relies more upon Dickinsons in tentions, which I have been attempting to circumvent by investigating the publics created by Dickinsons te xts, I feel confident that Dickinson must have been aware of her experi mentation. The exact reasons why she did not print, or at least left no instruc tions or artistic philosophy to be used after her death, will never be known, but the evidence we do have seems to indi cate an awareness of the possibilities open to her, and she used these possibilities to offe r something new and more complicated than traditional poetry. While many readers, editors, and scholars throughout history have been 3 Not surprisingly, even recent criticism purports that Di ckinson and Whitman are polar opposites. For example, Joyce Carol Oates writes in her introduction to The Essential Dickinson that Dickinson and Wh itman have come to represent the extreme, idiosyncratic poles of the Amer ican psyche: intensely inward, private, elliptical and mystical (Dickinson); and the robustly outward-lookin g, public, rhapsodic and m ystical (Whitman) (3). The dichotomy, it seems to me, is overly-simplistic and unhelpful for both poets, but especially for Dickinson. While Whitman is viewed as the democratic giant of American literary history, Dickinson continues to be understood as the silent, oppressed, half-cracked, child -like poet, who, at best, lived in her private world of poetry, or, at worst, was forced to write alone in her attic because she knew no other way to keep from going insane. Oates writes her selections for what constitute essential Dickinson are personal yet not private since the book includes the poems generally considered greatand they are many. It c ontains the much-anthologized; but it also contains the virtually never anthologized (15). 117

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frustrated by the lack of clear directions, I, like many other reader s of the manuscripts, relish the possibilities offered by the lack clarity. Dickin son, too, seemed to appreciate what possibility offers: I dwell in Possibility / A fairer House than Prose / More numerous of Windows / Superior for Doors (Fr466). Dickinsons initiation of the correspondence with Higginson, her friendship with Samuel Bowles and Helen Hunt Jackson, the pivotal role played by Sue in her workshop, her own commitment to revision, her extensive amount of reading, and the way she accessed the world in her lifetime are a few facts that indicate Di ckinsons awareness of print conventions and possibilities. But the manuscripts reveal a gr eat volume of something more complicated than print. Individual poems, for example, experime nt with convention, and while many would claim this is due to Dickinsons lack of study, early scholars noted the ease with which Dickinsons poems could be made normal, which seems to s upport the idea that Dick inson sought something else. While Dickinson clearly knew that one way to express poetry was in stanzas, she also experimented with others, such as the prose-po ems found in her early lett ers and her letter-poems sent most often to Sue. Dickin sons non-fascicle poems also seem to experiment with the limits of print, since hardly any of those artifacts can be represented in print. Without a visual artifact, one requires prose to explain on what and how the poem is written. These scraps, as they have been called by early twentieth-cen tury scholars as well as Johnson and Franklin, are the most unorganized, yet the most experimental. They seem to investigate poe tic inspiration and how visual cues, whether intenti onal or not, affect ones r eading of a poem. In the Manuscript Books Franklin provides all the poems Dickinson include d in her fascicles and sets in facsimile form, thus giving readers a sense of the materiality-s pecific and process-based nature of Dickinsons poetic composition (Kreider 69). However, in the 1998 variorum, Franklin describes the 118

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material details of each poem, rather than offering a visual image. Following the long tradition of editing Dickinson, Franklin prints these materials, often keeping w ith the poetic convention of a quatrain or hymn meter, the form most widely attri buted to Dickinsons verse. [While] this offers the reader of Franklins Variorum Edition a sense of the intricacies and idiosyncrasies inherent in Dickinsons page s [it is] only insofar as such details are received through Franklins verbal de scription and editorial codification of them. (69) For other scholars, the reading experience is of the utmost importance, and understanding the artifact via Franklins verbal description ofte n presents a difficult, unsatisfying experience. Recent scholars, such as Marta Werner and Kris ten Kreider, are committed to working with and creating access to these later manuscripts. These radical scatters, to borrow the title of Werners electronic archive, differ quite extens ively from Dickinsons fascicles and setsthey are not bound; are often presented in their worksheet state, meaning written in pencil or deemed a draft, rather than a fair copy, by Franklin; and are often written on odds and ends, such as envelopes, the back of a shopping list, or a fragment of wrapping paper, rather than the stationary of the fascicles and sets. In the fascicles, the context is set by the other poems within the same space. In her letters and letter-poems the context is set by prose, by the person to whom Dickinson sent the letter, and by events refe renced in the letter. In Dickinsons reading, isolated poems, sometimes by un-named authors, would be situated within other poems and within prose, such as contemporary news and lite rary announcements. In the radical scatters, context is less important. Marta Werner desc ribes her online project as encouraging new investigations into both the dynamics of Dick insons compositional process and the play of autonomy and intertextuality in he r late work (quoted in Kreider 69). In Dickinsons lifetime, her understanding of poets and poe try was affected by how she read themin periodicals, in anthologies, in single-author volumesor how she heard them, such as the sermons by Charles 119

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Wadsworth she often attended. Dickinson would have known that context affects interpretation, and she experiments with this in her most formal productionsthe fascicles. However, the fascicles have only recently be en read as artistic productions, and many scholars continue to argue that th ey do not offer privileged interpretations. For example, Shira Wolosky argues that the fascicles cannot prov ide privileged evidence of textual connections, when the methods of entry, as Franklin himself vi vidly presents them, correlate neither with the order of composition nor with a ny other clearly ascertainable pr ocedure (88-89). While R.W. Franklin reassembled the fascicles in the 1981 book, The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson he purports that as of Fascicle 9, in early 1861, th ey would have been unsuitable for circulation. The transcription, though in ink, was less careful, and the texts, now with unresolved readings, were not intended for others (Franklin, 1998, 20). Franklin reconstructed the individual fascicles and ordered them according to the da te around which they were written. While the progression of Dickinsons handwriti ng can give a quite reliable clue as to what date a fascicle was written, the numbers 1-40 are otherwise arbitrary, meaning that there is no definitive reason to designate Fascicle 11 as coming before Fasc icle 12. Mabel Loomis Todd, however, did keep track of the fascicles, and much of Franklins reconstr uction is based on her system.4 The editing of Dickinsons poems is no easy task, but Franklin does make clear in his 1998 variorum that a literary work is separable from its artifact and claims that his edition takes license to make public what Dickinson herself never did, honoring the interests of history over her reticence (27). However, Franklin is less clear about the edi ting of Dickinsons fascicles, and one can only interpret the reasons why he did not follow the Manuscript Books with a print version of the 4 Ruth Miller studies the fascicles befo re they were re-established in 1981 and thus her chapter gives a good indication of how Franklins efforts came to be. See pages 247-332. 120

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fascicles. Sharon Cameron reports Franklins contradictory opinions re garding the importance and role of the fascicles: To follow the fascicle order is, in Franklin s account of his task as described in the introduction to the facsimile, to present the poems much as [Dickinson] left them for Lavinia and the world (I: ix). In an article in Studies in Bibliography however, published two years after the facsimile text Franklin differently claims that the fascicles were a form of s urrogate publication c onstructed for herself. (12) Later in the same Studies in Bibliography article, Franklin posits th at the fascicles were a means of keeping order among Dickinsons poems, and he means that they literally helped her to tidy up: The disorder that the fascic le sheets forestalled may be seen in the scraps of the later years. When she did not copy such sheets and destroy the previous versions, her poems are on hundreds of odds and endsbrown paper bags, ma gazine clippings, discarded envelopes and letters, and the backs of recipes (Cameron 11) We cannot be certain as to Dickinsons intentions with regard to the fascicles, of course, yet we do know Dickinson intended something. After all, she copied the poems into fascicles (Cameron 18). The difficulties inherent in translating Dickinsons poems into prin t aside, all recent fascicle scholars agree that reading poems within the fascicle context can elucidate ones understanding of the poetry; the reading experience is different and should not be discounted, even if we cannot use our experience to exact Dickinsons intent. As Ca meron points out, the way Dickinsons poetry has been printed means the unit of sense is the i ndividual poem; beyond that, it is whatever arbitrary place the reader decides to close the book (15). In reading individual fascicles, connections can be made between poems that are hidden when pres ented in a chronological order. In a practical sense, one can read (and teach) a fascicle as a unit, rather than approaching a giant book of units. Surprisingly, not many of the fascicles have been individually examined, and only one 121

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book-length study exists on a single fascicle.5 All of these fascicle st udies agree that individual fascicles incorporate a range of influences a nd themes; they do not follow any identifiable blueprint, as Ruth Miller argues in 1968, but they do reveal how context affects interpretation, and they offer interpretive possibilities that are foreclosed if the poems are approached in isolation. They also offer, as other fascicle scholars such as A nn Swyderski and Eleanor Heginbotham show, a better understanding of the wa ys in which Dickinson was influenced by other writers. My final chapter offers a close reading of Fascicle 30, which reveals how the work of John Keats influenced Dickinsons conception of the Poet, and offers information regarding how Dickinson accessed Keatss work in the mid-nineteenth-century. In his Introduction to the 1998 variorum, Frankl in gives extensive details regarding the most prominent part of the manuscripts that Lavinia Dickinson found in May 1886, which are the fascicles, her sisters own form of book making: selected poems copied in ink onto sheets of letter paper that she bound with string In all Lavinia discovered forty bound fascicles, containing over eight hundr ed poems, and a good many fascicle sheets that had never been bound. These unbound groups, called sets following the terminology of The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson (1981), brought the total to over eleven hundred. Fascicle was not Emily Dickinsons term. It was introduced by Todd in Poems (1890) and has been retained because it has long serve in referring to these homemade books Dickinson copied poem after poem onto sheets of letter paper, already folded by the manufacturer to form a bifolium. (7) The individual sheets of letter paper, now referre d to as fascicle sheets, were stacked one on top of another, rather than nestled. The earlier fascicles normally ha ve four sheets, which produces a booklet with eight leaves with te xt on both sides, while the late r fascicles have a norm of six (Franklin, Manuscript Books xi). Sometimes the last poem ran over onto a separate leaf (twice onto the next full sheet) and on a few occasions onto a separate slip that was pinned, or in one 5 This is Dorothy Huff Oberhauss Emily Dickinsons Fascicles: Method & Meaning 122

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case bound, into place. To bind, Dickinson stack ed the assembled sheets, with the overflow leaves (if any) in place, punched two holes through the group, threading it with string, tied on the front (Franklin, 1998, 7). Dickinson began co nstructing the fascicles in 1858, and the beginning of 1866 marked the effective end of fascicle making (26). It may only be a coincidence, or a significant moment when Dickinson relinquished her copying and binding practices for a different type of project, that th e fascicle-making ended in the same year as the publication of The Snake in Springfield Daily Republican which instigated Dickinsons famous statement to Higginson that she did not print (L316). Many have wondered why Dickinson stopped creating the fascicles, but it seems possible that she was finished with them and decided to move to a diffe rent method of experimentation.6 Franklin, who sees the fascicles as a means of keeping order or as a repository of poems from which she would make copies and send in letters, describes the non-fascicle manuscrip ts as a proliferating disarray of scraps of paper: The next four years are wit hout fascicles or sets or ev en many poems, only ten or twelve in each of the years from 1866 through 1869, almost like the silent years from 1855-1857. In 1870 she returned to maki ng individual fascicle sheets (Sets 812, 15, 13-14), but it was an occasional occupation and lasted only until 1875. During these later years, except for the la st two, when illness was debilitating, her output rose again, but it never reached earlier levels. She continued to work with first and second drafts and to produce retained copies prepared more formally, as if for a recipient. (26) The fascicle poems are copied in ink, which Fr anklin considers more formally, while later poems, or poems not on fascicle sheets, are often (but not always) in pencil. Dickinsons normal 6 Alexandra Socarides writes, while Dickinson was clearly absorbed with her fascicle project for many years, she did eventually abandon it. She then wr ote individual poems, parts of poems, and sometimes only a scattering of words onto the backs of kitchen lists, advertisements, and bills. Because Dickinson destroyed almost all of the drafts that preceded her fascicle copies, we do not know if she had always worked this way and simply chose to abandon making fair copies and binding them into fascicles, or if her later work represents a change in method. Either way, she stopped copying and binding these texts together, an act that suggests a change in her approach to her poetry. What is most interesting, though, is that be tween these two stages of her writing life [the fascicles and the scraps], she continued copying her texts onto fascicle sheets, yet abandoned binding them together (88-89). 123

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formula was to destroy earlier drafts, so while Fra nklin calls certain years s ilent, he refers to a lack of manuscripts from that period. Dickinso n could have been writing, of course, but we no longer have evidence of it. Dickinsons intentions with regard to the fa scicles can never be know n concretely since the early mutilation and disarray cannot be corrected with exactness. Franklin dated paper and handwriting to determine the approximate time when Dickinson transcribed poems into a particular fascicle, and he matc hed pin-holes in order to re-est ablish them. We cannot be sure, however, that Franklins ordering of fascicle sheets follows Dickinsons original order. Despite the chaos, Dickinson became early in the twenti eth-century a canonical author; as the century progressed, she became established as America s foremost poet (not just a great female poet.) This is due in part to the Dick inson mythology, but it is also becau se people read and studied her poems. Editors were able to derive poems from the chaos that were popular in the nineteenthcentury and then were seen as pre-modern and even pre-postmodern throughout the twentiethcentury.7 Similarly to the ease with which individua l poems can be made conventional, the ways in which Dickinsons larger body of work has be en molded to fit trad itional understandings of what poetry written by a woman should be imply that she was aware of the conventionality she should be striving for; instead, she chose to explore and puncture the boundaries of poetic language and intimate communication. 7 See Sharon Camerons Choosing Not Choosing Cameron indicates that the partic ipation of the reader encouraged by reading Dickinson in manuscript aligns Dickinson with post-modernism. Cameron argues the variants are not alternative possibilities but integral to the poem, and they represent Dickinson choosing not to choose one word or phrase over another. Camerons argument as to Dickinsons lack of choice regarding a final version of the fascicle poems is based in considering the variants as inclusive rather than substitutive (63). Cameron views Dickinson as offering the variants in order to extend the identity of a poem, and of the possibilities of poetry. In Camerons point of view, the variants as well as their visual presence in the manus cripts are imperative in any speculation regarding the identity of a Dickinson poem. Came ron explores in detail Fascicle 20 and Fascicle 16, but she views the fascicles overall as Dickinsons interest in the identity of a poem: unity is not produced by reading Dickinsons lyrics in the fascicle context. What is more radically revealed is a question about what constitutes the identity of the poem. Dickinsons fascicles can rather be seen to embody the problem of identity (4). 124

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Within the past few decades, more fascicle scholarship has appeared, and these studies reflect the complexity of Dickinsons fort y hand-made books. Eleanor Heginbotham argues that the fact of the fascicles deserves attenti on. Regardless of whether they were complete or finished or intended as prepubli cation studies, as selfpublishing artifacts, as gifts, as scrapbooks, or as workbooks, they exist (ix). Heginbotham studies individual fascicles to discover what proximate poems can tell us about each other and what the selectionsfor they are that, it seems to me, rather than repositories suggest about the concerns of their author at the moment she bound them together (xi). Heginbotham explores Fascicle 21 in particular, and focuses on They shut me up in Prose and This was a Poet to reveal the importance of the fascicle context. Heginbotham argues these two poems speak to each other across the page, each opening up interpretive possibilities for the other. Here are two poems, both of them familiar to Dickinson readers as disparate entities; wh en explored together, however, they become new artifacts by virtue of their proximity. (5) Heginbotham argues that Fascicle 21 is where Dickinson declared her aesthetic principles, which emphasize the subversive and affective possibilities of poetry (5,18). Heginbotham reads the central poems as declar ing Dickinsons aesthetic stance, which is far from those of her contemporary fireside poets, whose st rictly metered, true-r hyming, nationalistic, and inspirational verse was rarely de-stilling or unset tling, while the entire fascicle reflects the business of the working poet (18, 24). In di scussing Dickinsons aesthetic principles and the business of poetry, Heginbotham notes the influe nce of Keats and Barre tt Browning, and several poems in Fascicle 21 can be read as overt re ferences to these specific poetic precursors. Rather than highlighting echoe s of several authors, as Heginbotham does to reveal Dickinsons aesthetic principles in Fascicle 21, Ann Swyderski traces th e influence of a single author in the Barrett Browning Fascicles, wh ich are fascicles 26, 29, and 31. According to 125

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Franklin, Dickinson recorded the first elegy to Barrett Browning into Fascicle 26 around the summer of 1863, and the second and third into Fasc icle 29 and Fascicle 31 about the second half of 1863. Dickinsons interest centers not only on Barrett Brownings work, but on her status as a well-known woman poet. Swyderski shows that the Barrett Browning Fascicles record [Dickinsons] evolving relationship with Barrett Browning. Dickinson chose to embed these poems [the elegies] in gather ings of other poems which explore her own development as a woman and poet (76-78). For Swyderski, as Di ckinson contemplates Barrett Brownings death she is also becoming aware of her own power to assimilate and transform previous texts (89). The earliest study of the fascic les to be published after the Manuscript Books is by William Shurr, who reads the forty fascicles as indi cative of marriage between Dickinson and Henry Wadsworth. Although Shurrs study has been di scredited due to the unfounded and unhelpful biographical focus, later critics have attempted to align the fascicles with Dickinsons life story. In The Passion of Emily Dickinson, for example, Judith Farr reads within Dickinsons work cycles of poems that describe her passion first for Susan Gilbert Dickinson and then for Master, whom Farr believes is Samuel Bowles. Although Farr mentions the fascicles quite often and searches within them for these two na rrative strands, her proj ect is not a sustained focus on the fascicles. She writes, the forty fascicles, together with a few unbound poems, talk about the beloved woman [who Farr argues is Sue] in a fa shion inconvenient to facile deductions about the chronology of events. For exam ple, long after the beloved has been claimed by another [Austin], Dickinsons sp eaker rehearses heightened moments of their love as if these had just occurred. Chronologi cally, then, Dickinsons story is random. Nevertheless, taken in their entirety, the poems for the beloved woman constitute a distinct narrative. (132) Farrs observation that the fascicles are chronol ogically random aligns with Franklins and prior editors frustration at the lack of clear intent with regard to the fascicles. I am unconvinced by Farrs story, although her use of the poems, in and out of their fascicle context, as a means 126

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to explore Dickinsons desire for a life in art aligns with the majority of twentieth-century criticism, which is to use Dickinsons poetry to fill in her biography and vice versa (Farr 30). Similarly to Farr, Dorothy Huff Oberhaus attempts to find a narrative structure within a single fascicle, which she then applies to all the fa scicles as well as to Dickinsons life. In the only book-length study on a single fascicle, Ober haus reads Fascicle 40 as a three-part conversion narrative. Oberhaus applies the poetic c ontent of this final fasc icle back to the first fascicle to show why she sees the fascicles as tracking the protagonists poetic and spiritual pilgrimage, culminating in the c onversion narrative of the final fa scicle. Oberhauss reading of Fascicle 40 is to show the protagonists attainment of true contentment in a spiritual as well as poetic union with Jesus Christ. Similarly to Ruth Miller, Oberhaus examines the progress of the poet and the woman. Oberhaus argues the narra tive of the fortieth fascicle shows how the protagonist, as the author of the fascicles, views her poetry to be not only inspired by but written for Christ. Oberhauss study high lights the textual influence of th e Bible in Fascicle 40, yet all attempts to find a single story within the forty fascicles remain unconvincing. Instead, other scholars focus on individual fascicle s. In addition to Swyderskis work with the Barrett Browning fascicles and Heginbothams with Fascicle 21, James Wohlpart discusses how Fascicle 22 exemplifies Dickinsons confront ation with nineteenth-century dichotomies, concluding that the liberation at the heart of the fascicle subverts orthodox, religious views on redemption and can most clearly be defined as th e establishment of interrelationships with the natural world and with other humans that enable her to transform the quotidian into the sacred (55). M. L. Rosenthal and Sally Gall focus on Fascicle 15 and Fascicle 16 to argue for a sequential movement, which compares to the modern poetic sequence. Robert Bray also finds a lyric sequence in Fascicle 18. Daneen Wardrop e xplores how the poems of Fascicle 16 reveal 127

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Dickinsons understanding and use of the Gothic. Wardrop argues, in Fa scicle 16 we can see particularly well how Dickinson works within an established genre, Gothicism, which by this time she is accustomed to using, in order to turn to more difficult questions of how an identity is formed (Martin 142). William Doreski focuses on figurations of loss in Fascicle 27. In my final chapter, I argue that Fascicle 30 show s Dickinsons understanding of John Keats. Dickinsons use of Transcende ntalism and Romanticism is well known, but the space created by the fascicle shows us how Dickinson understood the role of the Poet. My reading of Fascicle 30 also fits in with Swyderskis since she focuse s on Dickinsons relationship to a single author. The influence of Barrett Browning on Dickinson is un-questioned, yet Swyderskis attention to the fascicle context reveals a deeper understanding of the rela tion between the two poets. Similarly, Fascicle 30 shows how pivotal Keats became to Dickinsons understanding of poets and immortality. But Dickinsons fascicles represent a great di fficulty. They are not, despite what Johnson and Franklin may have thought, a means of keeping order or fore stalling the scraps of later years, but what Dickinson intended them to be is a labor-intensive, seemingly-endless pursuit. Some see this as proof that any readings are si mply coincidental. Sally Bushnell contends that recent critics who attempt to read across Dickinson s fascicles fall into exactly the same trap of unverifiable intention (B ushnell 58). However, this is in re sponse to critics, such as Dorothy Oberhaus, who argue for the forty fa scicles to be read as a single literary work. Relatively few scholarly articles have closely analyzed the poe try of single fascicles, while many scholars have added their opinions regarding how Franklin, even with his Manuscript Books and the 1998 variorum, has not solved the problem of readi ng Dickinson. In Emily Dickinsons Manuscript Body: History / Textuality / Gender, Shira Wo losky writes, Franklins newly proposed re128

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ordering of the poems [does not] finally settle questions of ch ronology, nor of how much one is able to make use of them in interpretation. Relationships among texts abound, but none are finally binding (88). Many scholars, including Franklin, remain convinced that Dickinsons manuscripts in general and her fascicles in pa rticular cannot offer conclusive information regarding Dickinsons intentions. I tend to see the fascicles as representative of the inherent complexity of Dickinsons work, and individual fascicle s do provide insight into what influenced Dickinson. For example, criticism early in the twentieth-century hi ghlighted Dickinsons isolationism and this could be proven by the themes found in Dickinsons poetry of the time period. Fred Lewis Pattee remarks that according to her passages in her letters, she had read many standard poets but in her ve rses there are no echoes (194). Similarly, Anna Mary Wells writes, what other people were writing during her own time, then, had comparatively little effect on her, yet Wells does highlight how much Dickinson read from times other than her own, saying that her taste, formed by what opportunities she had for reading, was more catholic than discriminating (246). The fascicles, at least the few that have been closely read as individual booklets, do reveal Di ckinsons influences in a more powerful and concrete way than has been realized previously. There are direct echoe s, even more so than all of the ones set forth by Jack Cappss pivotal work, Emily Dickinsons Reading For example, Capps selects individual lines from letters or poems and correl ates them to their original sources. His work reveals the amount Dickinson was involved in lit erature from her own time period as well as others, and how much she read contemporary ma gazines and newspapers. But the echoes are random and sporadic, while the fasc icles reveal a sustained concen tration in a space controlled by Dickinson. 129

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However, due to the manuscript mutilation and disarray, how much of that space was intended by Dickinson remains an area of deba te. In Dickinson, Higginson, and the Problem with Print, Alexandra Socarides argues that th e fascicles are not booklet s of poetry, but reveal Dickinsons main focus to be the fascicle sheet: Attending to how Dickinson made the fascic les reveals that she was working with a particular unit of constructionthe fascic le sheetand, in doing so, was already thinking about the very problems of narra tive, sequence, fragmentation, and genre that Dickinson scholars have been str uggling with for over a hundred years. Once we see that the fascicles ar ent what weve always a ssumed them to bebooks of lyric poems whose contents can be bo th extracted individually and read sequentiallythen we will be able to iden tify what they are and what kinds of poems Dickinson copied in them. (2) Similarly to Ruth Miller, who notices the impor tance of the presence of several poems on a manuscript page since they are indisputable, for these poems cannot have been displaced, Socarides argues for the significan ce of the fascicle sheet (Miller 247). In Rethinking the Fascicles: Dickinsons Writing, Copying, and Binding Practices, Socarides explains that while the fascicles are relatively new to Dickinson studies, they can be contextualized within the nineteenth-century: Critics treatments of Dickinsons manuscrip ts inadvertently imply that no one else ever copied and kept her own writings. Ye t, over two decades ago, Barton Levi St. Armand placed Dickinsons fascicle poems in a wider cultural context when he suggested that they were por tfolio poems, the sort of manuscript expressions that Ralph Waldo Emerson had called for in hi s 1840 essay, New Poetry (3-5). At the time, St. Armand asked critics to further investigate Dickinsons material writing practices when he wrote, This art was not exclusively literary in nature but originated in Dickinsons situation as a nineteenth-century woman who was a part of a community where many nonliterary or nonacademic arts were practiced (9). Several critics have taken up this call and several new studies of nineteenth-century womens poetry in particular have explored the fact that American women of Dickinsons culture and class were deep ly absorbed in the practice of writing, copying, and preserving their ow n and others verses. (71) Socarides concern is reading too much into how Dickinson may have intended the fascicles to be read. Since we cannot be sure they were re-established correctly, we may be assuming too 130

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much if we argue for a narrative structure within an individual fascicle or the fascicles as a whole. Rather than focusing on t he fascicles as something read, Socarides views the fascicles as something made (71). Socarides argues Dick inson uses the fascicle sheet to formally address her own resistance to bot h the static lyric moment and an all-encompassing narrative (89). Socarides concludes that the complexity and difficulty of the fascicles cause one to rethink the boundaries be tween individual texts: In the end, the fascicles may continue to a void classification at ev ery turn. Yet it is this very avoidance that ope ns up new questions that allow for a reexamination of the materials themselves, the assumptions th at have been made about them, and the discourses that are the most us eful when discussing both. (89) Dickinsons body of work, since there are so many possibilities inherent in only a handful of case studies or within a single fascicle, problematizes the assumptions that cons titute literary identity, such as the need for clearly demarcated boundari es between genres. So carides argues that the fascicle sheets reveal Dickinsons play with the limitations of print; she closely reads the poems in their manuscript fascicle page to see some of the amazing relations Dickinson put into play, relations that print will always obscure (Problem with Print 6). Reading Dickinson in manuscript, and reading th e fascicles in particul ar, is not to decide with finality what Dickinson intended. Rather, it is to show the great pos sibility she offered and with which she experimented. Print will always obscure this experime ntation, but technological innovations increasingly offer ne w ways of reading, which parallel Dickinsons commitment to working within and against established conventi ons of communication. Di ckinsons efforts, and the long, complicated history of Dickinson critic ism, exemplify what Warner defines as the circularity of discursive public s: a public is self-organized; it is a space of discourse organized by nothing other than the discourse itself. It exists by virtue of being addressed (67). The fascicles exist, and because Dickin son copied poems into manuscript books, we know 131

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she intended something. We may never know what she intended, but their existence fosters new ways of reading and understanding Dickinsons project. These artif acts continually create different publics. The circularit y, particularly powerful in the cas e of the fascicles, never ceases: Could anyone speak publicly with out addressing a public? But how can this public exist before being addressed? What would a public be if no one were addressing it? Can a public really exist apart from the rhetoric through which it is imag ined? (67). Just as we cannot answer with finality what Dickinson intended the fascicles to be, Warner says, these questions cannot be resolved on one side or the other. The circularity is essential to the phenomenon (67). If one sees the addressee of the fascicles as Dickins on, then one would deem them, as many have, as utterly private. However, Franklins Manuscript Books create new publics and if one reads the poems within those volumes as lyrics, as Dickins on talking to herself because they were meant to be private, then one understands them within an established discourse based on a traditional poetic genre. The rhetorical address of the poe ms is understood because of the original context of circulation, which is assumed to be non-circulation, yet the r eal context of reception is determined by ones reading of the Manuscript Books The use of the materials to discover Dickinson and her intentions results in vari ous, nearly endless possi bilities for different contexts of reception. Although we try to return to the original scene of circulation, we are continually thwarted since the texts create the publics, rather than Dickinson. The circularity that defines discursive publics allows us to think we can find Dickinsons addressee, but we only think there is an addressee because the material s created a public and we cannot imagine a public without someone addressing it. Ra ther than using the fascicles to show a singular private poet who sought no public, Dickinsons fascicles conti nually give rise to an infinite number of 132

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publics within the social totality, a totality boun ded only by the attention to a shared object; in this case, Dickinsons fascicles. Although it would be difficult to prove Dickin son understood publics as Warner describes them, and thus worked as she did in order to re veal the nature of discursive publics, her work does reveal a commitment to a l ack of clarity, which forecloses the possibility of closure on both an individual as well as a collective level. Her manipulation of language results in poems that always seem new: Regardless of how many times you read her best poems, and how many times you persuade others that you know what they mean, you feel the tickle of unsolved mystery in the poem; you do not convince yourself that you have gotten to the bottom of it; the poem, like the poet herself, is never quite your own. (Miller A Poets Grammar 19) Similarly, Sharon Cameron writes, the fascicles as an entire project and as single entities are as resistant to closure as the individual poems that compose them (19). The various contexts in which we can now see Dickinsons poetrypr int, manuscript, and hypertextserve to accentuate Dickinsons poems as perpetually unsol ved mysteries. Despite the confusion of editors at Dickinsons chaos, they have extracted for over a century hundreds of poems, which resulted in Dickinsons solid and privileged pl ace in literary histor y. Beginning around the 1980s, as new scholarship and new ways of r eading came into being, we began to better understand Dickinsons relationship to her time pe riod as well as the wider, more radical possibilities for her project. The letters, the fascicles, and the s craps of later years represent three distinct spaces of experimentation, and taken together, these three spaces explore and ultimately reject the boundary between public and private; they reveal the dichotomy to be overly-simplistic, arbitrary, and problematic, at best and dangerous, at worst. The first explores intimate communication and the relationship be tween prose and poetry as well as intended audience and nominal addressee. The fascicle s reveal the influence of context and show 133

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Dickinsons understanding of the li mits of print. The fascicles can be read in numerous ways with or without accounting for the variants; placing significance on the fascicle sheet, rather than seeing it as a book of poetry; seei ng it as a form of self-publica tion very remote from our own time, but using it nonetheless to set up a space for seeing common themes, literary echoes, or a possible narrative. In explaini ng his editorial philosophy that a li terary work is separable from its artifact, Franklin writes that Dickinson herself demonstrated this philosophy when she moved her poems from piece of paper to anothe r. Even the fascicles, her most formal organization of her work, were the source for further copies (27). Yet when Dickinson transcribed a poem into another place, she did ch ange the context and, in a way, the artifact, but those artifacts remained in ma nuscript. Print, no matter how deta iled or diligent, represents a rather drastic changein Dickinsons case, while it may be true that there can be many manifestations of a literary work, the artifacts are important to study, not just as material needed to translate into print and more traditional genres, but as ar tifacts integral to the literary project, significance, and met hodology as a whole (Franklin 27). The scraps, or radical scatters, which I find to be a much more apt de scription, further the meshing of genre Dickinson played with in both her le tters and her fascicles. Overall, despite the possibility of translati ng the poems into print and regularizing the line breaks to fit in with the tradition of the hymn quatrain, Dickinson seems committed to the manuscript form, perhaps because she realized the in ability to be printed exactly as she wanted. While, again, we can only infer why (or even if) Dickinson rejected print as an artistic stance, her manuscripts continue to offer alternative possibil ities for what defines and constitutes a poem. Individual fascicles, in particul ar, provide a space to explore th e issues central to Dickinsons project: context, visuality, and poe tic identity. The complexity of these case studies reveals 134

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Dickinsons commitment to blurring boundaries a nd showing alternative possibilities within a space that counters the nonintimate, depersona lizing conventions of print publication. Dickinsons manuscripts lend themselves to supporting both the image of the isolated, safe female genius, and the chaotic, unstudied poet because they problematize the personal. The manuscripts, particularly the fascicles and later fr agments and drafts, are intimate; they seem to address a personal public of oneDickinson herself. Dickinsons letters often have an intended audiencea specific person, an intimate acquaintance to whom Dickinson can confide. And thus the letters are used to fill in the gaps, and to explain the glimpses of a womans naked soul provided by the poems (Pattee 190). Yet the poems are both personal and impersonal; they seem to relate to autobiographical even ts that the reader cannot know; the poems are so powerful, they must be influenced by experience, but what could the experiences have been of this childlike nun of Amherst? The confusion throughout Dick inson criticism is due in part to unfounded biographical accounts, but it is also due to Dickinsons meticulous commitment to nonreferential poetry. Individual poems toy with a readers understanding of lyric poetry, and the body of work more generally toys with the underlying assumptions of public and private communication. As Cristanne Miller argues, D ickinson uses the experience of her life and world to create what [Robert] Weisbuch ha s aptly called a sceneless poetry [in Emily Dickinsons Poetry (1981)]. The poems stem from her life, but they do not point to it; there is no direct reference to a particular act of the poe t or even necessarily to her real voice in the statement or voice of a poem (15). Many critics are not convinced by the ma nuscript school, which is, again, often problematically discussed as though it is a single entity, because we can offer only case studies, which may or may not indicate Dickinsons intentions; they may merely be anomalies that 135

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cannot be used to prove Dickin sons artistic point of view. However, arguments regarding Dickinsons central concerns have been always based in case studies, or close readings of individual poems or groups of poems. Dickinson s view of nature, religion, immortality, poetry, marriage, love, and life has been often assumed via close readings of select poems. Much of this is due to practicalityone can only write about or teach so many poems out of the 1,789. But it is also due to finding poems that prove ones point and ignoring poems that contradict ones point. For example, the difficulty throughout history of pinpointing how Dickinson viewed religion and publication results because numer ous poems inhabit contradictory stances. Dickinsons poems, despite Miller s recognition, are often read as Dickinsons statement on a certain subject. This is not to say that reading to find a statement is thus pointless; rather, it is clear Dickinsons work represen ts complex notions, rather than portraying a singular train of thought. In addition, the manuscripts further complicate Dickins on and ones perception of her as a person and as a poet. Debates continue ab out the most basic aspects of Dickinsons work what is a Dickinson poem? And in order to pa rticipate in these debates, critics often must simplify them, which would account for why the manuscript school becomes singular. But critical inquiry continues to rely on case st udies and close readings, and even if we are arguing very different things, we often arrive at similar conclusions. Don Gilliland, for example, argues for a relation between Dickin sons textual practice and religious point of view. He writes, there is a necessary relationship between Dickinsons religious concerns and her textual practice, and this relationship is the basis for a poetics that synthesizes philosophical materialism and religious transcendence (41).8 To illustrate Dickinsons poetics, Gilliland discusses 8 Gilliland situates his own study within two strands of Dickinson criticismthe manuscript school and those interested in the religious content of the poems (40). He claims that the manuscript sc hool has focused intently on features of Dickinsons ma nuscripts [but] it has not taken sufficie nt account of the abstract notion of what I will refer to as the Poem: that component of artwork that consists in its ideas, apart from the physical materials 136

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three poems that have religious subject matte r (and frequent Christia n allusions) but differing textual origins (44). The fi rst is undated (A word made Flesh Fr1715); the second (Of Paradise existence Fr1421) is dated at about which was after Dickinsons fasciclemaking period; and the last is N o Crowd that has occurred (Fr653) which is found in Fascicle 30 and which I will discuss in detail in the next chapter (47). Although Gillilands interest is linking Dickinsons textual prac tice with her religious point of view, and although I am unconvinced by his discussion of three poems to establish not only Dickin sons religious outlook but also how that outlook influen ces the textual origins of her poetry, our conclusions parallel in an interesting way. Gilliland writes, her poetics consists in a ci rcle that is ever-expandi ng, an unfixed circumference always growing in all directions. Dickinson maintains her devotion to and reverence for human bodily existence and th e manuscript, and at the same time she retains a belief in and sense of awe toward the spirit and the Poem. (55) Despite all the years of morbid mythology, it seems clear Dickinson loved poetry and this most likely extended to a love of being a poetshe had the cultural position and status to have a room of her own, and she embraced the freed om within that space to ever-expand and unfix literary conventions. It seems clear Di ckinson was interested in more than composing traditional lyrics that would speak to a future humanity. Although the image of Winston, who had no audience and no possibility to write except to an internalized sense of humanity, does fit Dickinson in a certain intere sting and enlightening way, she also embraced the opportunities open to her and worked within a complexity that we are only beginning to understand. It would from which it is constructed and reproduced (40). This is an odd claim, since Dickinson is read most often as a writer of the Poem, and readers and scholars have been pr edominantly unconcerned, due at least in part to a lack of access, with the physical materials. And the argument that the manuscr ipt school does not taken sufficient account of the Poem igno res the work of Sharon Cameron, Martha Nell Smith, Alexandra Socarides, Marta Werner, Kristen Kreider, and I am sure many others with whom I am not yet familiar. In addition, Gilliland claims that those who are interested in religious content are not interested in the importance of the textpage, yet this ignores the work of Dorothy Oberhaus (41). 137

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138 not be too much of a stretch to argue that the Circumference pervading her work relates to her puncturing the boundary between public and private. Rather than accept the dichotomy, Dickinson embraced the circularity of discur sive publics to produce a body of work that continually evades category and elucidates the problem of conventional literary and communicative spheres.

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CHAPTER 5 DICKINSONS THIRTIETH FASCICLE The twenty-one poems within Emily Dickinson s Fascicle 30 investigate what John Keats coined Negative Capability, which Keats define s as a capability of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts (L32). We can infer that Dickinsons investigation of Negative Capability stemmed not only from Keatss work s but from what she knew of his life. While Percy Shelley and Barrett Browning defended Keats as a martyr for beauty, the risk of a critical assassination may be one reason behind Dickinsons delay t o publish (L265). Despite Keatss moments of confidence and his fierce ambition to see his work in print, Dickinson would have been aware of the negative consequences. Beside s the harsh critical reviews of Endymion Keats eventually refers to the poem as slip-shod (L90), and his gr and attempts to sustain dream worlds in other poems also fail, represented by the fragments Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion Reading Fascicle 30 in the context of how Keatss works and life exemplify Negative Capability reveals a commitment to ambivalence that Dickins on appreciated in Keats, and yet the fascicle also complicates the simplicity of Beauty is truth, truth beauty (Ode on a Grecian Urn l. 50). My reading of Fascicle 30 revises prior assumptions regarding the influence of Keats on Dickinson. Rather than a Keatsian presence s omewhere in Dickinsons poetry, as Karl Keller claims, or Keats as an anxietyproducing father figure to Dickin son, as Joanne Diehl seems to imagine, Fascicle 30 shows an invested attentiveness to Keatss work and life. Dickinsons most overt referen ce to Keats occurs in Fascic le 21, which moves from the terror-stricken persona of the opening poem to the confident speaker of the last poem (It was given to me by / the Gods [J454, Fr455]), who crows, The Difference made me / bold 139

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(Heginbotham 24).1 About mid-way through Fascicle 21s movement from terror to boldness, we find Dickinsons own Ode on a Grecian Urn (30) in I died for Beauty (Fr448), which argues that Beauty and Truth are One. Fasc icle 30 begins its inve stigation of Negative Capability by embracing the ambivalent beauty i nherent in nature and human experience, yet the concluding poems seem to deny that Beauty is truth, truth b eauty. The fascicles revision of Keats presents the idea th at uncertainties, Mysteries, and doubts can Debase humanity and produce Crucifixion and suffering. While Fascicle 21 incorporates the indistinguishability of Truth and Beauty, Fascicle 30 recognizes that Keats may be able only to assert, not to enact this truth (Vendler 233). Fascicle 30s movement is the opposite of that found in Fascicle 21rather than progressing from a terror-str icken persona to a confident speaker, Fascicle 30 opens with an awe-filled sp ectator at Christs Resurrection and closes with a Sufferer polite, a suffe ring which seems to extend from ear th into heaven. Fascicle 30s arc reveals Dickinsons transition from the absolu te power of poetry, or the notion that Beauty and Truth are One, to the undeniable, bitte r, and often dismal power of experience. 1 In contrast to Fascicle 21s incorporation of severa l authors to support Dickinsons aesthe tic principles, (Heginbotham 5), Ann Swyderski traces the influence of a single author in th e Barrett Browning Fascicles, which are fascicles 26, 29, and 31. According to Franklin, Dickin son recorded the first elegy to Barrett Browning into F26 around the summer of 1863, and the second and third into F29 and F31 about the second half of 1863. F29 and F31 are of the same stationary as Fascicle 30. Dickinsons in terest centers not only on Barrett Brownings work, but on her status as a well-known woman poet. Swyderski sh ows that the Barrett Browning Fascicles record [Dickinsons] evolving relationship with Barrett Browning Dickinson chose to embed these poems [the elegies] in gatherings of other poems which explore her own development as a woman and poet (76-78). For Swyderski, as Dickinson contemplates Barrett Brownings death she is also becoming aware of her own power to assimilate and transform previous texts (89). Thus, while F30 seems to re ject a sustained transcendence within poetry, the fascicle is found amidst Dickinsons (re)discovery of her poetic voi ce as it relates to Barrett Browning. The tension between possibility and failure is F30s central concern and this tension manifests among the fascicles as well. While less than one-third of the forty fascicles have been closely read, it is clear that not every fascicle can be associated with a single author. Other arguments regarding the fascicles as booklets of poetry, aside from Heginbotham and Swyderski, include: Dorothy Huff Oberhauss focus on the fortieth fascicle and its textual relation to the Bible; James Wolhparts focus on Fascicle 22 and the way Dickinson manipulates domestic imagery to subvert cultural norms; William Shurrs reading of all forty fascicles as a single narrative of Dickinsons marriage to the Reverend Wadsworth; Rosenthal and Gall focus on F15 and F16 to argue for a sequential movement, which compares to the modern poetic sequence; and Sharon Cameron discusses the operation of the variants. 140

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In addition, Fascicle 30 explores Keatss presentation of the dream world in Endymion the 4050-line Poetic Romance committed to poetry as an endless fountain of immortal drink (1.24). Endymion meanders his way through multip le realms due to his love for the moon goddess Cynthia, and although he experiences a few obstacles along the way, the poem ends with the two lovers vanishing into the immortal re alm, presumably to spend eternity happily ever after. Fascicle 30 refuses a dreams-do-come-trueending, but the movement of the fascicle links with Keatss correlation between sleep, dreams, and poetry. We can locate this movement as well as the fascicles concern with dreaming th rough the strategic placem ent of the fascicles three dream poems, which appear fourth, eleventh, and fifteenth in the sequence. The fascicle consists of six folded sheets stacked on top of one another. Each dream poem begins its fascicle sheet and articulates a different point of view within the br oader discussion of being in uncertainties. The first dream poem inhabits a positive, peaceful dream world that leads to poetic inspiration. The second reflects a wariness regarding the power of sleep and dreams to offer or renew inspiration. The final dream poem marks a clear separation from the positive power of dreaming in general and fr om the convenient, happy ending of Endymion in particular. Fascicle 30 follows R.W. Franklins renewe d ordering in the 1998 variorum with the interesting exception of Morn ing means Milking (Fr1 91B), which elucidates the fascicles initial correlation betw een dreaming and poetic inspiration.2 According to Franklins 1998 variorum, which ascribes Dickinsons most productive year to 1863, rather than 1862 as 2 Franklin notes that a variant of Fr191 was sent to Sue about 1861 and then copied into F30 about 1863: Although two years apart, the copies probably derived from the same draft, now destroyed (224-225). Poems 630-652, following Franklins numbering with no additions, make up Fascicle 31. Poems 673-679 are in Set I, with 680-699 in Fascicle 32. Franklin re-constructed the fascicles in 1981, and re-numbered the poems 1-1789 in 1998, writing in the 1998 Introduction that The present dating has had an advantage not enjoyed by Poems (1955) in that it was accomplished after the reconstruction of the fascicles th e fascicles and sets, containi ng about two thirds of the poems, have been a sturdier base upon which to study handwriting and assign dates than a series of individual manuscripts The dating is of documents, not necessarily of the composition of poems (38-39). Documenting exactly when Dickinson transcribed poems into a certain fascicle is also difficult to determine. 141

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has been previously thought, Dickinson compile d Fascicle 30 about the second half of 1863, and this date revises the about 1862 designation in Franklins Manuscript Books Dickinsons placement of poems reflects a sequence that inve stigates the relation between human suffering and beauty, and I provide the fascicle order here for a cursory look at the fascicles logic: No Crowd that has occurred (Fr653) Beauty be not caused It is (Fr654) He parts Himself like Leaves (Fr655) I started Early Took my Dog (Fr656) Morning means Milking to the Farmer (Fr191B) Endow the Living with the Tears (Fr657B) Tis true They shut me in the Cold (Fr658) The Province of the Saved (Fr659) I took my Power in my Hand (Fr660) Some such Butterfly be seen (Fr661) I had no Cause to be awake (Fr662) I fear a Man of frugal Speech (Fr663) Rehearsal to Ourselves (Fr664) The Martyr Poets did not tell (Fr665) I cross till I am weary (Fr666) Answer July (Fr667) There is a Shame of Nobleness (Fr668) An ignorance a Sunset (Fr669) One Crucifixion is recorded only (Fr670) The Sweetest Heresy received (Fr671) Take Your Heaven further on (Fr672) We can be sure of Dickinsons familiarity with Keats, although I have not located specific historical evidence regarding how she felt in particular about th e works I am associating with Fascicle 30 here.3 However, Dickinsons creation of a Keat sian fascicle coincides with essays in 3 Joanne Diehl reports that no copy of Keatss poems belonging to Dickinson has been found, but the Dickinson family owned Charles A Danas Household Book of Verse (1860) and Robert Chambers Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1853), both of which contained several of Keatss poems. Also, the Northampton Library had an 1848 edition of Lord Houghtons Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats (Diehl 113 n98). While Houghtons volume contains a limited amount of Literary Remains, Houghton (or Richard Monckton Milnes) quite extensively discusses Keatss works, including poems published in the little volume of 1817 (21). The 1817 edition contained Sleep and Poetry as well as Endymi on, which is how Keats referred to I stood Tip-Toe while he was writing it (see Stillinger 425-426). I am s till uncertain about Dickinsons access to the completed Endymion which was published as its own volume in 1818 although Houghton outlin es Keatss progress of Endymion through the inclusion of pivotal letters on the subj ect (see 41-91 and 142-146). While multiple studies have contextualized Dickinson within Anglo-American Romanticism, specific co rrelations to Keats have often been overlooked. When connections are drawn, they are read as adversarial, as Diehl argue s, or vague, as Richard 142

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the Atlantic Monthly that center on Keatss life and works. Dickinson writes to Higginson on April 25, 1862, You inquire my Books For Poets I have Keats and Mr and Mrs Browning (L261).4 Higginsons Letter to a Young Contributor, which appeared in the April 1862 edition of the Atlantic Monthly inspires Dickinsons initial letter to him, and she perhaps lists Keats first in this second letter because Higginsons essa y discloses his high rega rd for Keats: Keats himself has left behind him winged wonders of expression which are not surpassed by Shakspeare [sic], or by any one else who ever dared touch the English tongue (403). Higginson also refers to Keats as the stock victim of critical assassination, though the charge does him utter injustice (407) In the April 18 63 edition of the Atlantic Monthly, Joseph Severns article, On the Vicissitudes of Keatss Fame, r eaffirms Higginsons portrayal of Keatss assassination: the Review [ Quarterly Review ] which, through its false and malicious criticisms had always been considered to have caused the death of Keats (406). Higginsons and Severns description of Keat ss critical assassination refers to the legend initiated by Percy Shelleys An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, Author of Endymion, Hyperion, Etc, Brantleys sporadic correlations indicate. For an entry point into Dickinsons relation to the Romantic/Transcendental tradition, see: Diehls Women Poets and the American Sublime ; Evan Cartons The Rhetoric of American Romance ; Shira Woloskys Dickinsons Emerson: A Critique of American Identity; Glauco Cambons Emily Dickinson and the Crisis of Self-relia nce; Laura Gribbins Emily Dickinsons Circumference: Figuring a Blind Spot in the Romantic Tradition; and Nancy Mayers Finding Herself Alone: Emily Dickinson, Victorian Women Novelists, and the Female Subject.4 After the 1862 letter to Higginson, no mention of Keats appears in the letters until September 1885. The letter asks Forrest Emerson for any information regarding the circumstances of Helen Hunt Jacksons death, and Dickinson exclaims, Oh had that Keats a Severn (L1018). Dickinson seems to recall Joseph Severns essay, On the Vicissitudes of Keatss Fame, which appeared in the April 1863 edition of the Atlantic Monthly Dickinson wishes to know the details of Jacksons lifes close as thoroughly as Severn could recount Keatss final hours. L1034 contains the last mention of Keats, written to the Norc ross cousins about March 1886. Johnson notes that L1034 references Endymion although the lines quoted are not exact to K eatss text: Was your winter a tender shelter perhaps like Keatss bird, and hops and hops in little journeys? In The Atlantic Monthly (September 1862), Higginsons essay, The Life of Birds, quotes Keatss Endymion: If an innocent bird / Before my heedless footsteps / stirred and / stirred / In little journeys (374; italics in original). The italics are not present and the line breaks are different in Keatss 1818 publication of Endymion Book I, lines 698-700. The lines in Dickinsons letter, therefore, could be from Higginsons essay, and thus the letter does not prove Dickinsons familiarity with Endymion although Dickinson appears to be quoting the line from memory over twenty years after the appearance of Higginsons essay. While the references to Keats are sparse, the gap in time may reflect Dickinsons memorization of, or at least a sustained intere st in, the details of Keatss life and works. 143

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which attributes Keatss early d eath to the brutal criticism of Endymion The most scathing reviews were anonymous and Shelley portrays the noteless blot on a remembered name as the deaf and viperous murderer who gave Our Adonais poison (ll. 316-317).5 Elizabeth Barrett Browning reinforces the legend when she de scribes Keats in A Vision of Poets as the real / Adonis (ll. 407-408). The Atlantic Monthlys introductory note to Severns article provides an excerpt from the Preface to Adonais, which Shelley wrote in 1821 for readers unfamiliar with Severn. Shelley writes, May the unextinguished spirit of his illustrious friend [Keats] animate the creations of his [Severn s] pencil, and plead ag ainst oblivion for his [Keatss] name! (401). These various sources indicate Dickinson may have imagined Keats as a poet killed by what others thought of his work. Fascicle 30s opening poems investigate Trut h and Beauty, yet the ideas are explored separately, indicating from the be ginning of the fascicle that B eauty is truth, truth beauty represents too simple a statement for Dickinson. The first poem explores the sublimity of Truth as the speaker imagines the General Attendance of Res urrection and witnesses the impossible: The long restricted Grave / Assert her Vital Privilege / The Dust connect and live The poem concretizes the Mysteries of the afterlife by acting as a witness for Christs Resurrection. The poem makes this awesome event real, yet the speakers reaction is to question What Parallel can be / Of the Significance of This / To Universe and Me? Dickinsons translation of Negative Capability, here rooted in Chri stian doctrine rather than the Greek myth that captivates Keats, stems from the requirement that one must trust the divine Word: For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, 5 Stillinger notes, though friends admired and defended th e poem, the principal contemporary reviews were unfavorable (432). For exam ple, the reviewer for the Quarterly Review writes, this author is a copyist of Mr. Hunt; but he is more unintelligible, almost as rugged, twice as diffuse, and ten times more tiresome and absurd than his prototype (Wolfson 204). 144

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neither hath the eye s een, O God, besides thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him (Isaiah 64:4). Eternity encompasses fear an d awe rather than understa nding. In the face of such sublimity, the Significance of any other ev ent in the Universe may pale in comparison. One way of finding significance on earth is by witnessing beauty and embracing the fact that it is Beauty that must die (Ode on Mela ncholy l.21). If we read Keatss odes as different attempts to discover, define, and apprecia te art, such as the suffering narrators yearning for the fleeting nightingales music or the human-f ashioned beauty of the Grecian Urn, then To Autumn represents Keatss conclusion that nature, like life, is beautiful because it must die. Poetry, however, acts as an immortalizer of beauty. Death and autumn can compete with rebirth, or the songs of spring (l.23), because the impending desolation colors the soft-dying day and the stubble-plains with a rosy hue (ll. 25-26). The inevitability of death renders life precious, and the progre ss of time can be stopped only (if at all) by art. Although the ode symbolizes death, Keatss poetic defense of autu mns beauty arises from an actual account: How beautiful the season is now I never lik d stubble-fields so much as now Aye better than the chilly green of the Sp ring. Somehow a stubble-pl ain looks warm This struck me so much in my Sundays walk that I composed upon it (L151). In Fascicle 30, Dickinson extrapolates beauty from truth and translat es Negative Capability into the permanent impermanence of natures beauty: Beauty be no t caused It Is / Chase it, and it ceases / Chase it not, and it abides (Fr654). The poem indicates that b eauty is, and that one should not chase it; one can only view beauty without trying to contain or capture it. The poems opening argument is followed by an example from nature: Overtake the Creases In the Meadow when the Wind Runs his fingers thro it Deity will see to it 145

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That You never do it While this poem addresses Beauty6, the use of it in the second st anza requires a reader to fill in the blanks. Thus, I read the second stanza as arguing, when the Wind / Runs his fingers thro [the Meadow] / Deity will see to it / That Y ou never do [Overtake the Creases]. The poem observes the beauty of wind blowing through a mea dow, and uses the inability to overtake the creases as proof that one should only observe b eauty, since it abides only if you Chase it not. Dickinson embraces Negative Capability through her portraits of poetrys debt to natures inspiration and her utilization of nature as a central metaphor to explore the significance of suffering. For Dickinson and Keats, suffering can result in something positive, such as poetic inspiration or an appreciation of imperman ence. Sometimes, however, suffering leads to nothing. Fascicle 30 begins with the positive. The fascicles third poem describes a butterfly, which according to Keats is one of natures l uxuries in which a poe t can indulge at large (Sleep and Poetry l. 343). Dickinsons poem (Fr655) follows the actions of a butterfly: He parts Himself like Leaves Then stands upon the Bonnet Of Any Buttercup And then He runs against And oversets a Rose And then does Nothing Then away upon a Jib He goes 6 The variant for the first line, as found in Franklins Manuscript Books reads: Beauty is not caused It Is. Beauty be not caused, despite the alliteration, forces one to pause in between the first and second word for a moment longer than signified by the dash. When read aloud, the stumbling that one does over the repetition of the bs makes the poem seem a direct address to Beauty, rather than merely about Beauty, as is the case with Beauty is not caused, which one can say more fluidly. I find Beauty be not caused to be more powerful and confident, yet the line is also separated from the rest, since the fo llowing lines are about Beauty However, the confident, command-like tone established by Beauty be not caused is continued throughout the rest of the poem. Dickinsons use of Deity may be primarily alliterative, rather than intended to invoke images of gods and goddesses, yet Dickinson only uses th e term Deity twenty-two times, while God appears one hundred and thirty times (Rosenbaum 867 and 865, respectively). According to A Concordance to the Poems of John Keats Keats does not use the term Deity, while God appears sixty-on e times, Gods forty-four, an d Goddess thirty (Becker 647). 146

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This poem also initiates the fascicles concer n with sleep and dreams. Keatss Sleep and Poetry describes the restorative power of slee p, a power Keats argues is comparable to and necessary for poetry. Sleep and Poetry introdu ces the butterfly, with golden wings broad parted, / Nestling a rose, convulsd as though it smarted / With over pleasure (ll.343-347), and this golden butterfly retu rns to play a role in Endymion. Dickinsons speaker wonders What come of Him at Night but The privilege to say / Be limited by Ignorance The narrator also imagines the butterflys movements far be yond the possible: he d angles like a Mote / Suspended in the Noon / Uncertain to return Below / Or settle in the Moon Despite the impermanence of natures creatures, the work of the poet consists of observation and storage: many, many more, / Might I indulg e at large in all my store / Of luxuries (Sleep and Poetry, ll. 345-347). The conclusion of He parts Himself like Leaves alludes to death in a way similar to To Autumn. Dickinsons revision, however, denies Keatss subtle symbolism and makes the allusion explicit: The Frost possess the World / In Cabinets be shown / A Sepulchre of quaintest Floss / An Abbey a Cocoon A Frost capable of possessing the World seems symbolic as well as descriptivewhile Ke atss ode implies the impending Frost, it is powerful enough to possess the World in Dickins ons. This powerful of a Frost, however, refers to more than just wi nter, and I picture an escape fr om a cold, uncaring world In Cabinets. A cabinet in Dickinso ns lexicon as well as in the Oxford English Dictionary indicates a little cabin, room, repository, a nd these Cabinets become, depending on the person or situation, A Sepulchre, An Abbey, or a Cocoon.7 While the final term returns 7 In Noah Websters 1844 An American Dictionary of the English Language the first entry for CAB'IN-ET is: A closet; a small room, or retired apartment. Bacon. ( http://edl.byu.edu/webster/c/2 ) According to Dickinsons Lexicon cabinet (-s) refers to a: Bower; tiny cottage; little summer house; small dwe lling place; [fig.] cocoon; metamorphosis sack. 147

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us to the butterflys image, the stanza as a whole addresses human experiencewhen negative experiences envelope our World, we may feel entombed or may decide to cloister ourselves forever in An Abbey, which may or may not be capable of staving off future pain, but The Frost can also transform; a Cocoon, after a ll, is only temporary, and one emerges from it a butterfly. In other words, painful experiences can be beneficial, an integral aspect of Negative Capability and a theme which appears in five additional Fascicle 30 poems.8 Wing imagery in Keats is quite prevalent, such as the viewless wings of Poesy (Ode to a Nightingale, l. 33) or Wings being necessary to find out an immortality (Sleep and Poetry, l.84), although we find sp arse mention of butterflies with in Keatss winged wonders of expression. Dickinsons reliance on the butterfly, as well as othe r flying creature s such as the bee and the bird, exhibits a captivation with these small, easily-missed objects of natures beauty. Dickinson depends upon these creatu res to guide her poetry more so than Keats, who often uses the sublime characters, symbols, and stories of Greek myth. In Endymion however, A golden butterfly (2.61) plays an integral role by lead ing Endymion into a world of sleepy twilight dreams (2.73).9 Reminiscent of Endymion following t he merry-winged guide (2.83) into a Cell; closet; small room; private apartment; display case; storage cupboard; box with doors; chest with drawers; [fig.] tomb; niche; shrine; reliquary; repository; tabernacle. ( http://edl.byu.edu/lexicon/c ) 8 For example, Heginbotham writes that Fascicle 8, although the opening poem is about a wounded deer, begins with the blunt announcement abou t the energizing power of pain As we observed in the progression of stories and images in Fascicle 21, this fascicle, too, is about sel f-identification. In different ways but no less powerfully by the end of the twenty-poem sequence we have witnessed something like a transformation of the observed wounded victim of the first poem to the confident poet/persona of the last (50). The five Fascicle 30 poems which I read as contemplating positive results from pain or negative experiences are: Endow the Living with the Tears, Tis true They shut me in the Cold, and The Province of the Saved, which are the fascicles sixth, seventh, and eighth poems; and the thirteenth and fourteenth poems, R ehearsal to Ourselves and The Martyr Poets did not tell. The fascicle also contains poems centered on the darkness of human experience without indicating a positive result, such as I took my Power in my Hand, There is a Shame of Nobleness, and An ignorance a Sunset.9 Dickinson uses the term Butterfly in twenty-six poems; the term Butterflys in two; and Butterflies in sixteen additional poems (Rosenbaum 115). In Keats, But terflies appears in To the Ladies and Jealousies, and in three lines of Endymion (1.258, 1.765, and 4.952); Butte rfly is in line 343 of Sleep and Poetry and in two lines of Endymion (2.61 and 4.937; see Becker 75). The Butterfly appears quite often in the early fascicles, (F1 and F2 as well as F5, F6, F7, and F8), and then in later fascicles (F25, F27, F29, F34, F38, F39, and F40). A few of 148

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realm Where there was never a sound of mort al men (2.78), we are lead by Dickinsons creature that parts Himself like Leaves into a dream world by the sea, which is described in the fascicles fourth poem, I started Early Took my Dog (Fr656). Although I started Early has been interpreted in a number of ways,10 the first word of the subsequent poem in the fascicle, Morning (Fr191B), substantiates the reading of it as a dream. Dickinsons I started Early mentions that no Man moved Me till the Tide / Went past my simple Shoe And He He followed close behind / I felt His S ilver Heel / Opon my Ancle Then My Shoes / these poems observe the butterfly or the life-cycle of the butterfly in a way similar to F30s poems: Fr142, Fr171, Fr571B, and Fr610. The only butterfly poem that leads us into night (and almo st into a dream world) takes place in Fascicle 29. Fr610 opens the fascicle with, From Cocoon forth a Butterfly Emerged a Summer Afternoon The poem trails the butterfly throug h its purposeless Circumference until Sundown crept And Afternoon and Butterfly / Extinguished in the Sea F29s seco nd poem portrays a male speaker who seems to have lost his bride: Her sweet Weight on my Heart a Night / Ha d scarcely deigned to lie / When, stirring, for Beliefs delight, / My Bride had slipped away (Fr611). The second stanza muddies further what happened on that night: If twas a Dream made solid just / The Heaven to confirm / Or if Myself were dreamed of Her When the poem concludes, it remains difficult to designate what is re al and what may be a dream, and apparently The power to presume what is real or not rema ins With Him who unto Me / Gave even as to All The poems close seems to indicate a concern with faith, rather than being a dream world filled with poe tic inspiration: A Fiction superseding Faith / By so much as twas real One could read this, however, as concerned with how one deals with the Fiction of heaven while one is on earth. The speaker remains unclear if his bride was only a Dream made solid to confirm the existence of Heaven or if his bride dreamed up him. Again, the power ultimately remains With Him who Gave us All, which brings to mind the omnipotent power of God, and yet A Fiction is powerful enough to supersede Faith / By so much that the fiction, rather than the faith, becomes real. While others have read the speaker of this poem as male, Ann Swyderski reads it in relation to Barrett Browning: Within the fascicle context, therefore, it seems safe to conjectur e that both speaker and bride in Her sweet Weight on my Heart a Night are female; Dickinson is recording her in itial awakening to Barrett Browning and the potential of poetry (85). Swyderskis use of the term awakening here is interestingalthough her discussion centers on Barrett Browning, we find in F30, especially in the butterfly/dream world sequences, investigations of an awakening to the potential of poetry, and an overa ll focus on poetrys possibilities versus experience. For Swyderskis reading of F29, see pages 84-89. 10 Yvor Winters argues that The sea is here the traditional sy mbol of death (Davis 86); Kate Flores suggests it is a study in fear, fear of love, of which the sea is here the symbol (87); Laurence Perrine believes, The poet is describing a morning walk to the sea real or imaginary (88); Eric Carlson sees the poem as a dramatization of the frightening realization that toying with love may arouse a tide of emotion too powerful to control (89). John Cody chooses this poem as an example of Dickinsons awareness that unless one kept ones guard up the unconscious was likely to trespass (F erlazzo 158). Cristanne Miller writes th at The speakers tale becomes a sexual fantasyrepeated either in her imagining of what it would be like to walk by what she sees as a masculine and therefore dangerous sea, or in her imagination as she in fact walks by the sea, or in her metaphorical representation of real dealings with the world of men (Farr 185). Susan Anderson reads the poem in terms of power relations: The mouse as persona in poem 520 [Fr656], though, does not derive from the female speaker's own identification with the figure but from other figures in th e poem who assume that she is a mouse. This speaker's perceived insignificance, however, becomes her means to power. Those who believe she is a mouse naturally assume her to be mousy, but she proves these presumptions false (90). 149

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Would overflow with Pearl Dickinson refers in a few letters to her books as pearls,11 and overflowing with Pearl in the poem could be r ead as creative inspiration within the dream. Cristanne Miller observes, the sudden introduction of the conditional Would [implies that] what seemed a single action in the past now seem s to be a hypothetical or a customary, repeated action (Farr 185). Although Miller does not read the poem as a drea m or as literary inspiration, her observation that the overflow of Pearl could be a repeated action coincides with creative influence. Dickinsons elegies reflect he r close association with female authors, and the claim that no Man moved Me could refer to inspiration gained from women writers.12 The poem shows a narrator by the sea and then suddenly in the sea, a nd the dream could have lead to a Morning filled with poetic inspiration. Although other scholars read this poem as nightmarish or symbolic of deep-seated fear, I prefer Keatss correlation between the Sea and being unafraid to take poetic ri sks, and Dickinson could have seen this correlation in Lord Houghtons Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats (145): In Endymion, I leaped headlong into the Sea, and thereby have b ecome better acquainted with the Soundings, the quicksands, & the rocks, than if I had stayed upon the green shore, and piped a silly pipe, and took tea & comfortable advice (L90). I started begins a new fascicle sheet and takes up both sides of the page. The open fascicle displays the end of the dream on the left and as we leave that world, just as the Sea 11 L162: I look in my casket and miss a pearl Johnso n sees the line as perhaps a reminder that Emmons still has not returned the book which ED lent him (295). 12 Dickinson wrote three elegies for Elizabeth Barrett Browni ng, one for George Eliot, and one for Charlotte Bronte, and refers to Emily Bronte as gigantic (L267). The connection could also be to Sue. Hart and Smith argue in Open Me Carefully that Dickinsons letters and letter-poems to Sue reveal a passionate and sustained attachment between Dickinson and the beloved friend who was her central source of inspiration, love, and intellectual and poetic discourse (XI). Smith and Hart, as well as other scholars, conclude that Dickinsons love for Sue went beyond nineteenth-century demarcations of friendship and sisterhood: Though Emilys feelings of love, desire, and longing for Susan have often been dismissed as a school-girl cr ush, the letters resonate with intelligence, humor, and intimacy that cannot be reduce d to adolescent flurry (6) 150

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Withdrew we find on the right in two neat, di stinct stanzas with no variants, Morning means Milking to the Farmer (Fr191B). This linguistic study centered on Morning substantiates for me the dream-poem status of I started Early. Just as the morning light in Keatss Sleep and Poetry brings about a narrator refreshd, and glad, and gay, / Resolving to begin that very day the poem itself (ll.399-402), Dick insons movement out of the dream world lands us in a poetic investigati on, the concision of which overpow ers the four hundred plus lines it takes Keatss narrator to find the out-spread wings and The face of Poesy (Sleep and Poetry, ll. 393-394). Dickin sons two quatrains explain how the significance of Morning alters according to the person and the situation. The first stanza centers on meaning, such as morning means Dice to the Maid while the second stanza highlights time, as in the Epicures date a Breakfast by it What is surprising, especially following a rather mundane opening about Morning meaning work, is that Morning means just Risk to the Lover / Just Revelation to the Beloved Dickinsons inclusion he re of a cheating couple could indicate that a Lover being revealed to the Beloved is a common occurrence; that the revealing light of Morning provides the Risk and the excitement for one and the heartbreak for the other. I started Early presents a dream world imbued with eroticism, an inherent feature as well of Endymion and Dickinsons linguistic inves tigation subtly fosters in the consequences of Thirst[ing] for another love ( Endymion 4.87). While Cynthias song to Endymion relays the folly of an enamourd br ide / Cheated by Bacchus, the shadowy wooer from the clouds (4.189-190), Dickinsons poem high lights the Risk of marriage, or of being the wife forgotten (L93), which could explain why Mor ning represents an Apocalypse for Brides. The apocalyptic facet of marriage arti culated here represents an aspect of human experience that Dickinson expounds in the fascicles closing pair of poems. 151

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As in He parts Himself like Leaves (F r655), which opens simply yet ultimately asserts that negative experiences can be beneficial, Morning means Milking appears at first to only investigate Morning. The clos ing line, however, seems to comment on Faith, which, according to the formula of the second stan za, dates The Experiment of Our Lord by morning. How to interpret this line represents a difficulty: what is The Experiment of Our Lord, and how does Faith date this Experiment by morning? Perhaps human existence is the experiment; thus, Faith dates life by morning and Faith is measured through the succession of mornings, the passing by of life. Th e final lines postulation of how faith and life are related to morning could be a reference to th e endless movement of time. No matter what happens to humans, or no matter what those on earth experience during this Experiment, morning will always arrive. The possibility of endless tomorrows, with night the only reprieve from Sighing for those experiencing Faint-going lives (or snail-paced lives as Endymion s narrator/poet describes it), reveals a fact of nature (the sun will always rise tomorrow) that can be comforting, but may be arduously banal (4.25). This reality of the gloomy days / Of all the unhealthy and oer-darkened ways elaborates why Keats offers beauty in nature, Such the sun, the moon, / Trees old, and young sprouting a shady boon / For simple sheep, and in poetry, All lovely tales that we have hear d or read: / An endless fountain of immortal drink, / Pouring unto us from the heavens brink ( Endymion 1.13-15 and 1.22-24). Dickinsons poem relies again upon imagery from Christian doctrine to embrace Negative Capability, but the embracement here frustrates the reader since we must remain in uncertainties regarding the poems final argument. Is Faith in The Experiment of Our Lord th e recommendation, or is Faith the Experiment? Since faith can be defined as belief without proof, the poem explicates Negative Capability and performs it: we cannot be certain, but we relish the doubts we have as readers 152

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nonetheless. Similarly, those who believe in th e promises of Our Lord must do so without reaching after fact and reason (Keats L32). Dickinsons poem performs the meta-poetic qualities that can be found in the Negative Capability of Faith. Keatss exploration of Negative Capability, of when ma n is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, often becomes meta-poetic, which we can see in the final line of Morning means Milking. The basis of Keatss idea, however, is human experience and Dickinson explores this aspect in the fascicle s next three poems, wh ich explain how negative experiences can be utilized in pos itive ways. Death, for example, teaches us that the Living should be the objects of our Cherishing and to squander our Tears on the Dead insults the Men and Women who are n ow, / Around Your Fireside. Lifes unpredictability, rather than being a source of despair and fear, should force us to value what is in front of us, since we never know when we may lose something we cherish. The sixth poem, Tis true They shut me in the Cold (Fr658), explores a self in is olation from others, yet th e narrator can withstand the pain of that isolation as well as forgive the ones who caused the Harm. In contrast to the narrator in the Cold, Themselves were warm / And could not know the feeling twas The narrator asks the Lord to Forget it and to Let not my Witness hinder Them / In Heavenly esteem The final stanza reads: The Harm They did was short And since Myself who bore it do Forgive Them Even as Myself Or else forgive not me The narrator can be so forgiving, and ordering Christ to be forgiving as well, because she realizes the difficulty of understanding a situation one has not experienced. Inside warm, and together, They could not know the feeling of the Cold, and this reliance on experience appears in the next poem: 153

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The Province of the Saved Should be the Art To save Through Skill obtained in Themselves The Science of the Grave The opening stanza argues that those who are Sav ed should be the ones to save others, and this process is an Art as well as a Science. Those who understand The Science of the Grave should turn this knowledge into an Art To save. The poem moves a statement about The Province of the Saved to experience: No Man can understand But He that hath endured The Dissolution in Himself That Man be qualified To qualify Despair To Those who failing new Mistake Defeat for Death Each time Till acclimated to The final stanza presents the possibility that T he Science of the Grave is not necessarily Death. The poem observes the immortal and the human sphere: the one who has endured is qualified / To qualify Despair / To Those who are not yet acclimated to Defeat. This Defeat is on earth, however, since the teacher is teaching those who Mistake Defeat for Death. The poems conclusion is about life rather than death, and those on earth who understand The Science of the Grave as well as how To qualify Despair should teach others that Defeat is not Death. However, in order to learn or teach, one must become acclimated to defeat. The final line could also refer to de ath, meaning that one has to deal with defeat in life while also becoming acclimated to the inevitability of death. The reference to defeat and death relates the last stanza back to the first, indicating that The Provi nce of the Saved could allude to Christs sacrifice to save humanity. Although not exp licit, the poem may be concerned with the Art of Christ, esp ecially since Tis True, the preceding poem in the fascicle, 154

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addresses the Lord. One could interpret Christ as the only one who can obtain the Skill and The Science of the Grave and come back to use his Art To save on earth. Despite the too-happy conclusion to Endymion, the poem somewhat encompasses Negative Capability by portraying labor as an integral aspect of beauty. The poem opens with the statement that A thing of beauty is a joy forever, yet in order to witness this beauty, on every morrow we must wreath A flowery ba nd to bind us to the earth (1.6-7). For Keats and Dickinson, the labor can be worth it. For Dickinson, Art can save. For Endymions speaker, in Spite of despondence and t he unhealthy and oer-darkened wa ys of the earth, in spite of all, / Some shape of beauty moves away the pa ll / From our dark spirits (1.8-13). However, sometimes the Power of beauty and poetry fails which is one way of reading Dickinsons I took my Power in my Hand When the fascicle is open, one finds The Province of the Saved on the left and I took my Power in my Hand on the right. Both use images from Christian discourse and both explore Defeat, yet the bo ld narrator on the right utilizes an un-named Power to go against the World, which contrasts with the specific Art to save on the left. Read in isolation, the poem is typically associated with Dickinsons poetic aspirations: I aimed my Pebble but Myself / Was all the one that fell / Was it Goliah was too large / Or was myself too small?13 While the fascicles poems thus far have reflected upon the positive side to painful or negative experiences, I took my Power in my Hand describes a failure in which nothing positive, or even conclusive, result s. Sometimes, the World just wins. Dickinson may have ascertained the potential (negative) Power of the World from what she knew of Keatss legend. Keatss lett ers reflect moments of confidence, such as I 13 In regards to I took my Power in my Hand, Capps writes that Dickinson uses the story of David and Goliath to warn against ill-considered aspirations, and, in the role of David, Emily loses (38-39). Adrienne Rich reads The Province of the Saved as an example of the poets relationship to her poetry (Ferlazzo 194). 155

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was never afraid of failure; for I would sooner fa il than not be among the greatest (L90) or I think I shall be among the Englis h Poets after my death (L94), but Keats knows his imagination can fail: the slip-shod Endymion is no fault of mine It is as good as I had power to make it by myself. Had I been nervous about its be ing a perfect piece, & w ith that view asked advice, & trembled over every page it would not have been writte n (L90). Keatss ambition to see Endymion in print belies any concern for criticism. Rather than ask advice, & tremble over every page, Keats just writes to see it in printI am anxious to get Endymion printed that I may forget it and proceed (L51). Keats needs the poem to be printed in order for it to be finished, and he needs to finish it in order to progress as a poet. If Dickinson did read Lord Houghtons Life, Letters, and Literary Remains then she would have been made aware of Keatss writing proces s with regard to Endymion including the above st atement showing Keatss need to get Endymion printed (81). Lord Houghtons detailed Life and Letters section includes Shelleys stanzas from Adonais, where the anonymous slanderer is shown to be the viperous murderer (144), as well as lines from Lord Byrons Don Juan, which claims that Keats was killd off by one cri tique (140). The section also in cludes the letter in which Keats describes Endymion as slip-shod (145). Dickinson may have envisioned Keats as the stock victim of the reviews of the s lip-shod poem. In contrast to what Dickinson deduced from these accounts of Keatss legac y, Dickinsons delay to publish appears to have allowed her to compose and create without striving to be fin ished in (and perhap s by) print. Rather, Dickinsons workshop indicates a sustained, continuous effort to perfect her craft without the concern of critical assassination. Although a mysterious defeat at the hands of the World rings of dismay, one turns the page to find beauty renewed through the observa tion of Some such Butterfly be seen / On 156

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Brazilian Pampas (Fr661). The poem reiterates natures fleeting beauty and again the merrywinged guide leads us into the world of sleep an d dreams. However, since I had no Cause to be awake / My Best was gone to sleep (Fr662) does not desc ribe an actual dream, the poem seems to investigate the restorative power of sleep, which Keats portrays as powerful and necessary for poetic inspiration: yet I must not forget / Sleep quiet with his poppy coronet: / For what there may be worthy in these rhymes / I partly owe to him (Sleep and Poetry, ll. 347-350). Dickinsons revision, howe ver, shows sleep to not always work since the narrator in I had no Cause wakes up to writers block. This awakening contrasts with the fascicles earlier sequence of I started Early leading into the contemplation of Morning, as well as with Keatss Sleep and Poetry narrat or arising and Resolvi ng to begin that very day / These lines (ll. 402-403). In Morning means Milking, the term Morning focuses a linguistic investigation, and here the narrat or asks Sweet Morning to R ecollect to Me The poem recalls a moment, perhaps of previous inspirat ion, where Twas such an Ample Peace / It could not hold a Sigh / Twas Sabbath with th e Bells divorced / Twas Sunset all the Day The poems description of such a beautiful Circumstance utilizes diction present in other Fascicle 30 poems: finding Peace foreshadows the e nding line of The Martyr Poets (Fr664) where Some seek in Art the Art of Peace and the Sunset is discussed towards the fascicles close, although in a very different lig ht than here, in An ignorance a Sunset / Confer opon the Eye (Fr669). The narrators wishful ness to return to Circumstance the same causes her to choose but a Gown / And taking but a Prayer / The Only Raiment I should need / I struggled and was There The en ding stanza could mean se veral things, such as the narrator returns via her imagination to the previous Circumstance; the writers block ends through the narrators struggle, and she is agai n able to find an Ample Peace through literary 157

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production or inspiration; or, sin ce she still had no Cause to be awake, the narrator simply returns to sleep. While I had no Cause may reflect Dickins ons wariness regarding Keatss commitment to the power of sleep, the fascicles next thr ee poems render plausible a reading of I had no Cause as a re-discovery of poe tic ability. I fear a Man of frugal speech (Fr663) contemplates the difference between a Haranguer or Babbler and He who weigheth before he speaks. The narrator is wary of the man who thinks before he speaks, since I fear that He is Grand While hundreds of Dickinsons poems consist of only two quatrains, the fascicles three dream poems consist of at least twenty li nes, while all three poems following Dickinsons I had no Cause contain eight lines. The spar se use of words to produce complicated ideas within each poem performs what I fear a Man of frugal sp eech argues, and Dickinsons concision clearly revises Keatss position that a long Poem is a test of Invention which I take to be the Polar Star of Poetry (L25).14 Following I fear is Reh earsal to Ourselves, a poem which investigates the power of memory, even (or most especially) painful memories: a Withdrawn Delight / Affords a B liss like Murder / We will not drop the Dirk / Because We love the Wound (Fr664). The meta-poetic factor inherent in K eatss understanding of Negative Capability, where a poem may be the only good to arise from the experience of suffering, is echoed in Dickinsons The Martyr Poets (Fr665), which encapsulates the power of frugal speech and a Withdrawn Delight. Pain leads to Art: Poets and Painters produce their Work from their Pang. The poem ar gues that art transcends time and the physical existence of the artist: That when their mortal na me be numb / Their mortal fate encourage 14 Although Dickinson has long been associated with the hymn quatrain, this regularization of Dickinson has been challenged in recent years. See, for example, Martha Nell Smiths Rowing in Eden and Open Me Carefully edited by Ellen Louise Hart and Martha Nell Smith. 158

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Some Dickinsons variant for name in th e third line, fame, li nks the idea to Keatss postulation that Happy he who trus ts / To clear futurity his darling fame! (Sleep and Poetry, ll. 358-359). Dickinsons varian t and Keatss trust in fames futurity reflect confidence in poetry, whether or not one has a recognized morta l name. The poem argue s that arts purpose, for viewer, reader, or artist, should be the Art of Peace and this description revises Keatss claim that the great end / Of Poesy is to b e a friend / To soothe th e cares and lift the thoughts of men (27). Rather than focusing on the poets aim To soothe the cares of apparently male readers, Dickinsons statement encompasses what the artist and the audience seek in art. In my mind, it is not accidental that Dickinson make s Art synonymous with Peace during the Civil War. 15 However, the fascicles third dream poem, wh ich follows The Martyr Poets, rejects the positive side to ambivalence. The previous embracement of the power of sleep, dreams, and poetry is negated as the scale tips too heavily on the side of human suffering. In I cross till I am weary / A Mountain in my mind (Fr666), the object of the na rrators mental quest is never revealed. I cross utilizes aspects of dreaming present in nineteenth-century theories, such as confusing representations of time and geogra phy, and how dreams remain fragmentary and elusive to analysis (F innerty 104). The narrator travels over mountains and through seas, and then / A Desert find By the fifth stanza, the Grace is At last in sight, but the reader of the poem, and perhaps the dreamer as well, does not know what that Grace is, and the narrator never reaches it: I shout unto my feet / They strive and yet delay / They perish Do we die / Or is this Deaths experi ment / Reversed in Victory? The fragmented confusion reminiscent of dreams occu rs in this final stanza. The na rrators feet appear to perish, 15 In fact, Wolosky contextualizes this poem within Dickinsons war poetry (see 125-126). 159

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but the I present throughout the poem suddenly beco mes we. If the feet perish in the dream, but the dream ends before the poem does, then the final lines could be inspired by the dreams images and read as a question regarding human expe rience: if the Grace is merely in sight, then is it unattainable? Do we die on a daily basis if we are just waiting and searching for a Grace that can only be known after death? Inserting life as the Reversed in Victory of Deaths experiment allows the final two lines to be read as the narrator questioning if life is nothing more than a crossing till I am weary / A Mountain in my mind. Dickinson takes up Keatss commitment to P oesy as a counter to the minds Mountain in her interpretation of the Ubi Sunt form, which she portrays on an entire fascicle page without any variants. Dickinsons Ubi Sunt follows I cross and represents one last glimmer of hope, if you will, before the fascicle makes its decisive move into the Shame, Disgrace, and Decay that plague human experience. K eats also uses a version of the Ubi Sunt, which traditionally cues a sense of nostalgia through the use of questions with gon e as the implied answer, in the final stanza of To Autumn: Where are the so ngs of Spring? Ay, wher e are they? / Think not of them, thou hast thy music too (ll. 23-24). While the season of re-birth and renewal is gone, Keatss poem is not nostalgic. Rath er, it celebrates loss and understands the integral role that the stubble-plains of autumn play in the unalterable cycle of seasons. Dickinsons version of the Ubi Sunt takes up Keatss celebration of loss, but focuses on the cyclical movement of seasons to articulate a comfort that can be found within this fact of nature and life on earth. In Dickinsons poem, certain seasons ask where other season s have gone, and the stanzas change as the questioned seasons reply. Dickinsons poem represents the fluidity of the seasons, and the grammatical fluidity that closes the first stanza of To Autumn portrays a similar movement. The fluidity in Dickinsons poem ends with a se nse of containment. De spite the questioning and 160

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answering of different months, the poem answers th at they are all containe d Here within the Year Keatss To Autumn celebrates death because the transience makes nature and human life beautiful, but To Autumn also offers a phi losophical understanding that this is the only real world we have, and Dickinson poi gnantly translates this notion into her Ubi Sunt (Stillinger 477). The seasons are only and always Here on earth; the Year, despite all the fluctuations that will occur in ones life as time passes, will always contain those seasons, and this is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. However, Dickinson does not end the fascicle with this image of natures comforting dependability. Instead, she elaborates upon the idea that life may be nothing more than a crossing till I am weary / A Mountain in my mi nd. The ending of I cross is clarified in Fascicle 30s eighteenth poem, where the narrator contemplat es how nature reveals the inferiority of humans: An ignorance a Sunset / Confer opon the Eye / Of Territory Color / Circumference Decay (Fr669) The Amber Revelation can Exhilirate the viewer of the sunset, yet the Revelation can also Debase since its power highlight s Our inferior face upon the inspection of Omnipotence. Althou gh the fascicle earlier presented the poetic inspiration found in natures be auty, this poem articulates that nature can expose humanitys imperfections, a contrast which Morning m eans Milking associates with morning, as does Endymions narrator/poet: the fresh to-morrow morn / Seem s to give forth its light in very scorn / Of our dull, uninspired, snail-paced lives (4.23-25). The final stanza of An ignorance answers the question posed at the end of I cross : And when the solemn features / Confirm in Victory / We start as if detected / In Immo rtality. Taken together, the two poems seem to discuss human existence. The exasperation in I cross becomes debasement in An ignorance. One can be exhilarated by a Sunset yet natures beauty also re veals the inferiority of humans 161

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solemn features. While on earth, we are deba sed by nature and scrutinized by an omnipotent presence, and the narrators real ization of this reality startles her so completely that she can compare it only to suddenly finding herself in the immortal sphere An ignorance confirms the previous dreamy doubt that her experience is ta king place on earth, and that she is indeed awake. Dickinsons rejection of fa ntasy here contrasts with Endymion s dreams-do-come-true ending, and the fascicles nineteenth poem repr esents her rejection of the divine Word. Dickinsons mistrust of any tran scendent guarantees, such as t hose offered by religious teachings within Dickinsons Amherst as well by Keatss u nderstanding of the poet s ability to create worlds, arises at least in part from the Civ il War. Shira Woloskys study convinces me that Dickinson had several doubts abou t its [the divine words] natu re (137). Wolosky argues that the war made metaphysical enigmas immediat e and pressing for Dickinson, concluding that Dickinson is disturbed that evil should have a ny place whatever in a benevolent pattern. Her criticism is directed toward the experience of suffering at every le vel and questions its justification even by so great a good as salvation itself (67).16 In contrast to the fascicles first poem, the fascicles nineteenth poem, One Crucifixion is recorded only (Fr671), portrays a narrator who lacks any awe for this One Crucifixion. The narra tor implies that the One is the only one recorded, but there may be more: H ow many be / Is not a ffirmed of Mathematics / Or History One cannot find records of other crucifixions in history or in mathematics, yet the narrator knows Theres ne wer nearer Crucifixion / Th an That The narrators awareness of more recent and more close-to-hom e crucifixions presumably stems from personal experience since history and math provide no hel p. The sublimity described in the opening poem 16 Since Woloskys landmark study in 1984, Dickinson scholarship has continued to problematize the long-held assumption that Dickinson was the poet of privacy. For an overview of re-evaluations regarding Dickinson and the Civil War, see Faith Barretts Public Selves and Private Spheres: Studies of Emily Dickinson and the Civil War, 1984-2007. 162

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is gone, and this experience-wise speaker dismi sses the idea that Christs Crucifixion should be the only one recorded. In stark contrast to the world we are left with at Endymion s close, the fascicles final pair of poems exemplifies Dickinsons understandi ng of Negative Capability, which she focuses on an earthly institution sanctified by heaven: marriage. The final lines of One Crucifixion spill over onto the next fascicle page, which contai ns The Sweetest Here sy received (Fr670), allowing the statement, Theres newer nearer / Crucifixion / Than that to be quickly appeased by a Faith that can accommodate but Two. Karl Keller reads The Sweetest Heresy as Dickinsons agreement with the Puritan arrangements for man and woman, where marriage is a sufficient religion (27). The poem argues that The Ritual of marriage is so small and The Grace so unavoidable that To fail is Infidel The Sweetest Heresy received is a neatly-packa ged, ten-lined argument with no variants, and the poems commanding simplicity seems to support Kellers conc lusion. However, we turn the page to find the fascicles closing poem, which also contai ns no variants and comp licates the portrait of security in Puritan arrangements. Although compe ting, the statements of both poems seem final, complete without any second-guessing or multip le options from which a reader can choose. The speaker of the final poem, Take Your Heaven further on (Fr671), may also be getting married since Dressed to meet You / S ee in White! invokes the image of a bride. This bride, however, is a Sufferer polite and she seems to be speaking from beyond the grave: This to Heaven divine Has gone / Had You earlier blundered in / Possibly, een You had seen / An Eternity put on The Su fferer polite could be a woman who waited for her suitor to blunder in an d propose marriage to her. However, he arrives too late and she has already gone to Heaven divine. For the man le ft behind, to ring a Door beyond / Is the utmost 163

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of Your Hand The Sufferer polite commands him to apologize To the Skies, rather than to her, since the sky is Nearer to Your Courtesies.17 In print, Take Your Heaven further on is normally presented as a single stanza, indicating a fluid, almost breathless exasperation aimed at the one the narrator has left behind. In the fascicle, how ever, three single words are set off on lines of their own: in, beyond, and H and The effect remains one of vexation, but there is such little blank space on the sheet that the three relatively small gaps created by these single-word lines indicate a visual pause before Possibly, Is the utmost, and To the Skies. These gaps allow one to envision an over-whelm ed speaker who needs a moment to catch her breath. The pause before Possi bly also highlights the speakers uncertain ty that Had You earlier blundered in een You would have see n / An Eternity put on The speaker may be uncertain that he would have blundered in at all. In co ntrast to the convenient, happy ending of Endymion and the neat, clean idea of marriage presented in The Sweetest Heresy, the fascicle closes with a sc rawled, winded message from th e one who has disappeared to Heaven divine. The final poems represent that beauty is not truth, truth beauty, and reflect the fascicles overall meditation on Negative Capability. The closing image of a Sufferer polite solidifies Dickinsons caveat to mans capability of be ing in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts: the experience of suffering can subsume the so lace offered by embracing ambivalence. The 17 Dressed in White! may represent the influence of Aurora Leigh After Auroras cousin, Romney, has found her book, he tells her: Ah, / But men, and still less wo men, happily, / Scarce need be poets. Keep to the green wreath, / Since even dreaming of the stone and bronze / Brings headaches, pretty cousin, and defiles / The clean white morning dresses (2.91-96). The white dress in this passage is to show how poetry defiles it, while a later reference associates the white dress with yearning for ma rriage: There? Dear, you ar e asleep still; dont you know / The five Miss Granvilles? always dressed in white / To show theyre ready to be married (4.634-636). A narrator as a Sufferer polite / Dressed to meet You / See in White! could be a reference to Aurora, who is struggling to be a Woman and artist (2.4), as well as an allusion to Barrett Browning and Dickinson, who also struggle in this twofold sphere where still the artist is intensely a man (7.777-778). The poem could also represent the speakers choice to be a Bride of Christ, something critics have associated with Dickin sons reclusion. However, even if one interprets the poem this way, the speaker remains a Sufferer polite, indicating that the choice to be a Bride of Christ may not have been a positive one. 164

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penultimate poems confidence in marriage is almost too fierce. The fascicle closes with an image of someone who quietly, polite ly suffers in life, waiting in white for something that comes too late (or not at all), and who perhaps continues to suffer, still in White, in heaven. The final poem affirms that humans will fail at marriage, rejecting the penultimate poems attempt at Truth, and a Sufferer polite, whether she is in heaven or on earth, does not constitute an image of Beauty. The fascicles conclusion indicates that the schism between the promise of poetry and the power of the experience of suffering pres ents too great a leap, revealing the selfsufficiency Dickinson found in her art as well as the realization that poetry could not always bring order out of chaos (Wolosky, A Voice of War 157). Although the fascicle explores the solace of ambivalence, it denies th at Beauty and Truth are One. The schism found in the fascicle is mi nutely alluded to by the narrator/poets remark in the final book of Endymion that the loftiest Muse has failed him: so on / I move to the end in lowliness of heart (4.1 and 4.28-29). Dickins on may have glimpsed the schism from the biographical accounts of Keatss life that were available to her, su ch as Higginsons portrait in 1862 of Keatss critical assassin ation, which apparently his w inged wonders of expression could not avoid. Keats offers gorgeous attemp ts to remain unhindered by the unhealthy and oer darkened ways of earth, bu t Keats ultimately fails to figure out how to reconcile human life with the idealism found in dreams and imaginationhe gives up on his Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, and while the narrator/poet exclaims, ti s with full happiness that I / Will trace the story of Endymion, the poems quick and convenient ending reflects why Keats later describes Endymion as slip-shod (L90). Fascicle 30 shows a positive a nd specific relation to Keats, a relationship which was overlooked for years, or considered adversarial or vague by those who contextualize Dickinsons 165

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166 poetry within the Anglo-American Romantic tr adition. When one disregards the fascicle context, it seems to me, one risks losing valu able connections that reflect Dickinsons involvement with various and multiple discour ses. Dickinsons originality often makes influences difficult to pinpoint, yet Fascicle 30 echoes Keatss portrayal of the power and the failure of the poet to create worlds. While I do not wish to imply that my interpretations of Fascicle 30s poems foreclose other options, or even that close readings of individual fascicles provide the only proper approach to Dickinsons work, I admit that I value what proximate poems affirm about Dickinsons influences, and I consider the recognition of these influences to be more difficult when the context is shaped by an editor, biographer, or teacher rather than by the fascicle (Heginbotham xi). Eleanor Heginbo tham argues that the fact of the fascicles deserves attention. Regardless of whether they were complete or finished or intended as prepublication studies, as self-publ ishing artifacts, as gifts, as scrapbooks, or as workbooks, they exist (ix). In contrast, Shira Wolosky believes that the fascicles cannot provide privileged evidence of textual connections, when the methods of entry, as Franklin hi mself vividly presents them, correlate neither with the order of comp osition nor with any othe r clearly ascertainable procedure (Emily Dickinsons Manuscript B ody, 88-89). While Dickinsons procedure is not clearly ascertainable, sinc e I recognize the difficulty in following the train of thought in a single fascicle, the operation of the fascicles nevertheless offers fasc inating interpretive opportunities that may be lost within alternate contexts. The fascicles certainly do deserve attention; even if we cannot be certain as to wh at Dickinson wanted to accomplish with them, the fascicles can help us to unravel and complicat e even our most sacred assumptions regarding Emily Dickinson.

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CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION Emily Dickinsons body of work is unclear a nd inconsistent, yet I argue her power stems from this inconsistency, and the lack of instructions requires readers to dwell in Possibility (Fr466). I view her commitment to genre-blurri ng and poetic experimentation as a commitment to puncturing the fierce distinct ion drawn in the mid-nineteenth -century (as well as our own) between the public and the private. The exte nt of Dickinsons experimentation is best understood if one studies her body of work, whic h includes her correspondence, printed poems, fascicles, and later draf ts and fragments. However, access to and study of the manuscripts has been (and continues to be) rigi dly restricted, and Dickinsons poems have been understood since 1890, when the first volume of her poems appeared, as tiny, neat, private packages of unstudied hymn stanzas. The mythologica l Emily Dickinson aros e in the 1890s and has survived into the twenty-first-century. She was a woman who fell madly in love with a man already married and she turned to poetry to st ay sane; her unconventi onal and strange verses remained in a locked box and the mysterious love-spurned, childlike poet died without any thought towards publication, leaving behind no ar tistic philosophy because she never understood herself as a poet. The caricatures simplicity represents commitment s to keeping a certain type of genius in its placeprotected, cloaked, and distanced from social and literary spheres. The central thread of Dickinsons role in literary history de notes a foil to Walt Whitman, the democratic, uncontainable rebel poet who single-handedly fathered American poetry. While the myth of Dickinson as the iconic private poet has been debunked in the past few decades, contemporary Dickinson criticism focuses largely on discovering Dickinsons intentions, and debates often center on the true form a Dickinson poem should ta ke. The dangers of simplicity appear again, 167

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since the debates have been unfortunately descri bed as the Dickinson Wars: one side values reading Dickinsons manuscripts while the other claims reading the manu scripts does not provide privileged interpretations. But the debate as war necessitates taking a si de: you should read Dickinson only in manuscript or you arrive at the same interpretation regardless of how the poem is readin print, in manuscript, online, in a library, in a class, or on a bus. Most Dickinson scholars do not approach Dickinsons work with such simplicity, yet the discussion about the nature of poetry, when it is presented as requiring one to choose a side, renders Dickinsons work as a source of angst, which steers far from the idea that Some seek in Art the Art of Peace (Fr665). Dickinsons work and the reception of that work is better understood not as a war, but as a complex set of varied texts that have given rise to countless discursive publics. According to Michael Warner, a discursive public is brought into being by texts a nd their circulation: it is a space of discourse organized by discourse. It is self-creating and self-organized; and herein lies its power, as well as its elusive strangeness; its boundaries and its organization are set by its own discourse rather than by ex ternal frameworks; and a disc ursive public addresses people who are identified primarily through their particip ation in the discourse and who therefore cannot be known in advance (68-69, 73-74). They are qu eer creatures, these discursive publics, and have been largely ignored or misunderstood throughout modernity (7 ). But they play a pivotal role in ones understanding of language, and Warne rs discussion elucidates Dickinsons work in a healthy, positive, and complex way that allows me to focus not on the Truth of Dickinsons intentions, but on what types of publics these texts have created and what types of publics Dickinsons poems address. 168

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Dickinsons three predominant spheres for experimentation (her correspondence, the fascicles, and the radical scatte rs) represent an overall commit ment to blurring the distinction between public and private forms of communicat ion. In her correspondence, apart from the practical application of keeping in touch with friends and family, Dickinson toys with intimate communication through a blending of prose and poetry and experimenting with nominal and poetic addressee. Rather than approaching the le tters as a way to fill in the gaps, Dickinsons correspondence has come to be seen as an artistic genre invested in more than keeping in touch. Contrary to the isolati onist image of Dickinson, her lette rs root her in her time period, and her epistolary experimentation is both unique and a technique of the time, particularly of the Civil War era. Dickinsons prac tice of sending poems as gifts i ndicates her perception of the power of poetry to consol, to ce lebrate, to remember, or to feel less alone. However, more importantly, the act of giving a poem, rather than writing it, for a specif ic person at a specific time reveals Dickinsons understanding of cont ext and poetic addressee. The recipients biographical and psychological cont ext would fill in the gaps of the poem. Sue or Samuel Bowels, for example, would read the same poem in a different way, yet each would view the poem as written for her or him. In the twenty-f irst-century, as well as in the nineteenth, who Dickinson had in mind when she wrote the poem becomes impossible to pinpoint, yet knowledge of the poems context offers an additional layer of interpretation. The cont ext varies and morphs throughout time, since we cannot read the poem as Sue or as Bowles, although our reading is influenced by knowing to whom she sent the poem and why, and we can use case studies of individual poems sent in letters to witness how context shapes interpreta tion. It is within the space of intimate communication that Dickinson toys with its conventions; it is here that she 169

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practices a commitment to non-referential poetr y and learns to complicate and manipulate the conventions of the lyric form. Rather than inhabiting a space constricte d by traditional verse forms, Dickinsons workshop allowed her to experiment on a small le vel, such as the manipulation of grammar, meter, and rhyme within a single poem, as we ll as on the level of Circumference: her sceneless poems continually and endlessly sp read outward, supporting multiple, various, even contradictory interpretations wit hout allowing readers to be certai n the true meaning has been or can be attained. In addition to her corres pondence, Dickinsons poetic experimentation exists in two separate yet related spheres: the fascicles and the radical scatters The fascicles show an attention to detail and a concern for context, while the later drafts and fragments reveal a project centered on the way visual details and mate riality affect inspirat ion and interpretation. While contemporary scholars do s ee visual experimentation as integral to the fascicles, Dickinson invested a substantial amount of time and effort in placing poems in a shared space. What that space means for the poems within is something we are only recently discovering, and each fascicle offers numerous and multiple possibilities. It seems possible that the fascicles taken as a whole represent an additional sphe re of experimentationthey may be poetic experimentation on a grand level, a proj ect perhaps comparable to Whitmans Leaves of Grass. We are not there yet, and the narrative readings of the forty fascicles have proven insufficient. In this sense, the fascicles, now and in the nineteenth-century, can be seen as placeholders for a future public that will better understand them. However, the fascicles also derive from the specifics of the mid-nineteenth-centurythey do seem concerned with Emersons definition of poetry of the portfolio and they align with how Dickinson understood her world. Dickin son accessed contemporary poetry most often 170

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through a context set by the works of multiple aut hors, such as in anthologies, or surrounded by news, such as in periodicals. Dickinson understo od the work and lives of poets she revered, such as Keats, Barrett Browning, Milton, and Shakesp eare, through anthologies and periodicals. Dickinson understood through her reading how much ones understanding of art was determined by what surrounded it; what surround it most of ten, and what surrounded Dickinson, aside from her correspondence and her own writing, was print. Despite the editorial frustration expressed at the lack of clarity th roughout Dickinsons publication histor y, Dickinsons poems have been quite easily rendered into traditional forms and simplified into print. The conversion ushered Dickinson into the American literary canon. But now we can evaluate and attempt to understand what the fascicles areon the most basic level, th e fascicles are poems in a shared space. Some argue the fascicles are a rejection of print, while others see them as a means of keeping order. An important layer of inquiry, however, is the fa scicles investment in exploring the influence and power of context. A single fascicle can create multiple, open-ended, self-sustained and self-creating publics. As I show in my final chapter, a single fascic le offers a better understanding of Dickinsons literary influences, which are often subsumed due to the difficulty of pinp ointing echoes within individual poems read in isolation. But the fasc icles are enmeshed in other discourses, such as nineteenth-century manuscript culture, Roma nticism, Modernism, and Post-modernism. Dickinson did not force a public into being by cr eating the fascicles, yet they currently offer endless, evolving options as to how they are discussed, read, and understood. Reading Dickinson in print and in manuscript allows one to investigate the influence of editing and publishing and to discuss artistic process. Dickinson and hypertext create new, endless possibilities for understanding the e ffects of poetry and the role t he Poet and poetry play in 171

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daily life. Dickinson understood what poetry offe rs. While she must have had clear intentions with regard to her fascicle project, it is an in tention she never felt the ne ed to state. Rather, individual fascicles and individual poems address a future public that comes into being when readers focus their shared attention on the fascicle as object. The wide, endless Circumference of even a single Dickinson poem reveals the complex operation of discursive publics. For over a century, Dickinson has been both blamed and embraced for the mystery of her poetry, yet most often Dickinsons poetry has been seen as a mystery that needs solvingand readers, schola rs, editors, reviewers, and even Dickinsons acquaintances have searched for the solution in the person of Emily Dickinson. Dickinson may have been frustrated by the options offered to he r, but she embraced the realm of possibility to see what new ways she could use and be insp ired by language. The complexity surrounding the term public parallels the co mplexity surrounding Dickinsonneither can be cataloged, defined, or demarcated sufficien tly. The myth of Dickinson ha s always permeated her work, even though it has morphed through various erasf rom unstudied to prophetic and isolated to writing to keep from going over th e too-near edge into madness. But Dickinsons opus reveals that she moved within a complexity that we are only beginning to unravel; she understood how public and private communication were most of ten approached, and she sought new ways to create poetic addressees. She blurred the distin ction between prose and poetry in ways that aligned with and extended beyond her time period. She is much like George Orwells diarist writing in fascicles and on discarded scraps to a future, uni maginable public. But her texts created publics in her lifetime, and she was a ppreciated in the ninet eenth-century for her vividness, her unconventionality, and her directness. Editors have discovered and re-discovered traditional, conventional poems within the chaotic mass, and we are now fortunate enough to 172

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173 return to (or at least attempt to return to) the chaos. We can combine the regularization, mythologizing, and canonization with the experience of reading Dickinsons work in manuscript. This powerful combination leads to new, fasc inating, open-ended publics, indicating what can happen when an author refuses to be clear.

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LIST OF REFERENCES The following abbreviations are used to refe r to the writings of Emily Dickinson: Fr The Poems of Emily Dickinson ed. R.W. Franklin. 3 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1998. Citation by poem number. L The Letters of Emily Dickinson eds. Thomas H. Johnson and Theodora Ward. 3 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvar d UP, 1958. Citation by letter number. Ahmed, Sara. Queer Phenomenolog y: Orientations, Objects, Ot hers. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2006. Anderson, Susan M. Regard[ing] a Mouse in Dickinsons Poems and Letters. The Emily Dickinson Journal 2.1 (1993): 84-102. Barrett, Faith. Public Selves and Private Spheres: Studies of Emily Dickinson and the Civil War, 1984-2007. The Emily Dickinson Journal 16.1 (2007): 92-104. ___. Public Selves and Private S pheres: Studies of Emily Dick inson and the Civil War, 19842007. The Emily Dickinson Journal 16.1 (2007): 92-104. Barrett, Faith, and Cris tanne Miller, eds. Words for the Hour: A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry Amherst, MA: U of Massachusetts P, 2005. Bauerly, Donna. Dickinsons Rhetoric of Temporality. The Emily Dickinson Journal 1.2 (Fall 1992): 1-7. Becker, Michael G., ed. A Concordance to the Poems of John Keats New York: Garland, 1981. Bennett, Paula. Poets in the Public Sphere: The Emanc ipatory Project of American Womens Poetry, 1800-1900 Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2003. Bianchi, Martha Dickinson. Emily Dickinson Face to Face Boston / New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1932. Bingham, Millicent Todd Ancestors Brocades: The Literary Debut of Emily Dickinson New York: Harper & Brothers, 1945. Brantley, Richard. Experience and Faith: The Late-Romant ic Imagination of Emily Dickinson New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Bray, Robert. Why Thoughts Are Better Than Music or Emily Dickinsons Fascicle 18 as a Lyric Sequence. Modern Language Association roundtable 30 December 1997. . 174

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Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. Aurora Leigh and Other Poems Eds. John Robert Glorney Bolton and Julia Bolton Holloway. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1995. Buckingham, Willis J. Emily Dickinsons Reception in the 1890s: A Documentary History Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989. Bushell, Sally. Meaning in Dickinsons Manuscripts: Intending the Unintentional. The Emily Dickinson Journal 14.1 (2005): 24-61. Cambon, Glauco. Emily Dickinson and the Crisis of Self-reliance. Transcendentalism and Its Legacy Eds. Myron Simon and Thornton H. Parsons. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1966. Capps, Jack. Emily Dickinsons Reading: 1836-1886 Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1966. Cameron, Sharon. Choosing Not Choosing: Dickinsons Fascicles Chicago, IL: U of Chicago P, 1992. Carton, Evan. The Rhetoric of American Romance: Dialectic and Identity in Emerson, Dickinson, Poe, and Hawthorne. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1985. Cody, David. Blood in the Basin: The Civil War in Emily Dickinsons The name of it is Autumn The Emily Dickinson Journal 12.1 (2003): 25-52. Dandurand, Karen. New Dickinson Civil War Publications. American Literature 56.1 (March 1984): 17-27. Debo, Annette. Dickinson Manuscripts in the Undergraduate Classroom. College Literature 27.3 (Fall 2000): 130-140. Dickinson Digital Archives. Ed. Ma rtha Nell Smith and Lara Vetter. . Dickinson, Emily. Open Me Carefully: Emily Dickinson s Intimate Letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson. Ed. Martha Nell Smith and Ellen Louise Hart. Ashfield, MA: Paris Press, 1998. ____. The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson Ed. R.W. Franklin. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard UP, 1981. ____. The Poems of Emily Dickinson Ed. T.H. Johnson. 3 vols. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard UP, 1955. ____. Poems: 1890-1896. Ed. George Monteiro. Gainesville, FL: Scholars Facsimiles & Reprints, 1967. 175

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___. Letters of Emily Dickinson Ed. Mabel Loomis Todd. Bost on, MA: Roberts Brothers, 1894. ___. Letters of Emily Dickinson Ed. Mabel Loomis Todd. New York, NY: Harpers, 1931. ___. Further Poems of Emily Dickinson Withheld from Publication by her Sister Lavinia Ed. Martha Dickinson Bianchi. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company, 1929. ___. The Essential Emily Dickinson Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. Hopewell, NJ: The Ecco Press, 1996. ___. 14 by Emily Dickinson Ed. Thomas M. Davis. Chicago, IL: Scott, Foresman, and Company, 1964. Dillon, Elizabeth Maddock. The Gender of Freedom: Fictions of Liberalism and the Literary Public Sphere. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2004. Doll, Mary Aswell. Like Letters Running in Water: A Mythopoetics of Curriculum Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000. Diehl, Joanne Feit. Women Poets and the American Sublime Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1990. ___. Dickinson and the Romantic Imagination Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1981. Doreski, William. An Exchange of Territory: Dickinsons Fascicle 27. ESQ 32 (1986): 5567. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. New Poetry. The Dial 1.2 Oct. 1840: 220-224. ___. Emersons Prose and Poetry Eds. Joel Porte and Sandra Morris New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. ___.The Complete Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson New York, NY: WM. H. Wise & Co., 1929. Emily Dickinson Lexicon Bringham Young University, 2007-2010. 10.Jul. 2010. . Farr, Judith. The Passion of Emily Dickinson Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1992. Ferlazzo, Paul J. Critical Essays on Emily Dickinson Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1984. Finnerty, Paraic. A Dickinson Reverie: The Worm, the Snake, Marvel, and NineteenthCentury Dreaming. The Emily Dickinson Journal 16.2 (2007): 94-118. Franklin, R.W. Introduction. The Poems of Emily Dickinson 3 vols. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Ha rvard UP, 1998. i-vii. 176

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____. The Editing of Emily Dickinson: A Reconsideration Madison, WI: U of Wisconsin P, 1967. Gailey, Amanda. How Anthologists Made Dickin son a Tolerable American Woman Writer. The Emily Dickinson Journal 14.1 (Spring 2005): 62-83. Gilliland, Don. Textual Scruples and Dickinsons Uncertain Certainty. The Emily Dickinson Journal 18.2 (2009): 38-62. Gray, Janet, ed She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century Iowa City, IA: U of Iowa P, 1997. Gribbin, Laura. Emily Dickinsons Circumferen ce: Figuring a Blind Spot in the Romantic Tradition. The Emily Dickinson Journal 2.1 (1993): 1-22. Harris, Morag Emily Dickinson in Time: Experien ce and Its Analysis in Progressive Verbal Form London: H. Karnac (Books) Ltd., 1999. Heginbotham, Eleanor. Reading the Fascicles of Emily Di ckinson: Dwelling in Possibilities Columbus, OH: Ohio UP, 2003. Higginson, T.W. Letter to a Young Contributor. Atlantic Monthly Apr. 1862: 401-411. ____. The Life of Birds. Atlantic Monthly Sept. 1862: 368-377. ____. Procession of the Flowers. Atlantic Monthly Dec. 1862: 649-657. ___. Carlyles Laugh and Other Surprises. Freeport, NY: Books for Li braries Press, Inc., 1968. Hoffman, Tyler B. Emily Dickinson and the Limit of War. The Emily Dickinson Journal 3.2 (1994): 1-18. Holmes, O.W. The Last Charge. Atlantic Monthly Feb. 1864: 244. Ierardi, Michele. Translating Emily: Digitally Representing Dickinsons Poetic Production Using Fascicle 16 as a Case Study. 10. Dec. 2010 . Johnson, Judith. Emily Dickinson: A Reconsideration. 10. Dec. 2010 . Kirby, Joan, and Helen Shoobridge, eds. The Dickinson Periodicals Project < http://www.ccs.mq.edu.au/dickinson/ >. Keats, John. Complete Poems. Ed. Jack Stillinger. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1982. 177

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Trisha Kannan grew up in San Diego, Califor nia, and majored in creative writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She lived in England before coming to the University of Florida. She completed her M.A. in English in 2004 and her Ph.D. in 2011. 182