A Companion to Emily Dickinson / Edition 1

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This Companion to America’s greatest woman poet showcases the diversity and excellence that characterize the thriving field of Dickinson studies.
  • Covers biographical approaches of Dickinson, the historical, political and cultural contexts of her work, and its critical reception over the years
  • Considers issues relating to the different formats in which Dickinson’s lyrics have been published – manuscript, print, halftone and digital facsimile
  • Provides incisive interventions into current critical discussions, as well as opening up fresh areas of critical inquiry
  • Features new work being done in the critique of nineteenth-century American poetry generally, as well as new work being done in Dickinson studies
  • Designed to be used alongside the Dickinson Electronic Archives, an online resource developed over the past ten years
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The twenty-six essays that make up this Companion are all of extremely high quality [and] each is quite distinct from the others.... This book is an essential addition to any university library where Dickinson's poetry is included on courses, at any level, and would add depth and breadth to public library collections where Dickinson's poetry is already of significant interest." (Reference Reviews, November 2009)

"The essays show the breadth, depth, and vitality of current scholarship in Dickinson studies. Indexed and selectively illustrated with black and white photographs, this volume merits a place alongside An Emily Dickinson Encyclopedia and The Emily Dickinson Handbook, but is unique in offering readers the benefits of digital collaboration." (Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin, Fall 2008)

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Martha Nell Smith is Professor of English and Founding Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland. Her numerous publications include three award-winning books – Open Me Carefully: Emily Dickinson’s Intimate Letters to Susan Dickinson (1998), Comic Power in Emily Dickinson (1993), Rowing in Eden: Rereading Emily Dickinson (1992) – and over 30 journal articles. The recipient of numerous awards for her work on Dickinson and in new media, Smith is also Coordinator and Executive Editor of the Dickinson Electronic Archives projects at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) at the University of Virginia.

Mary Loeffelholz is Professor and Special Advisor to the President for Faculty Affairs at Northeastern University. She is the author of From School to Salon: Reading Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Poetry (2004), Experimental Lives: Women and Literature, 1900–1945 (1992), Dickinson and the Boundaries of Feminist Theory (1991), and of a number of essays on nineteenth-century American poetry and culture. She is also editor of Studies in American Fiction and of Volume D, Between the Wars: 1914–1945 in the seventh edition of the Norton Anthology of American Literature.

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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors.

Abbreviations of Frequently Cited Sources.


Introduction (Martha Nell Smith and Mary Loeffelholz).

Part I: Biography – the Myth of “the Myth”.

1 Architecture of the Unseen (Aife Murray).

2 Fracturing a Master Narrative, Reconstructing “Sister Sue” (Ingrid Satelmajer).

3 Public, Private Spheres: What Reading Emily Dickinson’s Mail Taught me about Civil Wars (Martha Nell Smith).

4 “Pretty much all real life”: The Material World of the Dickinson Family (Jane Wald).

Part II: The Civil War – Historical and Political Contexts.

5 “Drums off the Phantom Battlements”: Dickinson’s War Poems in Discursive Context (Faith Barrett).

6 The Eagle’s Eye: Dickinson’s View of Battle (Renée Bergland).

7 “How News Must Feel When Traveling”: Dickinson and Civil War Media (Eliza Richards).

Part III: Cultural Contexts – Literature, Philosophy, Theology, Science.

8 Really Indigenous Productions: Emily Dickinson, Josiah Holland, and Nineteenth-Century Popular Verse (Mary Loeffelholz).

9 Thinking Dickinson Thinking Poetry (Virginia Jackson).

10 Dickinson and the Exception (Max Cavitch).

11 Dickinson’s Uses of Spiritualism: The “Nature” of Democratic Belief (Paul Crumbley).

12 “Forever – is Composed of Nows –”: Emily Dickinson’s Conception of Time (Gudrun M. Grabher).

13 God’s Place in Dickinson’s Ecology (Nancy Mayer).

Part IV: Textual Conditions: Manuscripts, Printings, Digital Surrogates.

14 Auntie Gus Felled It New (Tim Morris).

15 Reading Dickinson in Her Context: The Fascicles (Eleanor Elson Heginbotham).

16 The Poetics of Interruption: Dickinson, Death, and the Fascicles (Alexandra Socarides).

17 Climates of the Creative Process: Dickinson’s Epistolary Journal (Connie Ann Kirk).

18 Hearing the Visual Lines: How Manuscript Study Can Contribute to an Understanding of Dickinson’s Prosody (Ellen Louise Hart, with Sandra Chung).

19 “The Thews of Hymn”: Dickinson’s Metrical Grammar (Michael L. Manson).

20 Dickinson’s Structured Rhythms 391

Cristanne Miller

21 A Digital Regiving: Editing the Sweetest Messages

in the Dickinson Electronic Archives 415

Tanya Clement

22 Editing Dickinson in an Electronic Environment 437

Lara Vetter

Part V: Poetry & Media – Dickinson’s Legacies.

23 “Dare you see a soul at the White Heat?”: Thoughts on a “Little

Home-keeping Person” (Sandra M. Gilbert).

24 Re-Playing the Bible: My Emily Dickinson (Alicia Ostriker).

25 “For Flash and Click and Suddenness–”: Emily Dickinson and the Photography-Effect (Marta L. Werner).

26 "Zero to the Bone": Thelonious Monk, Emily Dickinson, and the Rhythms of Modernism (Joshua Weiner).

Index of First Lines.

Index of Letters of Emily Dickinson.


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