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After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America's Greatest Poet

After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America's Greatest Poet

by Julie Dobrow


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“Scandal and pathos abound” (The New Yorker) in this riveting account of the mother and daughter who brought Emily Dickinson’s genius to light.

Longlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography • Finalist for the Plutarch Award

Despite Emily Dickinson’s renown, the story of the two women most responsible for her initial posthumous publication—Mabel Loomis Todd and her daughter, Millicent Todd Bingham—has remained in the shadows of the archives. Utilizing hundreds of overlooked letters and diaries to weave together three unstoppable women, Julie Dobrow reveals the intrigue of Dickinson’s literary beginnings, including Mabel’s tumultuous affair with Emily’s brother, Austin Dickinson, controversial editorial decisions, and a battle over the right to define the so-called Belle of Amherst.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393357493
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/10/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 669,394
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Julie Dobrow is a professor and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Tufts University. Her writing has appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine and the Huffington Post, among others. She lives outside of Boston.

Table of Contents

1886 Map of Amherst x

Preface xiii

Introduction One Fine Day in May (1886) 1

Chapter 1 Arriving in Amherst (1856-1881) 9

Chapter 2 Meeting and Courting the Dickinsons (1881-1882) 29

Chapter 3 Soaring Love and Seething Tensions (1883-1894) 53

Chapter 4 Dickinsonian Inspiration: Mabel's Creative Output (1883-1893) 82

Chapter 5 Lingering Puritanism and Millicent's Sensibilities (1884-1897) 92

Chapter 6 Embracing Emily's Poems (1886-1897) 111

Chapter 7 Losing Austin, Finding Mabel (1895-1904) 158

Chapter 8 Suing the "Queen of Amherst" (1897-1898) 176

Chapter 9 Traveling and Travails (1899-1917) 192

Chapter 10 "Sincerely, Joe Thomas" (1918-1919) 210

Chapter 11 Fighting to Define Emily Dickinson (1920-1929) 224

Chapter 12 Bringing Lost Poems to Light (1930-1939) 245

Chapter 13 Dealing with "Dickinsoniana" (1940-1955) 272

Chapter 14 Battling over Emily's Papers (1946-1959) 295

Chapter 15 Seeking Closure and Meaning (1960-1968) 325

Chapter 16 Unpacking the Camphorwood Chest 342

Afterword Sorting through the Clutter 363

Acknowledgments 371

Notes 379

Text Credits 409

Illustration Credits 411

Index 417

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