October 25, 2013
Emily Dickinson, now more alive than she's ever been
Above, the poet at 16.
Because I could not stop for death,
He kindly stopped for me.
When I read those lines in high school I remember it was as if someone had slapped me in the face — really hard.
Now comes Jennifer Schuessler in the New York Times with wonderful news for those who love Dickinson: a joint web archive has finally succeeded in making available online much — not all, but a lot — that was previously scattered and held in different physical locations.
Below, excerpts from the Times story:
The manuscripts of Emily Dickinson have long been scattered across multiple archives, meaning scholars had to knock on numerous doors to see all the handwritten drafts of a poet whose work went almost entirely unpublished in her lifetime.
The online Emily Dickinson Archive, to be inaugurated on Wednesday, promises to change all that by bringing together on a single open-access Web site thousands of manuscripts held by Harvard University, Amherst College, the Boston Public Library and five other institutions. Now, scholars and lay readers alike will be able to browse easily through handwritten versions of favorite poems, puzzle over lines that snake along the edges of used envelopes and other scraps of paper, or zoom in on one of Dickinson’s famous dashes until it almost fills the screen.
"To have all these manuscripts together on one site and to have it so thoroughly searchable is extraordinary," said Cristanne Miller, a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a member of the project's advisory board.
"She was continually challenging the boundaries of genre," said Marta Werner, a professor at D'Youville College in Buffalo and the creator of "Radical Scatters," a 1999 digital project based on the scraps, which are mostly held by Amherst. "She was someone who wrote all the time, and by the end she was writing on everything."
Such matters may seem irrelevant to people who come to the Web site for the sheer pleasure of looking at Dickinson’s often startlingly beautiful manuscripts (some festooned with dried flowers or doodles), or comparing the poems as they appeared in her handwriting to printed versions in six published editions, including Mr. Franklin's.
Slide show from the online archive here; exemplars above.
October 25, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink
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I hope when I'm dead, having accomplished a grand total of nothing, people (people?) will say I'm more alive than I've ever been. Finally!
Posted by: Flautist | Oct 26, 2013 6:19:10 AM
You Read your Emily Dickinson, and I my Robert Frost, and we'll measure the things that we've lost.
Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Oct 26, 2013 4:59:31 AM
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