Poems by E. Dickinson?

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After listening to Podcast 7 about the history of Emily Dickinson's Poems I begin to wonder what the raw poems that she wrote were like since they were not published until after her death.  These poems were through so many hands and interpreted by so many people and rewrote I wonder how much was lost in the translation.  We can hope that the family of Emily would not have changed them too much, now think about this if they did make changes is this why they are so good? Were the originals good but not good enough to be published until they were edited?  In short, would we be reading Emily Dickinson if not for the editors of her work?

3 Comments

I thought about that also and compared it to the artist Van Gogh. Van Gogh sold only one painting while living. It wasn't until after he died he became famous. What if his paintings were altered after his death? They wouldn't be original Van Gogh's then. I would hope that Dickinson's family did not lose anything in editing/translation. It's too bad the poems weren't just published as original.

I as well hope that these poems weren't altered too much, but I think that the fact that hundreds and hundreds of her poems were published really says something about her work. Clearly poetry was so important to her because of the vast amounts she created and because of the way she seemed to always scribble them on availiable pieces of paper. Since we know that Emily was a secluded person maybe poetry was a release or way of letting out her inner feelings. Her intent of creating these obviously wasn't for money, so I think that poetry was just a real passion for her.

I agree with you, Mary Jane. The only thing we can really say about the original manuscripts is that we have no idea whether the current versions of the poems are the way that Dickinson would've wanted them to be. All we can do now is assume that they are correct. Obviously, there was a lot of confusion with the capitalization of letters and the changing of punctuation from dashes to normal.

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This page contains a single entry by MaryJaneStano published on September 18, 2010 3:44 PM.

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