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Today is the birth date of Emily Dickinson [December 10, 1830 – May 18, 1886] born in Amherst Massachusetts.  Her life was one of contemplation and increased seclusion.  A prolific writer, only a few of her poems were actually published in her lifetime; the nearly 1800 poems and 1000 letters that survive were published posthumously.  A small collection of her poems was first published in 1890 [Roberts Brothers], edited by Mabel Loomis Todd; a second series in 1891.  Mabel Loomis Todd also published the letters in 2 volumes in 1894.  Due to family disagreements, the complete poems were not published until 1955, edited by Thomas Johnson; and the letters in 1958, also edited by Johnson.  The biography by Cynthia Griffin Wolff, Emily Dickinson [Knopf, 1986] is a treasure, complete with notes and bibliography.

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Some web resources:

 

A few new books on Dickinson, perfect for holiday giving:

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Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium,   [Belknap Press, 2006]

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White Heat:  Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson, by Brenda Wineapple [Knopf, 2008]

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A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Thomas Johnson Heade, by Christopher Benfey [Penguin Press, 2008]

 

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