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Emily Dickinson   (1830-1886)


The Emily Dickinson International Society (EDIS)

The EDIS site has links to the two most important sources of Dickinson scholarship—the Emily Dickinson Bulletin and the Emily Dickinson Journal (1992 to 1996). It is an excellent place to look at recent examinations of Dickinson and her poetry: the table of contents of both publications can be searched online, and you can read (and print out) articles from the Journal. To make library research easier, there are links to bibliographies of literary criticism. This site also takes you through the steps of joining the EMWEB, a serious discussion list for students and teachers interested in Dickinson scholarship in which you can ask questions and start conversations on Dickinson with experts on her work. To find and read past exchanges on the EMWEB that relate specifically to your own interests, see the Emily Dickinson Discussion List (EMWEB) Archives at .

The EmMail Web Page

The site gives information on how to join EmMail, an e-mail discussion list on Dickinson that is more casual than the EMWEB. This fan-oriented discussion list is useful for brainstorming ideas about Dickinson's life and work with fellow Dickinson admirers. Those beginning a study of Dickinson will find many helpful resources at this site—for example, a chronology of Dickinson's life, bibliographies of criticism, critical analyses of poetic themes, and suggested essay topics on Dickinson's poetry.

Alabaster: Archive of Emily Dickinson's Fascicle 26

From 1858 to 1864, Dickinson assembled forty fascicles—small handbound books that contained her poetry as well as other miscellaneous writings. At this site is an archive of fascicle 26, with links to fascicles 1 and 17, as well as links to the same poems as they appear in the 1890 Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson edition of Dickinson's poems in the 1955 edition by Thomas H. Johnson. At this site, you can compare these fascicles with the printed versions in your textbooks with interesting results.

The Bartleby Project

Although Thomas H. Johnson's 1955 edition is now the standard edition of Dickinson's poetry, this 1896 edition by Mabel Loomis Todd (Boston: Little, Brown) divides 160 poems into the categories of "Life," "Love," "Nature," and "Time & Eternity" and allows you to see the basis for Johnson's organization of Dickinson's poetry. The Bartleby Project, a collection maintained by Columbia University, contains many early editions of important literary works that you can read online.

Emily Dickinson's Letters by Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Higginson, a prominent Bostonian and literary critic, began a correspondence with Dickinson in 1862 that lasted until her death in 1886. At this site, you can read Higginson's account of their correspondence, published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1891. The article, an important biographical archive, gives a fascinating insight into Dickinson's mentor's response to her posthumous fame.

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson by Martha Hale Shackford

One of the first scholars to recognize Dickinson as a major poet, Martha Hale Shackford, author and Wellesley professor, praises Dickinson and analyzes her poetry in this Atlantic Monthly article published in January 1913.

Emily Dickinson Discussion List (EMWEB) Archives

Unlike the EMWEB mailing list (available at, which provides a means of entering a conversation on Dickinson at any time, this site allows you to search the archives of past messages that have been sent to EMWEB. With this resource, you will be able to call up discussions and comments that are relevant to your own work on Dickinson.

Perspectives in American Literature

This site allows you to look at the important relationship between the Transcendentalist literary movement and Dickinson's poetry. Also useful in analyzing Dickinson is a good list of criticism and a discussion of the major themes in her work.

Emily Dickinson Page

This extensive site contains information about Dickinson's life, links to other references to her work, information on how to join an e-mail discussion list about her works, as well as a page designed especially for students using the internet to do research about Dickinson.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), one of three children, was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her father was a prominent lawyer. Except for one year away at a nearby college and a trip with her sister to Washington, D.C., to visit her father when he was serving in Congress, she lived out her life, unmarried, in her parents' home.

During her trip to Washington, she met the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, a married man, whom she came to characterize as her "dearest earthly friend." Little is known of this relationship except that Dickinson's feelings for Wadsworth were strong. In 1862 Wadsworth moved to San Francisco, an event that coincided with a period of Dickinson's intense poetic creativity. Also in that year, she initiated a literary correspondence with the critic T. W. Higginson, to whom she sent some of her poems for his reactions. Higginson, although he recognized her talent, was puzzled by her startling originality and urged her to write more conventionally.

Unable to do so, she concluded, we may surmise, that she would never see her poems through the press. In fact, only seven of her poems were published while she was alive, none of them with her consent. After her death, the extraordinary richness of her imaginative life came to light with the discovery of her more than one thousand lyrics.

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