[PDF] Open Me Carefully Emily Dickinson PDF (223 KB)

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Open Me Carefully Emily Dickinson PDF
Open Me Carefully Emily Dickinson PDF
No. Of Pages: 20
PDF Size: 223 KB
Language: English
Category: Ebooks and Novels
Author:  Emily Dickinson

Open Me Carefully Emily Dickinson Summary

Open Me Carefully features excerpts from Emily Dickinson’s letters to her sister-in-law and dear friend, Susan Huntington Dickinson. The book contains approximately 250 of the poet’s letters, poems, and hybrid writings—what Susan referred to as “letter poems”—as well as a limited number of existing notes from Susan to Emily. The correspondence spans 36 years (1850–1886) and includes twenty poems and one letter, newly identified as Susan’s. The collection is organised chronologically and includes brief introductions by the editors to each of the four chapters, as well as detailed textual annotations at the end.

The volume attests to Dickinson’s literary relevance as well as the poet’s flexible approach to genre. The book powerfully illustrates that the entire corpus of Dickinson’s writing must be regarded seriously by weaving the poems, letters, and letter poems together into one piece. Selection 102 (J288) is a spectacular example of the literary genius of what was formerly defined (and discounted) as a letter (“Sweet Sue,” “There is/no start, or last,/in Forever”). Furthermore, the editors make a compelling argument that Dickinson did not always assign rigorous genre differences in her work, despite the fact that most prior editions of her work focused on such divisions. The editors make sure Dickinson’s verse is firmly bound, both in form and substance, to the seemingly ordinary, daily currents of existence by including even the briefest personal lines to Susan that typically accompany the letter poems.

For many readers, the book will provide knowledge regarding the erasures and excisions of some of Dickinson’s missives to Susan for the first time; specifically, the elimination of Susan’s name as the recipient of manuscripts. The presence of these text mutilations is unmistakable and raises several problems. Hart and Smith argue that many of the excisions were carried out by Mabel Loomis Todd in order to diminish Susan’s relevance and disguise a deep bond between the poet and Susan. Such a theory is worth considering, but it requires proof to be taken seriously.

Among the book’s important topics are the editors’ beliefs regarding Susan being the target of Dickinson’s passion and as the poet’s principal literary critic and partner. Too frequently, Hart and Smith merely say — without providing evidence — that the poet’s letters to Susan are imbued with eroticism, an ardour that surpasses the private contacts between women in the nineteenth century. Surprisingly, Carroll Smith-Seminal Rosenberg’s article on the feminine realm of love and ritual is never tackled or even mentioned, leaving the reader with a somewhat one-sided, and hence intrinsically weaker, point of view.

Such baseless assumptions are made when someone says, “Her breast is suitable for pearls.” An example of such baseless assumptions is a remark on Dickinson’s poetry.Hart and Smith remark that “Sue” was removed from the verso and that Mabel Loomis Todd included the poem in her 1894 version of the Letters of Samuel Bowles correspondence. Loomis Todd, according to the editors, concealed a love poem for Susan through her machinations.The assertion begs the following fundamental questions: Is it a love letter? Is Susan the subject of the poem? Is it conceivable that the poem was delivered to Susan yet had nothing to do with her? What proof do you have that Loomis Todd “falsely” and, by extension, purposefully disguised Susan as the poem’s recipient? These concerns go unanswered.

The notion offered of Susan as Dickinson’s principal reader, critic, and collaborator is likewise not as thoroughly developed as one might expect. Certainly, the famous dialogue between the poet and Susan in “Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers” reveals that the poet did seek the advice of her sister-in-law on this occasion. It should be emphasised, however, that Dickinson did not follow Susan’s counsel in the versions of the poem she put into her fascicles, or in the one she later submitted to Thomas Wentworth.

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