Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1981. 1st Edition Thus. 2 vol., large octavo, publisher's yellow cloth, spines stamped in black.
Scholarly facsimile edition of Emily Dickinson's holograph manuscript books, being the majority of her poems as transcribed by her onto "fascicles," sheets of letter paper she tied together with string to create her own DIY book. Only a handful of Dickinson's nearly 1800 poems were published in her lifetime, with roughly a third of them seen through the press by her sister Lavinia and a cohort of family intimates in the years following her death in 1886. Disputes within the family, however, and with those tasked with editing the work, impeded further publication, with several piecemeal collections issued by the rival factions over the next half century, until the estate passed in its entirety to Harvard University. The present edition, prepared from Harvard's manuscripts, contains facsimile reproductions of every fascicle; a portion of the second volume, meanwhile, provides an extensive critical apparatus, itemizing and detailing each page, as well as the sequencing and history of the manuscripts. "A facsimile edition is of particular importance to Dickinson studies, for the manuscripts of this poet resist translation into the conventions of print. Formal features like her unusual punctuation and capitalization, line and stanza divisions, and display of alternate readings are a source of continuing concern. Because she saw no poem through the press [personally] and left her manuscripts unprepared for print, judgments must be informed by the manuscript conventions themselves" (from the introduction by Dickinson scholar and director of the Beinicke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale, R.W. Franklin). This presumed trade edition was simultaneously issued in a slipcased edition. Fine. Item #4572