Talk:Emily Dickinson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Featured article Emily Dickinson is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on June 22, 2009.
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Poetry (Rated FA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Poetry, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Poetry on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject United States / Massachusetts (Rated FA-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Massachusetts (marked as Mid-importance).
WikiProject Biography / Arts and Entertainment (Rated FA-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the arts and entertainment work group.
WikiProject LGBT studies / Person  (Rated FA-class)
WikiProject icon This article is of interest to WikiProject LGBT studies, which tries to ensure comprehensive and factual coverage of all LGBT-related issues on Wikipedia. For more information, or to get involved, please visit the project page or contribute to the discussion.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the LGBT Person task force.
Note icon
This article has had a peer review which is now archived.
WikiProject Women's History (Rated FA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Women's History, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Women's history and related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
News This article has been mentioned by a media organisation:

Edit request from, 24 March 2011[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}} In the line "They had three children:THEY ALL DIED OF STD'S" Please remove the "THEY ALL DIED OF STD'S" This is not true and detracts from the article. Thank you. (talk) 16:18, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Done by User:Golgofrinchian. — Bility (talk) 23:36, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Possible Reason for Emily's Reclusiveness[edit]

Much has been made of Emily Dickinson's increasing reluctance, from about her middle years onward, to leave her family home. For the last several years of her life, she never left it. Reasons such as extreme shyness, agorophobia, or even heavy household duties have been suggested. Although all three of these may have played a part, some lines in her poems and in her letters suggest that an exacerbating factor was Emily's conviction that she was very plain. Her famous line, in a letter, that her eyes resembled "the sherry left in the glass" is sadly telling. The one authenticated daguerreotype of her shows a woman who was not conventionally pretty, according to the notions of the time. Her extreme sensitivity to others' reactions, and her love of beauty, may have combined to cause her to avoid human contact with all except close family members. It's difficult to know any other reason which would cause her to speak to visitors from behind a cracked door. Younggoldchip (talk) 20:02, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

Interesting theory, but this isn't the place for it -- talk pages are meant to discuss/improve the article at hand, not to post personal opinions. If you have ideas as to how to improve how the article approaches the subject of Dickinson's eccentricities, please provide some reliable sources to back up your assertions. María (habla conmigo) 02:54, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually, judging by numerous other Wikipedia articles, this is exactly the place for it. I have read long speculations on whether melted cheese on toast should be called Welsh Rarebit or Welsh Rabbit, based entirely on the writer's childhood recollections; on whether James Dean was gay, bi- or straight, depending on some past lover's wishful thinking; on the genetic descent of the Sami tribes in Scandinavia; on whether Thomas Jefferson did or did not father Sally Hemings' children, based again on the writer's wishes; and on vast numbers of other opinions, sometimes amounting to the demented and fantastic. My suggestion that Dickinson became reclusive because she perceived herself as being unsightly, is well within the standards of Wikipedia Younggoldchip (talk) 12:51, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Your suggestion is not valid unless you have reliable sources; otherwise, it's original research and therefore has no place in the article. To clarify my previous statement, your initial comment did not mention the current state of the article, or the fact that you wished to add/clarify facts. As such, it seemed off topic, which is why I pointed you to WP:TALK. Again, if you wish to insert something into the article, please provide reliable sources. Thanks, María (habla conmigo) 12:59, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Hello, here's a second opinion (sorry its so long, ignore everything in brackets to find a concise version)

(1) quote <<Much has been made of increasing reluctance(...) to leave her family home (...)It's difficult to know any other reason which would cause her to speak to visitors from behind a cracked door (...)>>

The article, IMO, should mention that people have tried to solve the 'mystery' of her seclusion, as some sources think there must be a theory that explains her later seclusion (isn't epliepsy mentioned?). Others sources think it is more or less understandable that she would choose to live that way. (no-one likes to be disturbed when they are thinking hard, and perhaps she was always thinking hard; or maybe, with a sensibility like ED's, she found a little goes a long way - why visit a volcano when you can imagine one? why see a person, when you can remember one?)

(2) quote <<some lines in her poems and in her letters suggest (...)>>

(My thoughts would be that there are enough academics who have studied her letters and works that no theory is likely to be both 'original' and 'good', just one of the two. You had 'primary evidence', by the sound of it, but I can't comment as <<Her famous line (...)"the sherry left in the glass">> isn't one I know. But anyhow, proof she thought she was plain isn't proof that this played the role you describe. I think the theory is flimsy - she apparently had no difficulty being sociable in her youth.)

But far more important for this Talk Page is the question of reliable sources for this theory. Someone more experienced can tell you if this is correct, but my impression is that on Wikipedia neither you, I, Maria, or a leading scholar are considered competent in reading poetry, so even if there was consensus from all contributors on a talk page that the primary sources corroborate your theory, (ie consensus that <<some lines in her poems and in her letters suggest>> the 'lack of physical beauty' and this is an explanation for reclusiveness,) it would not make up for a lack or 'reliable source' as defined by wikipedia policy. (Perhaps you had thought that quoting letters of ED would constitute a source, and Maria didn't specifically discuss that.)

(3) from Maria <<talk pages are meant to discuss/improve the article at hand>> Form ygc <<Actually, judging by numerous other Wikipedia [Talk Pages]>> <<(...) well within the standards of Wikipedia [talk pages] >>

And the discussion on 'why only one photo?' below on this talk page shows, people like to help when they think it will be appreciated. But Wikipedia has policies and it has people with authority. And surely, the gist of what Maria said above - if the talk pages were a forum, it would soon get out of hand - is right. But in cases like the 'why one photo discussion' and the person who posted the below and the person who replied with what he(/she?) was looking for, people may choose to follow policy, they may choose not to, and it doesn't always receive a criticism when they don't. I expect it is sometimes about personality, goodwill, common sense, and understanding or misunderstanding someone's intentions: - Found on a talk page: <<Could some one please help me?.Im looking for a short preface to a poetry book that i read to my wife 18yr. ago when i ask her to merry me.>> )

sorry that was so long, but the original discussion was clearly thoughtful so I gave it a second opinion. I don't think it deserves further discussion. 33gsd (talk) 00:22, 21 September 2012 (UTC) edit because i wrote poor information/out-of place opinions01:43, 21 September 2012 (UTC)33gsd (talk) 02:05, 21 September 2012 (UTC)33gsd (talk) 02:13, 21 September 2012 (UTC) there. 33gsd (talk) 02:13, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

Dont know if THIS helps at all, but.... Emily was a Sagittarius. They're philosophers, observers. Critics etc, speak of her darkness, depression and morbidity... "Dickinson was troubled from a young age by the "deepening menace" of death..." Ha! I say...think Woody Allen (Dec 1st, 1935), and his obsession w/ Death and the Meaning/Purpose of Life.

Removal of Gura photo[edit]

The "Gura photo" alleged to be of Emily Dickinson has been thoroughly discredited and should be removed from this page.Gusgus621 (talk) 21:25, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Do you have a credible source saying as much? I personally don't see how it does much harm, since the caption does say it's "supposedly one of only two known photographs of Emily Dickinson", but a source would help. María (yllosubmarine) 03:14, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

George Gleason published an article in the Fall 2009 issue of The Emily Dickinson Journal in which he concludes: "Based on this significant input, and as set out in detail in the report, the results of the inquiry are clear. First, the provenance constructed for Gura’s photograph rests on multiple and conflicting hypotheses that are unsupported by any direct or circumstantial facts. Second, significant facial characteristics of the woman in the Gura photograph that are used to establish identity do not match those observable in the authentic Dickinson daguerreotype. Many of these Dickinson features appear to be hereditary since they also are evident in the photos of other Dickinson family members. Finally, the experts agree that Gura’s mere belief, unsupported by any evidence, that the sitter in his photograph looks like the young Emily Dickinson is not sufficient to establish identity."

Gleason, George. "Is It Really Emily Dickinson?" The Emily Dickinson Journal. Volume 18, Number 2, Fall 2009, pp. 1-20.

Gusgus621 (talk) 15:19, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Awesome, thanks! I read the article with great interest via Project Muse, and I think it's more than enough reason to pull it from this article. Regrettably, the image is still present at Wikipedia Commons, and is used on other language versions of Dickinson's article. This is also the case with the infamous photoshopped portrait, complete with curly hair and frilled collar, which is still available for use and is also listed in the commons Emily Dickinson category. I'm not too familiar with practices at Commons, so I'm afraid I'm not much help there. I've replaced Gura's image with a photo of the Evergreens, and also updated the image description at the commons to include a citation to Gleason's essay from The Emily Dickinson Journal. Thanks again! María (yllosubmarine) 15:17, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

I believe that removal of the Gura photo was unnecessary because although it has not been authenticated anyone can see that it looks a lot more like Emily Dickinson's earlier photo than the one on Wikipedia at this time -- the photo of ED sitting next to her friend. I am glad to know from Mr. Gura himself, via email on November 14, 2013, that the photo is being kept secured at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass. Both photos should be available for viewing on Wikipedia, especially since a reader might notice something that would assist in this discussion.Nasusan (talk) 02:38, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

Editors of Dickinson's work[edit]

Gusgus621 (talk) 21:17, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

I propose that the descriptions of both the Todd/Higginson and Johnson editions be revised. Specifically, I suggest that the phrase "both of whom heavily edited the content." be removed from the description of the Todd/Higginson edition at the top of the page. I also suggest that it is inaccurate to describe Johnson's edition as "A complete and mostly unaltered collection." Even Franklin's edition is deeply flawed in its presentation of Dickinson's work.

ALL of the editors of Dickinson's poetry have "heavily edited the content" and ALL of them have altered Dickinson's work. Just as Todd and Higginson edited Dickinson to suit the tastes of the popular market of the 1890s, so too did Johnson and Franklin edit her work to suit the tastes of 20th-century academia. One need only compare the image of Amherst College MS 450 (Franklin 1512) to Franklin's transcription to see the degree to which he altered Dickinson's work: he changed line breaks, omitted the three long dashes between stanzas, and failed to note the basic fact that this poem about a house is written on a piece of paper shaped like a house. ( Other editorial practices, such as extracting poems from letters, alter Dickinson's original works substantially.

Although the Franklin edition is flawed, it is curious that the article focuses more attention on Johnson's work and doesn't even mention Franklin's variorum edition of 1998.

It is also striking that this article makes absolutely no mention of Millicent Todd Bingham, who published five books and numerous articles on Dickinson between 1931 and 1955. By omitting Bingham, this article ignores her substantial contributions to our knowledge of Dickinson. Her articles about Dickinson's prose fragments (The New England Quarterly, September 1955) and dating manuscripts based on changes in Dickinson's handwriting (The New England Quarterly, June 1949) are important works of Dickinson scholarship that predate both Johnson and Franklin.

An understanding of the full publication history of Dickinson's work is essential to understanding the poetry itself. This article misrepresents the work of Dickinson's editors and should be revised.

Thanks for your input, you make some great suggestions. Keep in mind, however, that the lead section merely serves as a summary of the article; so if the (perhaps poorly worded) descriptions of both Todd/Higginson and Johnson's editions were to be removed from the introduction, these sentiments would still be mentioned, fleshed out and supported by sources further in the article. I can understand there being a kind of prolonged smear campaign against Todd and Higginson's work, seeing as how sensitive the Dickinson/Todd issue continues to be -- I wouldn't be surprised if some of the sources we used here are strictly anti-Todd, and therefore favor later editions over hers. If you could provide reliable, third-party sources that say other than what is already noted in the article, that would be very helpful. Otherwise, I'll see what I can do.
As for Millicent Todd Bingham, I agree entirely. I'll see if I can find a source or to and write up a blurb -- unless you had one in mind? Perhaps she can be mentioned soon after Martha Dickinson Bianchi, who has a small paragraph in the posthumous publication section. Lastly, Franklin's 1998 variorum edition is mentioned (in the "Structure and syntax" section), but it's easy to miss; maybe we should move it so it's more prominent? María (yllosubmarine) 03:31, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
I've made some alterations/additions with this edit. Let me know what you think. María (yllosubmarine) 16:04, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

I think the revisions are appropriate and much more accurate. Thank you. The one thing I might suggest adding is something after the sentence "The first scholarly publication came in 1955 with a complete new three-volume set edited by Thomas H. Johnson. It formed the basis of all later Dickinson scholarship." I think it's important to note specifically that Johnson was the first editor to have access to manuscripts held by both Bianchi and Bingham.Gusgus621 (talk) 14:15, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Good idea, that wasn't made clear before. I've clarified as follows: "The first scholarly publication came in 1955 with a complete new three-volume set edited by Thomas H. Johnson. Forming the basis of later Dickinson scholarship, Johnson's variorum brought all of Dickinson's known poems together for the first time. Johnson's goal was to present the poems very nearly as Dickinson had left them in her manuscripts." If anything else needs to be added/clarified, don't hesitate to say. If you can also think of some noteworthy sources to add, that would also be great. Thanks again! María (yllosubmarine) 14:32, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Why is there only one known photo of her?[edit]

The article doesn't answer the one big question: how could it be possible that there is only one known photograph of Emily Dickinson is she was/is such famous person? --Lecen (talk) 22:06, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Hi, Lecen. Dickinson only became famous after her death. As such, there was no publicity or critical attention while she was living; by the time she was recognized as a famous American poet, it was obviously too late to photograph her. Also keep in mind that photographs were a rare occasion for folk during this time period, unlike today -- we're lucky to have the one authenticated portrait, really. María (yllosubmarine) 01:24, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Hi, María. Thank you for answering. Still, she lived until 1886, and by then photographs were far more common and cheap when compared to daguerreotypes in the 1840s. Is there an explanation by scholars for the lack of photos or paintings of her? Perhaps they were simply lost or forgotten in the basement of a distant relative? --Lecen (talk) 13:58, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't know of any scholarly explanation for why there is only one photograph, but I don't think one is truly needed -- I think the article adequately puts the sparse facts of Dickinson's life into context. While she did in fact live until 1886, she was largely a recluse for much of that time. From the late-1850s until her death, she never left her childhood home, which would have made visits to a photography studio very difficult. The Dickinsons obviously didn't own a camera of their own (again, indicative of the time), and Emily herself received very few visitors. The photograph we have of her was taken while she was still at school, when she was 17 or so. However, when Thomas Wentworth Higginson asked her to send him a photograph of herself in the mid-1860s, she said she didn't have one and instead described her looks in the delicate, poetic manner quoted in the article. Maybe she didn't like the photo taken of her when she was a teen (Wolff believes as much), or maybe she truly didn't remember having taken it. Either way, that's as much as we've got: there's only one authenticated photograph of Dickinson. María (yllosubmarine) 14:31, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I see. Thank you very much. I know we aren't supposed to turn this into a forum but I really wanted to know more about this subject. Thank you very much, María. --Lecen (talk) 15:56, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

New photo discovered?[edit]

Should we include it in the article? Vividonset2 (talk) 02:46, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Interesting! Thanks for linking it here. It seems that the image hasn't been thoroughly authenticated, so I don't think we should add it just yet. It may turn out to be a false alarm, like others before it. María (yllosubmarine) 12:19, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Why not link to it? The article has no problem speculating about mere possibilities like a late-life affair; why not speculate about a photograph? The Shakespeare article leads off with the Chandos portrait, which it specifies as unauthenticated. --Tbanderson (talk) 16:03, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
I know this is not a reliable source since I created this image myself, but check this out. It's the two faces transposed against each other. Perfect match. I anticipate there will be an authentication. --Jprg1966 (talk) 18:11, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Related to the new photo: what about her friend who appears with her ( Kate Scott Turner)? Why is there no mention of her in the main article? More info here: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

In September 2012, the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections unveiled this daguerreotype, proposing it to be Dickinson and her friend Kate Scott Turner (ca. 1859). It has not been authenticated yet.[1]

Proposed image and caption (with source) to the right. Thoughts? María (yllosubmarine) 02:26, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, something like that is fine. I suspect it will be authenticated unless it's a fraud, so we'll have to keep an eye on it, or who ever brought it here can keep us updated. Truthkeeper (talk) 02:38, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Reverted picture[edit]

Yllosubmarine has reverted to a version of the photo which I believe isn't good enough. It's heavily retouched, black and white and small. I added the one that looks exactly as how the daguerreotype actually is, as if someone had it right in front of him or her. Not only that, the picture is large and of high quality. --Lecen (talk) 20:57, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Sigh. You know, there's so many versions of this one image, it seems that not everyone is going to be pleased. I prefer Dickinson daguerreotype.jpg this image, which has been in the lead for several years, but the current image is a retouched version created by another user. It's slightly blurry for my taste, but I thought it a better retouched version than this one added earlier today. My change was to compromise, but apparently it wasn't taken that way.
Lecen, IMHO, while the image you added is indeed large, it's also extremely dark, which obscures Dickinson's features. I think that whatever image represents this FA should at the very least ensure the subject of the image is visible. Perhaps a better compromise would be to retouch the .png file you uploaded so that it doesn't appear so very dark? María (yllosubmarine) 01:05, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I see now that the restored image added today is a retouched version of the .png. Sorry I didn't pick up on that sooner. I'm kind of at a loss; I don't think either version is an adequate representation, but what do I know? María (yllosubmarine) 01:09, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Ihe picture isn't dark: it's exactly how the daguerreotype looks like. Here is the photography with frame. That's how it looks like. That's the correct photo. Those other retouched pictures at Commons made her look like a ghost. We should have the picture as it is, not retouched. Here is a link to the actual daguerreotype so that anyone can see how it actually looks like. --Lecen (talk) 01:42, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I disagree, but I see you've already changed the image back to the one you prefer. You've also added the newly discovered image, without a source. I guess I'll work on that, then. On a side note, your image is still dark and the newly discovered one is still unauthenticated. María (yllosubmarine) 00:51, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
The link given above was taken from directly from the Amherst College Archives & Special Collections, where the daguerreotype is presently located. Thus, it was not taken from a blog, from any website or similar. That is the daguerreotype as it looks. Not retouched. About the 1859 dagurreotype, I mentioned in my edit: "This one might be actually controversial, so I will understand if there is opposition to it". Thus, if other editors are believe this second daguerreotype needs to be removed, I will agree. However, it does not make sense to have a retouched picture of the first daguerreotype when we have a perfect digital copy of it. --Lecen (talk) 01:01, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm okay keeping the newly discovered image since more than one person thinks it merits inclusion. It just needed a source and a better worded caption, which I've just added.
However, I still have issues with the image you've placed in the lead. You say it was taken directly from the Amherst College website, but the source is 404 - Not Found. Typo? Also, you asked someone to edit it from its original version -- so I guess this image isn't exactly a "perfect digital copy" of the original daguerreotype, is it? ;) If removing a couple dark spots and the gold matting is kosher, then why isn't simply lightening the image itself so as to make the subject's features more clear? I would love to hear other people's opinions on this choice, if that's okay. Admittedly, my opinion is based on years of having tended this article, so I'm not exactly impartial. María (yllosubmarine) 01:15, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
See here. Scroll down. Here is the direct link. "Admittedly, my opinion is based on years of having tended this article..." Spare me of FA nominator ownership. Do you want to keep the crappy picture? Fine. I rather prefer not to waste time. --Lecen (talk) 01:23, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
My point was that the source in the image description is incorrect. 404 error. I also said I was okay with the addition of the newly discovered image, I offered to open the floor to others, and I admitted I'm not impartial. No need for hostility. María (yllosubmarine) 01:35, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I've been watching all of this with some sort of bemusement. First, the newly discovered image is interesting and I have to say, it sure looks like Emily Dickinson. I'd suggest adding it with a source and longish caption - or a note can be added in the caption to explain its origin, that it's not yet been authenticated yet, etc.
  • Re the lead image: I like the one that's there. I think when the other one, the one in the gold frame, went to the graphics lab it came out a bit too dark. It's certainly much darker than the current image and on my computer her face wasn't visible against the background. But as they're the same image but both slightly doctored, it's really not a big deal since it's only image to use in the lead. If Lecen thinks the current one makes her look like a ghost and Maria thinks his looks too dark, then the thing is to have the graphics lab rework it. The image Lecen added had more of a yellow tinge characteristic of a daguerreotype, but that can be lightened. On this talk page we can put up lots of different versions until we find one that everyone likes.

Anyway, some else weighing in. Truthkeeper (talk) 01:44, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Editor Yllosubmarine's arguments for retaining the much clearer version of the original daguerreotype are very convincing, especially since the obscured substitute had itself undergone editing. Editor Lecen is working his way through all other Wikipedia articles (about six so far) where this image appears, substituting "his" image. This is not too important since anyone wishing to see what Emily Dickinson actually looked like will come to the present article first. (talk) 01:53, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
121.73, I agree that most people looking for a pictorial representation of Dickinson will come here first. Wherever they go, however, I'd much rather they see a high quality image, which is why I'm glad this discussion is taking place! María (yllosubmarine) 02:07, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks so much for adding the gallery, TK. Great idea. I added one restored version of the image by another user, who lightened and removed the scratches completely. When it was added to the article a few months ago by the image's creator, I balked because I thought it was too restored. Lecen's version is much higher quality in that it is a far better scan than most of what is on Commons. However, as TK points out, its darkness obscures Dickinson's face while in thumbnail size in the lead. It looks great large, but terrible small. (Also, is it just me, or does the thumbnail of the gold-matted version look sharper than the retouched version?) My proposal at the start of this thread -- that this new version simply be lightened -- would be my ideal solution to this issue, but again, I'm interested in what others think. María (yllosubmarine) 02:21, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
The pre-graphic labs version looks sharper to me, but I do like to see the sepia. That said, it is very dark - but I think it can be fixed. I have a program on my computer that allows me to adjust sepia levels and lightness levels so I'll download it and play around with it a bit and see where I get. It would be better to start with the original, so I'll have to find that at Amherst. Give me a few days to do that, and no promises. Truthkeeper (talk) 02:36, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Adding, I've just realized that image is from Yale, and it looks like the one that was on the page - no sepia. The link is here. I wouldn't argue with Yale; and I'd stay with this Yale image. Truthkeeper (talk) 01:00, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
While these commendable efforts at achieving a quality outcome continue, someone is systematically working through all the other Wikipedia articles where the Emily Dickinson picture appears (whether in English or other languages) deleting the previous clear image and substituting the very dark one. Any French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, Russian or Polish reader who is interested in an internationally renowned poet will now have to settle for an opaque version of what she looked like. (talk) 12:03, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
First, the Yale image is a photographic print of the original daguerreotype, which is held by Amherst. I'm also in favor of sticking with the Yale version, although the switch to the "better" original version is what spurred this entire discussion.
Second, I'm not a fan of campaigns on Wikipedia, whether they be for their own sake or against someone else and their own campaign. This talk page is to discuss this article, not the large collection of Dickinson articles across all of Wiki. The Spanish version of this article, for example, has many falsehoods throughout, including several unauthenticated portraits, but I don't participate there; I participate here. This article is what I'm concerned about, and it's actually what we're discussing. The other Wikis can make their own choices about what image to display. María (yllosubmarine) 14:38, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

Critics write that ED found her father overbearing[edit]

I read it in several reliable sources. Critics seemed to think this was a pretty important thing, eg if they pick a handful of significant things from her biography to discuss, like religion, possible lovers, experiences of seeeing aquantances die, they usually include this. It should be easy to find references among the secondary literature on ED. I no longer have access to resources (ie library, online databases), so if someone else could find references, it would be possible for more information on how ED saw her father to be added to the article.

The main things they mention in their discussions are (a) ED learning to read a clock and (b)the father's restriction of reading material. I don't remember which primary sources they quote, I would assume letters. If anyone needs help in finding references, I can suggest where to look.

many thanks 33gsd (talk) 22:08, 20 September 2012 (UTC) edit to be more clear33gsd (talk) 01:53, 21 September 2012 (UTC)and slightly more logical33gsd (talk) 01:57, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

Johnson source?[edit]

At the top of #Poetry, there are notes pointing to a "Johnson" source, and yet that source is not listed on the secondary sources. Perhaps it should be added? Thanks! chiefboztalk 16:11, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

It's listed under "Poetry Editions" I believe. ∴ ZX95 [discuss] 16:17, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg Thank you, I totally didn't see that. chiefboztalk 19:20, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Was Emily Dickinson a Christian? Katey68.112.71.234 (talk) 02:51, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Dickinson Photo - Amherst College Archive[edit]

Now that Gura’s “cute” Emily Dickinson [1] has been “thoroughly discredited” (prematurely posted on this site) - we are offered what Mike Kelly, Head of Archives & Special Collections at Amherst College, anticipates will be an authentic second photo of the adult Dickinson “beyond reasonable doubt”.

This, then, may provide an opportunity to inspect Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s appraisal of Dickinson’s face, based a visit to her home on August 16, 1870. He reported that she possessed “no good feature” in letter written to his wife that same day.

Emily Dickinson first submitted her poetry to Higginson in April of 1862, while he was the literary critic for the Atlantic Monthly and widely recognized as a radical abolitionist. Dickinson no doubt was aware that this intrepid former Unitarian minister had stormed a federal courthouse to free the slave Anthony Burns in 1854, procured supplies and money – as a member of the Secret Six - to support John Brown’s assault on Harper’s Ferry in 1859, and defied threats by the slave power to prosecute him for his deeds. During the American Civil War, he would lead the 1st South Carolina Volunteers (Union), a combat regiment comprised of former bondsmen. President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis proclaimed that captured black enlisted men would be auctioned off as slaves; their white officers summarily hanged.

Dickinson offered her poems to this man of affairs – encouraged by his request thereof in the Atlantic Monthly, leading to their encounter at Dickinson’s home eight years later. Higginson offered a more expanded description of the poet in his 1891 article in the Atlantic Monthly shortly after Dickinson’s first collection of poems were published. He described Dickinson’s appearance this way:

"...After a delay, I heard an extremely faint pattering footstep like that of a child, in the hall, and in glided, almost noiselessly, a plain, shy little person, the face without a single good feature, but with eyes, as she herself said, 'like the sherry the guest leaves in the glass', and with smooth bands of reddish chestnut hair.”

We are now in possession of an artifact which may – or may not - provide proof of Higginson’s “discerning” eye, pending verification of Mr. Kelly’s claims for the newly discovered photo – an eye perhaps for physical appearances, but, alas, not for poetic genius. (Source: Linscott, Robert N. (Editor).1959. Selected Poems and Letters of Emily Dickinson. Anchor Books, New York. ISBN 0-385-09423-X )

Doubts have been raised about this photo:

36hourblock (talk) 20:58, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

Emily's Manuscripts[edit]

(To be added in the portion of the article Poetry, under the subtitle structure and syntax) However, scholars argue if it is even possible to grasp the depth of Emily's poems in typeset. In her original manuscripts there are tiny crosses or x's noting another one of her major poetic experiments. Dickinson’s editing process often focused on word choice rather than on experiments with form or structure. She recorded variant wordings with a “+” footnote on her manuscript. Sometimes words with radically different meanings are suggested as possible alternatives. Because Dickinson did not publish her poems, she did not have to choose among the different versions of her poems, or among her variant words, to create a "finished" poem. This lack of final authorial choices posed a major challenge to Dickinson’s subsequent editors.[2]

Edit request on 21 April 2013[edit]

I think there is a typo/spelling mistake. Please change "complied" to "compiled" in the following sentence about Dickenson's herbarium: "The original work was complied by Dickinson during her years at Amherst Academy". Babyaardvark (talk) 17:45, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

Done. Thanks for pointing it out. BryanG (talk) 06:12, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

quote problem[edit]

There's a quote problem in the section about Susan:

Sue was supportive of the poet, playing the role of "most beloved friend, influence, muse, and adviser" whose editorial suggestions Dickinson sometimes followed, Susan played a primary role in Emily's creative processes."[46]

I can't quite figure it out, and am loath to fiddle with something that may include two quotes. Someone else who's been working on this perhaps can disentangle it? --Lquilter (talk) 02:28, 10 May 2013 (UTC)


I do not understand the request to keep an infobox from this article. I also maintain that there is no such thing as a "primary editor" on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a collaborative effort. Many of us have added more substantially to a particular article than anyone else, but that does not give us any kind of overarching right to systematically keep others from adding or editing in the future, unless it is to prevent vandalism. That being said, here are my reasons for including an infobox for Dickinson's page: Infoboxes serve as immediate sources of basic information for those who simply want a bird's-eye view of the person and his or her contributions. And despite what was written about infoboxes being "not necessary," they are standard to add for all biographies on Wikipedia. Dickinson's not having one makes her page seem incomplete. Another specific reason to add: Infoboxes show age at death for deceased persons without the reader needing to scroll and find that information buried elsewhere in the article. Personally, I see no reason why we shouldn't convert the existing image + caption into a basic infobox with the same information plus birth and death dates and locations. Would love to hear opinions from a variety of editors on this...Thanks. Girona7 (talk) 19:32, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

"Edward Dickinson built a house for himself and Sue called the Evergreens"[edit]

That seems off. (talk) 22:45, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Name Typo: Susan's Husband/Emily's Brother Misidentified As Edward On Multiple Occasions, Building Incorrectly Attributed To Austin/Edward[edit]

There appear to be at least three cases in which Emily's brother, Austin, is accidentally given the name of his son and father, Edward. It led to a bit of bewilderment when I was reading the article and suddenly found Susan to be marrying Edward Dickinson, Emily's father. Not only that but it seems this mistake has led to additional confusion, specifically on the subject of his home The Evergreens. I don't think I'm allowed to edit the article for whatever reason, so I thought I'd just leave this note and hope someone who is able to do so can make the change. It just appears to be the case of mistaken identity so I assume the change should be easy to make. Anyway, the three times I caught it were:

- Under 'ADULTHOOD & SECLUSION', second paragraph about midway through. It's linked to footnote 47. Here, Austin and Edward seem to have gotten mixed up and also given credit for building The Evergreens when the house is famously designed by William Fenno Pratt (all of this can be verified at the Emily Dickinson Museum website which is located at the property itself).

Currently reads: "Sue married Austin in 1856 after a four-year courtship, though their marriage was not a happy one. Edward Dickinson built a house for himself and Sue naming it the Evergreens, a stand of which was located on the west side of the Homestead"

Suggested Correction: "Sue married Austin Dickinson in 1856 after a four-year courtship, though their marriage was not a happy one. Austin had a home, named The Evergreens, built for himself and Sue on a piece of land located just west of the Homestead." -OR- "Sue married Austin in 1856 after a four-year courtship, though their marriage was not a happy one. Following the wedding, Edward Dickinson built a house located on the west side of the Homestead for his son and Sue naming it The Evergreens."

- Under 'ADULTHOOD & SECULSION', the text underneath the image of The Evergreens on the left side of the page. Technically this isn't incorrect, I just think it adds to the confusion caused by the above mentioned mistake. Also, nothing I've seen has really credited Edward with having built the house itself, although in this case I suppose that is simply referring to the fact that he had it built for Austin and Susan. Still, I feel like this could be much more direct.

Currently Reads: "The Evergreens, built by Edward Dickinson, was the home of Austin and Susan's family"

Suggested Correction: "The Evergreens, now the location of the Emily Dickinson Museum, was originally built as the home of Austin and Susan's family" -OR- "The Evergreens was the home of Austin, Susan and their three children: Edward, Martha, and Thomas Gilbert" -OR- "The Evergreens was the home of Austin and Susan's family"

- Under 'POSTHUMOUS', three paragraphs down, second sentence. This is the simplest case of wrongly attributed name, possibly caused by the last two errors as it's literally just 'Edward' were 'Austin' should be.

Currently Reads: "Martha Dickinson Bianchi, the daughter of Susan and Edward Dickinson, published collections of her aunt's poetry based on the manuscripts held by her family, whereas Mabel Loomis Todd's daughter, Millicent Todd Bingham, published collections based on the manuscripts held by her mother."

Suggested Correction: Martha Dickinson Bianchi, the daughter of Susan and Austin Dickinson, published collections of her aunt's poetry based on the manuscripts held by her family, whereas Mabel Loomis Todd's daughter, Millicent Todd Bingham, published collections based on the manuscripts held by her mother." Gildedmuse (talk)

  1. ^ 'The World Is Not Acquainted With Us': A New Dickinson Daguerreotype?" Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Website. September 6, 2012.
  2. ^ Emily Dickinson Museum, Emily Dickinson Museum. [Major Characteristics of Dickinson's Poetry "Major Characteristics of Dickinson's Poetry"] Check |url= scheme (help). Web article. Trustees of Amherst College. Retrieved 3/18/13.