Talk:Emily Dickinson/Archive 1

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Emily Dickinson External Link Deletion

I recently submitted a link to a website featuring a short film about a meeting between Emily and Higginson. The site also includes information strictly about Emily Dickinson. The link was removed, yet another link resides under the external links heading titled, "TV documentary," which curiously links to a synopsis of the documentary and distributor links to purchase a DVD. Why is this link still on the Wikipedia page? This link certainly violates the advertising and promotion rules of this encyclopedia.

Sprocketboy 02:32, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

"Bisexual Writers?"

Considering Emily Dickinson's sexual orientation is complete speculation (as is noted in the article and repeatedly in discussion), why is the article listed in the category "Bisexual Writers?"


I read somewhere that she wore only white in the last few years of her life... is this true or just an urban myth? If it's real, maybe someone should put it in.

I dont understand why people must point out that it is a bisexual part lf her life...if you have no proof then you shouldnt intend on putting that title on the site. Most people would just poke fun of ( and they shouldnt) Like i said before you shouldt put the title of bisexual under her name if you did not know she was. Untill you know the facts, dont put out the questionable.

Photo is copyrighted

The image of Dickinson that was formerly on this page is owned by the EMELYN of Amherst College and is not in the public domain.

Paul Statt Director of Media relations Amherst College

Wouldn't this fall under fair use?

Right now the photo is listed here as having an expired copyright: see [1]. At the least, it should either be deleted from there as well or justified as fair use. Sam 18:53, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Needs sources

Lots of info, but none cited. Needs references

Middle name

her middle name was Elizabeth, can someone put that in? yes yes

biography rewrite

put her middle name in!!! I intend to rewrite the biography (and romantic life) section of this article over the next week or two, since it's quite inadequate. Improvements before this gets done might be better focused on the poetry sections, though I'll try to preserve any good material. -- Rbellin|Talk 15:38, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Excellent idea. I hope the focus on her sexuality is considerably dimmed.

By all means let's erase and scissor out the facts. --Kstern999 19:15, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Why does the detailed list of her poems (here: ) say that she wrote exactly 1775 poems and supports that with "Johnson" numbers?

Removed text

I today removed this:

Dickinson lived to write a "letter to the world" that would express, to quote R.N.Linscott,im poems of absolute truth and of Henry James called "the landscape of the soul." If the cultivated taste of her own day failed to appreciate her genius, as both Samuel Bowles and Thomas Wentworth Higginson failed, the long day has passed and she has won the fame that "belonged" to her.

Because I couldn't make any sense of it. If you can, feel free to restore it. Naturenet | Talk 11:24, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

  • I think I can understand what this person was saying. on this paragraph the editor made references to Dickinson poems. For example, in one of Dickinson's poems she says something along the lines of, "If fame belonged to me then I could not stop it. If it did not, then the longest day would pass." In other words, this editor was trying to be poetic, but unless you are familiar with Dickinson's poems then you might not understand what is being communicated, so it's probably not best for this page. And it didn't seem to be very well communicated anyway. -- Andrew Parodi 09:59, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


It seems rather silly that almost half of this article is about Dickinson's sexuality, which is irrelevant and unsupported. It's certainly an interesting sidenote, but should something as trivial and thoroughly unproved really be such a significant part of this article?

This is the second longest section, yet it is entirely speculative. There is also no counter evidence given to supplement the "gay theory." similarity to Shakespeare's love sonnets to a young man, Lincoln's supposed homosexuality etc

I agree that this section needs work, and I had intended to rewrite it based on better and more varied sources but got sidetracked and ran out of time during my work on the Dickinson biography. It is not "speculative," however -- in fact, it's a purely factual summary of various Dickinson scholars' views on the subejct, and should be expanded to report more scholars' opinions. (Remember, WP:NPOV dictates that we report all relevant opinions on a matter such as Dickinson's sexuality.)
The section has also been subject to repeated vandalism and POV-pushing in the past. For now, I consider it a minimally acceptable placeholder that briefly discusses the issue and is fair and NPOV, but it will need rewriting and better sourcing in the future. I will take a crack at it myself if I am able, but other editors are (of course) also welcome to improve it. -- Rbellin|Talk 16:17, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

A suggestion

The page includes this negative review:

"She was neither a professional poet nor an amateur; she was a private poet who wrote as indefatigably as some women cook or knit. Her gift for words and the cultural predicament of her time drove her to poetry instead of antimacassars....She came, as Mr. Tate says, at the right time for one kind of poetry: the poetry of sophisticated, eccentric vision. That is what makes her good — in a few poems and many passages representatively great. But...the bulk of her verse is not representative but mere fragmentary indicative notation. The pity of it is that the document her whole work makes shows nothing so much as that she had the themes, the insight, the observation, and the capacity for honesty, which had she only known how — or only known why — would have made the major instead of the minor fraction of her verse genuine poetry. But her dying society had no tradition by which to teach her the one lesson she did not know by instinct."

I was thinking that maybe the page could close with some positive review of her work, as the article seems to narrate how Dickinson went from being unpopular in her day, to increasingly popular as the years went on. -- Andrew Parodi 09:59, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Andrew, I was just reading Blackmur's "Language as Gesture" this week and was surprised to the degree his conservative dogmatism seems to obscure him from a proper appreciation to the works, notably, of Hart Crane and Emily Dickinson. Blackmur is willing to see Dickinson (following Tate) as an anomaly, producing some great poetry, but vastly unsophisticated in her innovations of English meter, her nuance and re-definition of rhyme, assonance and other highly technical devices. In this sense Blackmur's views seem analogous to Eliot writing on Blake from "The Sacred Wood" (1922), admitting Blake as worthy of critical concern and interest but as a spinster, or native curiousity.

We need to show to what extent Dickinson not only joins Whitman as the greatest poet America has produced, in a consensus of critical and popular opinion, but also how many critics site Dickinson as the greatest female lyrical voice the West has yet produced. Adam Fitzgerald 02:01, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Yes, hopefully someone will include some more favorable review of Dickinson's work, so as to balance out this page. I don't know which to include, though. Hopefully, someone with more knowledge will insert the appropriate comments. -- Andrew Parodi 09:35, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
Another suggestion: Include which poems were published during her life. -- 15:26, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Characterizing the Poems

The article says: "Most of her work is reflective of life's small moments and some larger issues in society." Some might view this as a quite superficial reading of the poems. Read them all again, from start to finish, and you will have a totally different impression, one might suggest.

I want to urgently agree: "Most of the work is reflective of life's small moments..." this entirely naive and misleading. Adam Fitzgerald 02:01, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

This page is really a travesty; all I read are negative reviews of a poet who is now generally regarded as the greatest American poet (ok along with Whitman). Perhaps some quotes from Harold Bloom in his compendium "Genius" would offset this biased one-sided review. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:45, 5 November 2007 (UTC)


I don't quite understand how Mozart could have incorporated her poetry into his music, since he died before she was born.

Cao 01:06, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out -- it originally said Nick Peros, and the Mozart link was apparently an unfixed remnant of the frequent vandalism this article receives. -- Rbellin|Talk 02:12, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Article removed from Wikipedia:Good articles

This article was formerly listed as a good article, but was removed from the listing because the good article criteria section 2 is not met. Information is not verifiable for no references or citations to facts —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Say what? The article has an extensive references section, and all of the biographical information is drawn from the handful of standard Dickinson biographies. The good article criteria specifically state that inline citations are not required, and I have no idea how any stretch of the imagination could call the biographical information "not verifiable". -- Rbellin|Talk 18:13, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

[]Some thoughts. I'm new to Wikipedia, so I don't want to try to edit the article. I do have a few thoughts on ED and the article. I'm not sure if I'm doing this in the right format. Anyway:

1. I don't think the publication history should leave out mention that Mabel was ED's brother's (Austen)lover. It's interesting in its own right, and it explains the competition that went on between Mabel and Sue (Austen's wife) and their respective daughters over the publication of ED's poems up until Johnson's 1955 collected poems began to straighten things out.

2. Death and flowers were among ED's overriding poetic concerns, with the images often interlinked. I don't know what the copyright rules are, but the article should at least reference poems such as "I Could Not Stop for Death" and "After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes." How can there be an article about ED that does not include the word "death"? Or "daffodils"?

3. The article references her "sexual adventures." There is no evidence whatsoever that she had sexual adventures in modern terms. Her poetry is often erotic (cf. "Wild Nights"), and her feelings for Sue ("I want a Sue of my own") are an interesting area of speculation, but they will always remaif speculation.

4. I think the article should note that Franklin has published copies of the originals of the so-called (by Mabel) fascicles. One can see in ED's experimentation with her handwriting, arrangement, and the infamous dashes that the presentation of the poem was almost as important to her as the words. No one has yet come up with a coherent theory of ED's groupings within the fascicles, an interesting subject in itself.

4. It might be useful to include Archibald MacLeish's famous line, "we are all half in love with that dead girl."

5. I don't know where it might fit in the article, but her letters are as significant--and as often ellusive--as her poetry.

6. The article's opening line references Whitman. This is more subjective, but, to me, Whitman is only of historical interest. I think most people today find his poetry stilted and dated, while many people find Ed powerfully expressing, in her obscure way, their own longings and feelings and reaching for something outside themselves. She (perhaps along with Frost)is the Great American Poet, the one great contribution to world poetry.

I would like to help with the article, however I may.GlennS 07:13, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Still unbalanced

I feel this article still gives undue prominence to the controversy surrounding Dickinson's sexuality. Let's remember that Dickinson is notable as a poet, not as a putative lesbian. As a first step I am moving the poetry section to before the life section.. anyone who has any better ideas, feel free. Zargulon 15:47, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Just a suggestion. I noticed that they had the same problem for Abraham Lincoln. In that case all the discussion regarding Lincoln's sexuality was put into its own seperate article. 06:49, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

When did it all begin?

The article states that Dickinson found her vocation as a poet in the decades of 1840-1850.

Of course one might ask how many decades were there between 1840 and 1850. But more important is the fact that at the end of 1840, Dickinson was 10 years old. I have never heard of a person who found her or his vocation at that age.

R.W. Franklin provides a list of her poems distributed per year. According to this list, her first poems were written in 1850 (at the age of 20), and the last ones in the year of her death in 1886. This information should be included in "Poetry and influence".

Moved to new article

As almost half of this article was about Dickinson's sexuality, which is a matter of great controversy. I moved all the parts about Dickinson's sexuality to a new article Sexuality of Emily Dickinson I noticed they did the same thing on the Abraham Lincoln article. If anyone has serious objections feel free to change the article back and propose a better solution. Cyberrex7891 05:07, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

While I don't object to this approach (it's a matter of no consequence to me either way), there still needs to be a brief mention of the issue (say, a single paragraph) and a prominent link to the detailed article here. You can't just delete the issue from this article entirely. -- Rbellin|Talk 17:46, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

I added a link to Sexuality of Emily Dickinson and made a brief mention of the issue within the article Cyberrex7891 02:35, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

I just viewed the page and it said "POOOPY" at the end of the intro... so I reverted it, and I noticed that there's vandalism throughout the version I reverted it to.. Sorry... I'll try to fix it... If I'm doing something wrong, please tell me on my talk page... Kokoloko2k7 16:43, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

ok u cant just let anyone edit this info because it doesnt make it reliable then

Thanks for some reason this article seems to attract a lot of vandalism.Cyberrex7891 17:50, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

AFD on Sexuality of Emily Dickinson

Hi all. Following an AFD discussion at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Sexuality of Emily Dickinson, the content has been merged back into this article. If you do not wish to keep it, then edit it down, or get rid of it - you know better than I do how useful / reliable the info is, but it is not sufficient to stand alone as an article. Thanks. Proto:: 10:09, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Oh, why don't we replace the section with a statement like, "Nobody can prove that she wasn't a lesbian, so maybe she was"? And "Neither can college professors." And then we could create a shortcut tag like Template:Maybe-gay and automatically insert it into every article about a famous eccentric person. Mdmcginn 19:46, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

The Wikipedia Gay Lobby is at it again. Using the phrase "it has been argued that she may have been bisexual or lesbian," they have again smeared another famous person. The strategy is to make homosexuality seem normal. One tactic is to imply that many famous persons behaved in that immature, juvenile manner. There is never any direct proof, though. There are only smears and innuendoes. There absolutely is no direct, concrete, positive proof that Emily Dickinson was homosexual. Another tactic is to associate it with racial equality. With the media and educators on their side, it seems as though the Wikipedia Gay Lobby is unstoppable.Lestrade 18:45, 9 October 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

Emily Dickinson and "hermetic"

Hermetic means tightly sealed or closed. Figuratively this could apply to ED's life.

Hermitic means solitary or like a hermit. To my mind this is perhaps more directly applicable.

In any event I think the characterization of 'hermitic' as a misspelling is unwarranted.

Best regards for a happy New Year. Tex 03:48, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

(Presumably your comment was referring to this edit) I'm fine with changing the word to something else, but it's not a misspelling of "hermitic" to be corrected, and it doesn't mean "tightly sealed." It's clearly being used in what the OED gives as sense 2A, the broad sense transferred from Hermes Trismegistus "...unaffected by external influences, recondite." In this sense "hermetic" is actually a fairly commonly used adjective in descriptions of Dickinson. -- Rbellin|Talk 04:06, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

(See Wiktionary, too.) -- Rbellin|Talk 04:11, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

I was mistaken! Here I thought you had changed "hermitic" to "hermetic" on the grounds that the former was misspelled.
Instead it turns out that I told you that "hermetic" was misspelled!
Perhaps Mother was right, and all the years of girl-chasing, drinking, and driving too fast have affected my mind. Even now, looking at the history, it looks exactly as if you changed "hermitic" to "hermetic", and cited a misspelling in the summary! But my eyes must deceive me; probably the exertions of New Year's Eve have pushed me right over the edge.
Tex 20:44, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
It seemed to me that your change of "hermetic" to "hermitic" was premised on the belief that "hermitic" was meant and that it had simply been misspelled. My edit summary clearly did not adequately convey this, and it seems that I was wrong and it was meant as a rewording, but one that happened to change only one letter. "Hermetic" in the sense of "obscure" is commonly used to describe Dickinson (though more appropriate to her work than her life, really), and though a bit reclusive, she was definitely not a hermit. -- Rbellin|Talk 20:52, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
It wasn't I who changed "hermetic" to "hermitic".
Tex 21:03, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Sorry about the confusion and the inadequate edit summary, then. -- Rbellin|Talk 21:09, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Not to worry. Since you mention the OED, I derived some amusement from an example they quote of the use of "hermitic", which mentions Mallarmé entering "a hermitic seclusion". An odd thing to say about Mallarmé!
Tex 21:38, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Reference descriptions

I'm replacing detailed descriptions (that I wrote quite some time ago) of many of the books in the References section. (These were cut by User:Red Darwin in a quick series of massive changes to the article more than a year ago without discussion.) Since Wikipedia is not paper, I see no reason why the Refs section ought not to provide more detailed information to readers who want to find more books on Dickinson. -- Rbellin|Talk 21:09, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

User:Ruakh just re-deleted the book descriptions with the edit summary "rm editorializing; the thought was a good one, but then we'd need to provide references to support our characterizations of our references." This makes no sense to me, since the descriptions are not controversial in any way I can see, nor do they depart from basic common knowledge among scholars (and if they become controversial, they should be changed). It seems clearly helpful (to an uninformed reader) to provide brief annotations describing the best-known sources on Dickinson. The rest of the article is in a fairly shoddy state with respect to citation (and to writing, and to accuracy); why pick out this text for peremptory deletion rather than pursuing the worthy goal of better citation for the whole article? -- Rbellin|Talk 22:06, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Fair enough. It seems silly to me to have references for claims about our references, but as you seem quite convinced that we need to make claims about our references, and I'm not strongly opposed to having references for claims about our references, I've added {{cn}} tags to those claims that seem like they require some sort of reference. When you have a chance, please add relevant citations for these claims. —RuakhTALK 23:41, 1 January 2007 (UTC)


This article's references are in a terrible state and have been for a while, judging based on this talk page. Although there is a references section, it does not in any way follow the guidelines for one given at WP:CITE. Currently, anyone could claim anything is not supported, and there is no way to know whether they are right or wrong. Many of these statements seem unsupported, and the references section as it is now does little to help. --Chris Griswold () 13:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, that was based on the references list that this article apparently used to have, based on a link from a previous discussion on the subject. Why is this list gone? --Chris Griswold () 13:49, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Anyone Know About Her Opinion On This?

I have heard that Emily Dickinson did not hold Walt Whitman in high regard and she considered him to be "uncultured" or "uncivilized." Since she and Walt Whitman are considered to be "two quintessential American poets of the 19th century" I think that tidbit should be added in if it can be verified. Alas, the place I heard it from (which is a reliable source) isn't one that is verifiable. (Word of mouth, actually.) Does anyone know of any legit verifiable sources that would back this up? -WarthogDemon 23:53, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

She did not. In fact she stated, "I never read his book- but was told that he was disgraceful." She never read him, but was warned agaisnt his style. She thought he was better left unread. Willie Stark 20:46, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
In that case, is it possible to mention it within the article using a good source? -WarthogDemon 00:40, 10 March 2007 (UTC)


After trawling through the article's history again to restore content deleted by vandals several months ago, I've come to the conclusion that we aren't adequately keeping up with the constant flood of schoolchildren vandalizing this article -- so I've requested semi-protection for it. -- Rbellin|Talk 17:30, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I feel this article is nearing the point where it needs to be protected again. Thoughts? - AKeen 17:55, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Biography section

The introduction should probably be broken up into an introduction, and the biography stuff should be moved into a bio/background section. Anyone object? -- Joe056 14:17, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

I moved some of the intro stuff to the bio section. Now that the intro is shorter, now it could handle a sentence or two summarizing her influence on 20th century poetry. I'd do this, but... I have no idea what it is. -- Joe056 23:27, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Complete rewrite of article

I will be completely rewriting this article, using many of the sources that are already listed, over the next few days. My hope is to bring it back to GA status in the near future since this is such an important article in American literature. I've added the Under Construction banner so that no one attempts to step on my toes, but if you have suggestions about how the article is progressing, please do not hesitate to contact me either here or via my talk page. Thanks! María (habla conmigo) 13:34, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

First of all, thanks very much for your good work on the article, and it's already improved a great deal. While I like much of the recent expansion of the biography, I notice a few problems of wording and apparently misleadingly overgeneralized statements (like the current introduction to the "Life" section, which seems much too broad-brushed about the paucity of sources on Dickinson's biography and might lead someone to conclude, contrary to fact, that she was almost forgotten in her own time). I might tweak some of this later, but in general I'd just caution against overbroad statements based on few sources; that's the other potential problem I see here, that the rewrite appears to be based on very few sources where it would be better to synthesize more of the many biographies and critical works (for instance, Habegger's recent bio should be drawn on in the "Life" section as well as Sewall). Second, I want to protest the deletion of the annotated bibliography (previously discussed, see "Reference descriptions" above). I think that is extremely useful material. If the consensus is that this isn't the right style for Wikipedia to present that material, I'll be happy to recast it in prose as a new section of the article at some point soon; but I think it belongs here in some form -- the editions and secondary material are knotty enough that one useful role for an encyclopedia article is to point interested readers toward the right sources for further reading. -- Rbellin|Talk 22:20, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
This is a major work in progress, so don't judge too harshly yet! I'm adding new sources as they are available (i. e. when I check them out from the library) -- I've just added two new ones today, for example. And it's funny that you mentioned Habegger; I just picked up My Wars are Laid Away in Books the other day and have plenty to use from it. I will in the future correct whatever overgeneralizations or imperfections there may be, of course, but right now I'm getting my ducks in a neat little row. I haven't even begun to skim the surface. Some information may be removed entirely, so there's no need to critique or worry as of yet. :) As for the Bibliography, I'm relying on current Featured Articles for direction and none of the more recent ones are annotated. (See Harriet Tubman, for example.) Although I can see your point about it being of interest for some readers, the Bibliography should be a list of sources from which the references are derived. I also do not see a place in this article for a prose conversion of a description of each book or article, since a lot of it is subjective. Perhaps a complete Dickinson bibliography can be noted in the "Further reading" section? Also, I've moved the previous Bibliography list to my sandbox so that the book info can be integrated into the current Bibliography as it is now. It would make sense to add any "left-overs" to the "Further reading" list if I don't have a chance to use them as sources. Once I have all of my research done, I'll remove the Under Construction template and go through the article with a fine toothed comb. I also plan on having it copy-edited by one of the members of the League in preparation for nominating it for GAC. I think I have the hang of what I want to accomplish here, but it's slow going for now, I'm afraid. If you see any glaring errors, please feel free to fix! María (habla conmigo) 00:52, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm glad to see such rapid progress, and many of the concerns I described above are already taken care of (the sourcing seems especially improved already). For an example of a featured article with an annotated bibliography that no one seems to have objected to, see 1755 Lisbon earthquake. -- Rbellin|Talk 16:29, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Wonderful, I'm glad you approve of some of the changes so far. :) The FA you cited isn't the best example of how articles are now judged, however; it was promoted way back in 2005 and is currently under Featured Article Review, mainly due to lack of inline citations. I have to agree with the editor a few sections above that references for claims about the references seems a bit excessive, but I definitely feel more safe in following in the shoes of recent biography featured articles, all of which are not annotated. María (habla conmigo) 16:54, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Asperger syndrome

Is there a possibility that she suffered form Asperger syndrome rather than agoraphobia? Her prolific, obsessive creativity seems to suggest AS. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:19, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

It has been argued that ED displayed characteristics of AS, but nothing can be said for certain since 1) there was no way to diagnose it back then since it technically wasn't discovered yet and 2) it's all assumption and interpretation of secondhand accounts. There is serious doubt that she "suffered from" agoraphobia, as well. That's the problem with Dickinson scholars; they're all so shady. ;) María (habla conmigo) 20:21, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Posthumous fame

She only got very famous after her death I believe - the effect she had on the literary community, the fame she had, she was published finally - only after she died - no?
If so I suggest a section on her Post-humous fame/effect or legacy (or even other synonymns) as it were.
--Keerllston 12:31, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

The article is still under construction. María (habla conmigo) 13:12, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Isn't that the motto of wikipedia? -"Currently Creating" or "Constant Innotative Improvement"? - maybe not... but every article in wikipedia is under construction...--Keerllston 14:02, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
The article in fact has just such a section: Emily Dickinson#Publication and posthumous success. -- Rbellin|Talk 16:29, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
therefore the Strike-through text -...
I'd like to help build this article in any way I can - in that section in particular
--Keerllston 11:33, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Assorted Comments from Scartol

Thank you for taking on this important article. Per your request, here are some thoughts and questions I have for you.

  • I removed the statement "It is recorded that…" before the bit about Ebenezer fighting in the Deerfield massacre. Generally speaking, if you have a source, you don't need such a phrase. (It's assumed that the source records it.)
  • I agree; I think I originally had it without the waffling, but then changed it for some odd reason.
  • Why call it "the war against the British"? Why not the American Revolutionary War?
  • That's how the source worded it, but I agree it's kind of clunky.
  • I'm not sure the ages of Edward and Emily at the time of their wedding are noteworthy.
  • Again, that's mostly me pulling from the biographies. You wouldn't believe how crazy-detailed these 800 page tomes are! I'll remove it.
  • I'm sure they're packed with detail, but it's important for us to pull out only the most important bits for these pages. – Scartol • Tok 20:03, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
  • For future reference: Only put punctuation inside the quotation marks if it's part of the quote (here, I changed "forbidding"). See WP:PUNC.
  • Although Emily consistently referred to her father in a warm manner… I assume this means she "described her father in a warm manner"? Otherwise it sounds like you're describing the way she interacted with him. I didn't want to change it unilaterally.
  • I believe I meant to say how she referred to her father in her letters, but by now I think it's obvious that *all* of this is taken from correspondence, so "described" works just fine.
  • Is "moosic" italicized in the original? If not, don't italicize it here, tempting though it may be.
  • In both Sewall and Habegger, where her aunt's letter is mentioned, "moosic" is italicized, so I assumed that it was written that way in the original.
  • This talent apparently did not come to the attention of her parents until her father at last bought a piano for her when she was fourteen. I'm not sure if the wording here is right – but it's your call, based on the sources. Maybe "Her parents only accommodated her talent when her father bought a piano for her at the age of fourteen."?
  • I prefer your wording over my bizarre attempt!
  • The quote from dad encouraging the kids fo learn a lot in school feels bland. I don't think it adds much.
  • Again, this was a quote that was mentioned in both Sewall and Habegger. I thought it important to note that Edward encouraged all of his children, and not just his son, but I trust you know what's best.
  • A dangerous assumption! =) In this case, it may be good to say "whereas many fathers of the time privileged male education…" or some such. – Scartol • Tok 20:03, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
  • The first reference to Emily attending primary school… Is her age significant? (Unless we know the age she entered primary school, I'd say no; best to just say "Emily attended primary school in a two-story building…".)
  • Agreed, I'll fix it.
  • This is where she learned to read… Again, not startling or very noteworthy – everyone does these things in primary school. If you can tell us how she did, fine. If not, just keep moving.
  • I think I was stretching for information in his rather unchronicled point in her life. :) I'll remove that bit.
  • Emily wrote that "it seemed to me I should die too if I could not be permitted to watch over her or even look at her face." It's a good idea to include a citation for each quote in the article.
  • Agreed, I'll add one.
  • Who or what was in Boston which helped Emily recover? As it is, it sounds like Emily was just shipped off to be by herself.
  • She stayed with family; I'll make that clearer.
  • Sometimes the serial comma is used, and sometimes it isn't. The choice is up to you, but it should be consistent. See Wikipedia:PUNC#Serial_commas.

More to come! – Scartol • Tok 16:53, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Phew. Thanks for the insight so far! I'll get to work on the changes. María (habla conmigo) 17:24, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Round two. Ding!

  • I removed the exact dimensions of her book of pressed flowers. See my comment above.
  • Dickinson cultivated scented exotic flowers… This is the first notice we have that it was Emily herself who did the cultivating; I was under the impression that older folks or a gardener was in charge of the place. Please clarify earlier.
  • Nope, this was all Emilie's work; I added "...a sixty-six page book of pressed flowers that she collected herself" to the opening sentence, so hopefully that clarifies it.
  • Do we have a year for when the herbarium was finished? The impression at the start of "Maturity" is that these books were either started or finished around the time of the biography in question (after finishing at the Academy). Maybe it would also be good to leave off the mention of her book of poems until you're prepared t discuss it in detail.
  • The herbarium was began around this time period, which I why I moved the info here, but I had a difficult time of introducing it, which is why I mentioned her books of poems. Any suggestions?
  • I assume the revival was in Amherst? Maybe mention it.
  • Done.
  • More than once I've noticed the conditional ("it would later become") used in spots where the simple past ("it later became") would work just fine. Strunk & White order us to "omit needless words", and I agree. Just for future reference.
  • That's a huge problem for me: words, words, words. I'll work on this.
  • Is the length of time the Seminary had existed really important? (If you're working as I work, you add tidbits as you read, dropping in things which are intriguing to you but which ultimately don't add a whole lot to the article. I myself had some trouble with this in Emma Goldman.)
  • No, it's not, and yes, I'm hopeless. :) Removed.
  • Is there a difference between "household activities" and "chores"? If not, drop one or the other.
  • Nope. Removed.
  • We might could use a contrast transition between her cheerful attitude toward Amherst and the ¶ about Leonard's death. Just a word or phrase would do.
  • A "however" now precedes poor Leonard's death.
  • WP:MOSQUOTE recommends that a blockquote be four lines or more; the one at the end of "Maturity" is but three. It's long, but it's best to use regular quoting here.
  • I agree; changed.
  • The fifth poem, however… This paragraph is unclear in its construction. The phrase "however" makes it sound as though a comparison is upcoming with regard to style or content. But the remainder of the sentence is about who she sent it to. Rewording for clarity would be nice (and I'll leave it to you to find the best way, being more familiar with the facts than I). I'd suggest also describing her friendship with Sue earlier.
  • Sue is mentioned in passing at the end "Childhood" but I wanted to connect their relationship to Sue's permanent place in the family by means of marriage to Austin. Otherwise it would be a sentence here, another one there, and then information about the marriage in another place; I don't want to be too strict with the chronology on this matter since there's so many other names thrown around here and there, if that makes sense. I've reworded the paragraph so the comparison makes sense, however.
  • In 1855, Edward had purchased the entire brick home his father had built and his family once again took up residence on Main Street. The relationship between this sentence and the preceding information is unclear.
  • I think I've cleared this up with an emdash, but let me know if it's too wordy: "which stood on the west side of the Homestead—Edward had just a year before purchased his father's brick home and the Dickinsons once again took up residence on Main Street."
  • Using "the poet" instead of Dickinson breaks up the treadle, but it's a tad confusing. I've been replacing it, but insofar as it's a matter of personal preference, you can switch it back if it's important to you.
  • Not important at all; I just wanted to break up the monotony of "Dickinson this, Dickinson that," but if it's confusing, by all means change it!
  • How about a citation for the "Lexicon" quote?
  • Will do.
  • Please correct my math if it's wrong (which it often is): she sent Bowles 36 letters, and only 35 survived. I'd leave out the number which survived.
  • Hm, I don't think it's certain how many she did send him; all that is known is that it was over three dozen, but it could have been far more than that. It does seem kind of confusing, though, so I'll remove the parenthetical comment.
  • When items in a series contain commas (as with the list of poems at the start of "Publication and productivity"), use semicolons to separate the items in the series. (I don't know that we need precise publication dates for each of these, either. I'd be happy to see the titles as they are, with "between 1861 and 1866" or some such at the end.)
I added "between 1861 and 1866" at the beginning and removed the exact dates, but I'd like to keep the editorial titles.
  • I hope you don't mind, but I've changed the titles of the cell headers in the table. I also made it a border-less table like the one at LfC. The left-oriented image keeps us from being able to offset the comparison from the left side (there's apparently no way around this). We could right-orient the image, or just leave it. (I don't know that it's very important to indent it, but it bugs me that we can't, heh.)
  • In case you need it for any reason, here's the code from the original:
Original wording Version published in the Republican
I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such an Alcohol!
I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not Frankfort Berries yield the sense
Such a delirious whirl!
  • Thanks for playing with the table, I frankly was horrible at it. I tried to take Awadewit's suggestion below and run with it, but code is not my thing and it looked terrible. I don't mind it not being indented, but if someone does fret over it later on in the process, I agree the image will have to move although I like it being on the left. Ah, well.

More to come! – Scartol • Tok 20:03, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

You're the best, thanks! I really appreciate the work you've put into this. María (habla conmigo) 22:00, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Round Three

  • Was higginson's piece a story (journalism) or an essay (opinion)? We should be as precise as possible with our wording.
  • …holding up to a high literary standard even while opening the gates to women and immigrants… This wording is troubling. First, I expect you mean "holding up a high literary standard". Also, the sentence sounds as though a high standard was generally incompatible with women and immigrants. (I surely hope you don't mean to imply as much.)
  • Is this the entire letter? (If not, the lead-in should say "which read in part" or some such.)
  • I put the bit about her name in pencil earlier and removed the sentence about everything else being in ink. It felt extraneous.
  • Why did he suggest she not publish? This seems very odd if he liked her work.
  • Giving a number of poems written suddenly in 1866 and no others for many paragraphs feels odd. Was this the beginning of a slowdown? A slump? Putting it into a larger framework would be good.
  • The ¶ about clothing starts abruptly. I'd start with something like "around this time, Dickinson's behavior began to change", and then give the tidbit about only speaking to people through the door. Then segue into the clothing discussion. As much as possible, envelop the facts with some summary overview.
  • Is the spaced ellipsis (. . .) from the original quote, or does it show a section removed from the original? (If the latter, start and end with a non-breaking space ( ) and use the ellipsis symbol (…) – which you can make with option-; on the Mac or alt-0133 on Windows.)
  • The bit about Edward's later job feels as though it's going to lead into something; but it only leads to his death. I'd leave it out.
  • In the poem box: "c. 1884" is more standard than "about 1884".
  • Does her conception of Tuesday as "depressed" have to do with writing letters to Lord? The paragraph suggests so, but the connection – assuming one exists – should be made more clear.
  • He told her that he was "liable at any time to die"… This comes out of nowhere. Maybe mention he was in ill health (or whatever reason he had to say so).
  • As to her previous Master, Dickinson wrote to Lord… This is very unclear. Was she writing about Wadsworth to Lord? What would such a topic have to do with "being in [Lord's] bosom"? Also, give a transition before the sentence about Lord's death. (It also feels sudden in the paragraph.)
  • As opposed to her earlier practices, Emily failed to clean up and organize her later poems… This sounds odd. How about: "As she aged, Dickinson refused to edit or organize her poems…"?
  • I've changed "beats" to "feet" in the "Style and themes" section, since I assume this is what is meant (and is the more common term). Please revert if I'm mistaken.
  • Her frequent use of approximate, or slant rhyme has attracted attention since the very beginning. Since the beginning of what? Maybe "since her work first appeared in print"?
  • Are there specific poems which go with "Amazing Grace" and "Gilligan's Island"? I thought Dickinson didn't write ballads; the connection between her poems and the ballad comment needs some more explanation.
  • We could use some examples for the discussion of themes. Where does she explore religion? What are some natural images she uses? Which philosophical concepts does she explore and where?
  • Why did Todd falsify some of the dates on Dickinson's letters?
  • I reworded the sentence which begins "Many critics hailed Dickinson's effort…" Please check and make sure it's still factually accurate.
  • The article states that when her poetry was first published, it got positive and negative reviews; but we only sample the negative. How about a positive comment for balance?
  • I'd like to see an example of a modernist critic or a feminist scholar praising Dickinson. The big quotes we've got right now are all negative.
  • I removed the phrase "Despite the fact that less than a dozen of Dickinson's poems had been published before her death in 1886," from the start of "Legacy" because by now the reader has read this at least three times.
  • The description of Howells should be placed at his first mention earlier in the article.
  • I am morally obliged to say here that although his comments are valuable to the article and obviously they should remain in, I – for other reasons – hate Harold Bloom and think he's a total jerkface.
  • "The Amherst town library special collections" looks like odd capitalization. Am I crazy or is something amiss here?

Well, that's it. Kudos for your fine article, and I'm glad to know I could be of service to you in the improvement process. Best of luck with the FA process! – Scartol • Tok 04:00, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

GA pass

There is no doubt that this article passes GA:

  • Its prose is excellent
  • It complies with the major sections of the MOS, as outlined by the GA guidelines
  • It has extensive citations to reliable sources
  • It is both broad and comprehensive
  • It is neutral
  • It is stable
  • Its images are appropriately tagged and captioned (a couple of the photos may not be in the public domain outside the US, but this is not clear - more details would need to be added to the image for this to be determined, but this is not necessary for GA).

I hope you decide to go to FAC with this article eventually - it is a wonderful article on an important figure. It deserves the star and so do you!

  • N'aww, thanks! I plan to bring it there one day, and this is a major help!

Suggestions for improvement:

  • Although fewer than a dozen[1] of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime, she is widely considered one of the most original and influential poets of the 19th century. - If you go for FAC, you are probably going to want more than one source for this.
  • Information about Dickinson's personal life is mostly gathered from hundreds of letters that she wrote to family and acquaintances, as well as the diaries and journals of those close to her. - I don't know if this is strictly necessary for the lead - this is true for many historical figures.
  • all of these were altered significantly to fit the conventional poetry rules of the time - altered by whom? It is not clear if it was the publisher or Dickinson herself.
  • Her poems tend to deal with themes of death and immortality, two subjects which plagued her letters to friends. - I don't think "plagued" is quite right - what about "infused"?
  • The house on Main Street in which Emily was born, lived in most of her life, and died was called the Homestead; built by Samuel in 1813, it was the first brick house in Amherst. - This sentence seems out of place - it doesn't fit with the rest of the paragraph.
  • A formative influence of Emily's, Newton was nine years older than her and, unlike most of those who were in her social circle at the time, he was not orthodox. - orthodox what?
  • It is thought that Newton introduced her to William Wordsworth and one book that he is known to have given her - "the writings of William Wordsworth" perhaps?
  • Bowles had previously published women poets in his newspaper, but these poems were typically "feminine" in nature rather than serious, intellectual pieces. - Eek - can't we find a better way to describe these poems than "feminine"? I don't think "feminine" is very accurate, anyway.
  • "Feminine" is how the source (Wolff) worded it, but I agree it's very irksome. I've removed that bit so now it reads "but these poems were typically not serious, intellectual pieces." Better?
  • That is better, but perhaps other sources would help the situation? Such as sources that delve more into the works? Awadewit | talk 05:14, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Are the dog and the baking really such a big deal?
  • The biographers seem to be stuck on these domesticated details (naming her dog after a character's dog from Jane Eyre is apparently A Big Deal) and mention them often enough. Apparently she even won a pie baking contest one year. I'll see if I can scale back a couple mentions.
  • Well, if the biographies make a big deal of it, we must as well, I suppose. Awadewit | talk 05:14, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I am not sure that it is always necessary to refer to her as "Emily" when the article does. We don't want to become paternalistic crtics!
  • This really confused me while I was writing, so I don't doubt that I was over careful in differentiating her from her family. I'll go back over it and double check.
  • A tad more could probably included on the themes - what was Dickinson's take on these themes, for example?
  • A new wave of feminism created greater cultural sympathy for her as a female poet. - Which wave?
  • Is it possible to say a bit more about Dickinson's reception? The reception section seems to focus on readings based on a specific kind of textual criticism, but what have historicists, psychoanalytic critics, queer theorists, etc. done with Dickinson? Which of these theories have been important in Dickinson studies? Is there a fandom equivalent to that for Jane Austen or Edgar Allan Poe that needs to be discussed?
  • I agree; this section was the most difficult for me to write, so I kept a lot of it from the previous version and added very little. There is a sizable LGBT following for Dickinson (hence the Wikiproject above), and there was previously a rather lengthy (although uncited) "Sexuality" section, but I'm afraid I can get myself into NPOV problems with that. That's the problem with Dickinson's poetry -- every different critic or theorist bends her lifestory to fit their interpretation of her work; either she's the closeted crazy woman who's lusting after her brother's wife, or she's the feminist liberal who shuns society except for several married men she takes a shine to. And those are just two points of view. How in depth should such a section be?
  • That's tricky. You might think about writing separate "Reception" and "Style and themes" pages and then summarizing them here. It is much easier to summarize something longer that you know is good than to try and pick out what is important. We have done this with Reception history of Jane Austen and Jane Austen#Reception. I don't think the summary is everything it could be yet, but you get the idea. Awadewit | talk 05:14, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I always think it is best to have multiple citations (e.g. Mary Wollstonecraft and Joseph Priestley). This lets the reader know that the facts and the interpretations presented in the article are not just the whim of one historian or critic, but the generally accepted story. This is not required anywhere on Wikipedia - I just think it is a "best practice", particularly since Wikipedia lacks credibility right now. This is one way to bolster its credibility.
  • This makes perfect sense, especially since the two biographies I used the most (Habegger and Sewall) overlap sometimes. I'll work on that.

MOS and layout: This long list of boring, tiring things is only important if you decide to take the article to FAC. I just wanted to make you aware of some of the things that you would need to do. :(

  • Images are not supposed to be sized, except for maps (see WP:MOS#Images). Some sort of browser, interface reason.
  • Inconsistent use of "19th century" and "nineteenth century". The MOS recommends "19th century", unfortunately.
  • See WP:PUNC - punctuation marks go outside the quotation marks (unless you are quoting an entire sentence).
  • See WP:DASH - there are some FAC reviewers that care a great deal about dashes (also, try Brighterorange's dash-bot - he'll run it for you and fix all of your dashes!)
  • See WP:MOS-L - this article could probably do with a few more links. I added some as I was reading, but another run-through would probably improve it.
  • All quotations should have citations directly after them for absolute transparency.
  • What do you think about making the quote boxes colored? I think it make the page more colorful and the quote easier to distinguish from the surrounding text.
  • They were blue when I stole took them from the Shakespeare article, but I thought the white more fitting. I'll try it with the blue, though; they do kind of get lost on the page as of now.
  • Oh, yes, I see why you were going for the white - all symbolic and all. Could cream be a compromise? Awadewit | talk 05:14, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Quote boxes need citations.
  • The poems? Those have issues, I'm afraid: it's never very clear when they were written or in what particular order, so while one book may say it's number 1,283 and was written in 1882, another book may say it's number 1,109 and was written in 1880. Who is to say which is correct?
  • All I meant was cite them to whatever edition you used. Shakespeare quotations run into the same problems. The reader just needs to know where you got the quotation from. Awadewit | talk 05:14, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I did some side-by-side comparisons in Lessons for Children. See if you like the comparison without the table (as I have done) or with the table (as you have done). I had a hard time figuring out how to get rid of the table, but I can show you how, if you want.
  • The table has bothered me from day one, but I couldn't figure out how to move the ugly lines. I like how clean the last side-by-side is at LfC, so I'll take a page from your book, thanks!
  • I am not a big fan of the split "Bibliography" and "Further reading" - people who are interested in these lists are not going to want two lists. (Also, I think it is best to be consistent in the citation style in the lists - either MLA or Chicago. You use two different styles.)
  • So should I nix the "Further reading" or integrate the two? The "Bibliography" is mine, but the "Further reading" is from the previous version. Silly Chicago style; I didn't even notice!
  • I would integrate the two (assuming the books in the "Further reading" are any good). I like to think of "Bibliographies" as lists of important introductory books to read on a topic (whether used in the article or not). Awadewit | talk 05:14, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

I hope you find these comments helpful rather than overwhelming - I really am only trying to help. This was an excellent article and I really enjoyed reading it here in front of my parents' fireplace. :) Awadewit | talk 01:53, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Very helpful, thank you! I was beginning to feel lost, but now I have an idea of where to go from here. I'll work on your suggestions (I agree with all of the prose suggestions, btw) and try my best not to go overboard on the "Reception" section, but that is what needs the most work, I agree. Thank you so much, Awadewit, you're a gem! María (habla conmigo) 02:49, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Not a problem. It was such a pleasure to read this article. Awadewit | talk 05:14, 25 December 2007 (UTC)