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The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson (Anglais) Poche – 28 septembre 2004


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Today Emily Dickinson is recognized not only as a major poet of the American nineteenth century but also as one of the most intriguing poets of any place or time, in both her art and her life. The outline of her biography is well known. She was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1830 and, except for a few excursions to Philadelphia, Washington, and Boston, spent her entire life there, increasingly limiting her activities to her father's house. "I do not cross my Father's ground to any House or Town," she wrote, referring to a personal reclusiveness that was noticeable even to her contemporaries. In the front corner bedroom of that house on Main Street, Dickinson wrote over 1,700 poems, often on scraps of paper and on the backs of grocery lists, only a handful of which were published in her lifetime and then anonymously. She was known to give poems to friends and neighbors, often as an accompaniment to the cakes and cookies she baked, sometimes lowering them from an upstairs window in a basket. Her habit of binding groups of poems together into little booklets called fascicles might indicate she felt her poems were presentable, but most of her poems never went farther than her desk drawer where they were discovered by her sister after Dickinson's death in 1886 of kidney failure. In her lifetime, her poetry remained unknown, and although a few small editions of her poems were published in the 1890s, it was not until 1955 that a reliable scholarly edition appeared, transcribing the poems precisely from the original manuscripts and preserving all of Dickinson's typographical eccentricities (see Note). Convincingly or not, she called publication "the auction of the mind" and compared the public figure to a frog croaking to the admiring audience of a bog.

It is fascinating to consider the case of a person who led such a private existence and whose poems remained unrecognized for so long after her death, as if she had lain asleep only to be awakened by the kiss of the twentieth century. The quirky circumstances of her life have received as much if not more commentary than the poems themselves. Some critics valorize her seclusion as a form of female self-sufficiency; others make her out to be a victim of her culture. Still others believe that her solitariness has been exaggerated. She did attend school, after all, and she maintained many intimate relationships by letter. Moreover, it was less eccentric in her day than in ours for one daughter--she had a brother who was a lawyer and a sister who married--to remain home to run the household and assist her parents. Further, all writers need privacy; all must close the door on the world to think and compose. But Dickinson's separateness--which has caused her to be labeled a homebody, a spinster, and a feminist icon among other things--took extreme forms. She was so shy that her sister Lavinia would be fitted for her clothes; she wore only white for many years ("Wear nothing commoner than snow"); and she rarely would address an envelope, afraid that her handwriting would be seen by the eyes of strangers. When asked of her companions, she replied in a letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog large as myself that my father bought me."

However tempting it is to search through the biographical evidence for a solution to the enigma of Emily Dickinson's life, we must remember that no such curiosity would exist were it not for the poems themselves. Her style is so distinctive that anyone even slightly acquainted with her poems would recognize a poem on the page as an Emily Dickinson poem, if only for its shape. Here is a typical example:

'T is little I could care for pearls
Who own the ample sea;
Or brooches when the Emperor
With rubies pelteth me;
Or gold, who am the Prince of Mines;
Or diamonds, when I see
A diadem to fit a dome
Continual crowning me.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Revue de presse

"No one can read these poems...without perceiving that he is not so much reading as being spoken to."
--Archibald MacLeish


From the Trade Paperback edition.


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46 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This is not really the edition you want. 22 juin 2001
Par tepi - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
I don't doubt that it's possible to enjoy Emily Dickinson's poems in editions like this. But you should be aware that you are not really reading what she wrote. You are reading what earlier editors _wish_ she had written - a sort of 'tidied-up' and regularized version, the badly tampered-with-text of a genius by those who weren't.
In a way, the situation is a bit like the one that prevails with regard to food. Would you rather eat natural food or genetically modified food? Maybe the modified food doesn't taste any different, but it might be doing harmful things to you that the author of real food never intended. So why take a risk when we can have the real thing ?
There are two major editors who can be relied on for accurate texts of ED's poems. These are Dickinson scholars R. W. Franklin and Thomas H. Johnson. Both produced large Variorum editions for scholars, along with reader's editions of the Complete Poems for the ordinary reader. Details of their respective reader's editions are as follows.
THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON : Reading Edition. Edited by R. W. Franklin. 692 pp. Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-674-67624-6 (hbk.)
THE COMPLETE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON. Edited by Thomas H. Johnson. 784 pp. Boston : Little, Brown, 1960 and Reissued. ISBN: 0316184136 (pbk.)
For those who don't feel up to tackling the Complete Poems, there is Johnson's abridgement of his Reader's edition, an excellent selection of what he feels were her best poems:
FINAL HARVEST : Emily Dickinson's Poems. Edited by Thomas H. Johnson. 352 pages. New York : Little Brown & Co, 1997. ISBN: 0316184152 (paperbound).
Friends, do yourself a favor and get Johnson's edition. Why accept a watered-down version when you can have the real thing?
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This isn't quite the letter Emily was writing to the world... 15 avril 2007
Par Jane Hollins - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
I picked up this selection of Dickinson's poems on a whim because I am a huge fan of her poetry--it simply reaches to your very soul and leaves you rapt in awe. However--I must say--that I am sorely disappointed with this edition of selected poems. As one of the other reviewers has stated, this edition has been greatly tampered with--the editors have reworked the punctuation and capitalization stylistic genius of Dickinson and bastardized it to accommodate the modern reader--but, honestly, to do this severely detracts from Dickinson's so very unique voice. Particularly, the editors employed the comma as a replacement for her frivolous usage of the dash, which left me squirming in distaste--it nearly ruins the poems in my opinion. To "fix" a poem--punctuation or otherwise--is to change the very essence behind it--I was very surprised the editors would take such strange liberties in modifying these poems. If you're a stickler about poetry, this is not the edition for you. But if you wish to simply read these poems for the sake of reading them, then you may be ok with this edition--but I still would recommend against it; you don't quite get the same sense of Dickinson's subtle and profound examinations of the world.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
DO NOT GET THIS EDITION 17 mai 2009
Par Mickey Callaghan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
NOTE: This is not a 1-star review for Emily Dickinson. She is one of the greatest poets of all time, and should be read by everyone who loves poetry (and even those who don't).

That said, this is a terrible edition. I was shocked when I opened it in a bookstore, looking to show a friend one of her poems I had just been talking about, to discover that the punctuation had been completely modified. The meanings of some of her best poems hinge on varying interpretations of Dickinson's eccentric punctuation, and to change it seems to me one of the great crimes against poetry. I am especially disappointed because Modern Library normally puts out such excellent editions, but this one is just awful.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Sanitized Emily 21 juin 2007
Par Le Panda Du Mal - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Emily Dickinson is a genius and great poet, but this isn't the way to experience her work. Dickinson's distinctive punctuation and capitalization are "corrected"; the effect is maybe a smoother read but one far less rich in implications and possibilities. The division of the poems employed here , and in many of the older collections ("Life," "Nature," "Love," "Time and Eternity") are not Dickinson's, and are not very useful in experiencing the poems. In my opinion, this volume omits many of Emily's best poems and includes some of her least interesting/ daring. Of course, there can be many varying opinions as to what Emily's best work was, but since all of her poems are collected in one manageable volume there's no need to let someone else decide that for you. As another reviewer has said, the Johnson "Complete Poems" volume is what you want.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This is not really the edition you want. 22 juin 2001
Par tepi - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I don't doubt that it's possible to enjoy Emily Dickinson's poems in editions like this. But you should be aware that you are not really reading what she wrote. You are reading what earlier editors _wish_ she had written - a sort of 'tidied-up' and regularized version, the badly tampered-with-text of a genius by those who weren't.
In a way, the situation is a bit like the one that prevails with regard to food. Would you rather eat natural food or genetically modified food? Maybe the modified food doesn't taste any different, but it might be doing harmful things to us that the author of real food never intended. So why take a risk when we can have the real thing ?
There are two major editors who can be relied on for accurate texts of ED's poems. These are Dickinson scholars R. W. Franklin and Thomas H. Johnson. Both produced large Variorum editions for scholars, along with reader's editions of the Complete Poems for the ordinary reader. Details of their respective reader's editions are as follows.
THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON : Reading Edition. Edited by R. W. Franklin. 692 pp. Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-674-67624-6 (hbk.)
THE COMPLETE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON. Edited by Thomas H. Johnson. 784 pp. Boston : Little, Brown, 1960 and Reissued. ISBN: 0316184136 (pbk.)
For those who don't feel up to tackling the Complete Poems, there is Johnson's abridgement of his Reader's edition, an excellent selection of what he feels were her best poems:
FINAL HARVEST : Emily Dickinson's Poems. Edited by Thomas H. Johnson. 352 pages. New York : Little Brown & Co, 1997. ISBN: 0316184152 (paperbound).
Friends, do yourself a favor and get Johnson's edition. Why accept a watered-down version when you can have the real thing?
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