Emily Dickinson, a Revelation

Emily Dickinson, a Revelation

Emily Dickinson, a Revelation

Emily Dickinson, a Revelation

Excerpt

In the early 1890's when my mother, Mabel Loomis Todd, was preparing for the press the original volumes of Emily Dickinson's correspondence, Emily's brother Austin brought her from time to time small packets of letters. Most of them, addressed to himself, he told her to use as she thought best -- with one proviso. Some were published in their entirety in the early volumes, others only in part. In the "New and Enlarged Edition" of 1931, excerpts from the letters to Austin were reprinted as they had originally appeared in 1894. With the publication of Emily Dickinson's Home all of Emily's letters to him which he was able to find will have appeared in full except such parts as he himself deleted.

One packet brought by Mr. Dickinson was different from all the others. In a used brown envelope, addressed in an unknown hand to "Miss E. C. Dickinson, Amherst, Mass.," the canceled stamps an issue of the early 1880's, it is labeled in my mother's writing, "Rough drafts of Emily's letters." She told me that when Mr. Dickinson gave her this envelope he indicated that it was something very special and personal. A glance was enough to show her that the drafts it contained were indeed different. Obviously love letters, my mother did not ask Mr. Dickinson how they came to be in his possession, wondering though she did how they could have escaped de-

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