An Emily Dickinson Encyclopedia

By Jane Donahue Eberwein | Go to book overview

B

BATES, ARLO ( 1850-1918) New England poet, critic, editor, author of grammar books, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and house reader for Roberts Brothers, Bates was invited by Thomas Niles to provide an appraisal for the manuscript of Poems ( 1890). Balancing his censure for technical imperfections with praise for the "originality," "power," and "genius" of Dickinson's thoughts, he reported to Niles: "There is hardly one of these poems which does not bear marks of unusual and remarkable talent; there is hardly one of them which is not marked by an extraordinary crudity of workmanship" (AB 52). He cut the editors' original selection (ca. 200 poems) in half (objecting primarily to instances of playful tone and semantic repetition), insisted on some "absolutely necessary" changes, and recommended printing a small number of carefully edited copies. This mixture of praise and critique is also echoed in his later reviews, which moved from formal criticism to an admiration for the "gleam of genuine original power, of imagination, and of real emotional thought" while quoting appreciatively from thirteen poems on nature, love, life, and religion (Buckingham 29). In addition to granting Dickinson's poems the status of a "new species of art," Bates was the first to situate her within a nineteenth-century American literary and cultural context, explaining her technical imperfections -- like Whitman's -- as inextricably linked to America's rapid intellectual development. (See: Critical Reception)

RECOMMENDED: AB; Willis J. Buckingham, ed., Emily Dickinson's Reception in the 1890s: A Documentary History; R. W. Franklin, The Editing of Emily Dickinson: A Reconsideration.

Marietta Messmer

"Because I could not stop for Death -- " (P712) was first published in Poems ( 1890), edited by Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. ★ The editors titled it "The Chariot", omitted the poem's fourth stanza, and

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An Emily Dickinson Encyclopedia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chronology xv
  • Abbreviations xix
  • A 1
  • B 13
  • C 38
  • D 61
  • E 92
  • F 107
  • G 122
  • H 131
  • I 154
  • J 162
  • K 169
  • L 171
  • M 188
  • N 205
  • O 218
  • P 222
  • R 243
  • S 256
  • T 279
  • U 294
  • V 296
  • W 301
  • Y 311
  • Appendix A - Fascicle Listings of Dickinson Poems 313
  • Appendix B - Major Archival Collections for Dickinson Research 339
  • Bibliography 343
  • Index of Poems Cited 361
  • General Index 371
  • About the Contributors 387
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