An Emily Dickinson Encyclopedia

By Jane Donahue Eberwein | Go to book overview

J

JACKSON, HELEN MARIA FISKE HUNT ( 1831-1885) The daughter of Nathan Welby Fiske,* Amherst*-born Jackson met Dickinson during childhood and again in 1860 during a visit to the Homestead* with her first husband, Major Edward B. Hunt, before becoming her literary friend and correspondent in the 1870s. After the premature death of her husband ( 1863) and son ( 1865), Jackson embarked on a professional career as "H. H.," writer of popular didactic poetry and fiction. Publication of two critiques of U.S. Indian policy ( A Century of Dishonor [ 1881] and the novel Ramona [ 1883- 1884]) won her acclaim as the greatest American woman* writer by her contemporaries.

In 1866 Thomas Wentworth Higginson,* her mentor, stylistic model, and fellow boarder at a literary boardinghouse in Newport, Rhode Island, introduced Jackson to Dickinson's poetry*; two unmailed envelopes in Dickinson's handwriting* suggest that a correspondence between the two women was initiated around 1868. With a large part of that exchange missing, Dickinson's first surviving note to Jackson is a congratulatory poem upon her second marriage to William S. Jackson of Colorado ( 1875). It evoked Jackson's enthusiastic reply, "You are a great poet" (L444, 444a), and marked the beginning of her repeated attempts to induce Dickinson to publish*: "it is a wrong to the day you live in, that you will not sing aloud." The ensuing correspondence traces a literary friendship* based on exchange of works, mutual recognition, and friendly competition: Dickinson commented admiringly on Ramona and more ambivalently on Jackson's poetry* (remarking to Higginson in L622, "Mrs Jackson soars to your estimate lawfully as a Bird"), while Jackson, having received P1465, complained that Dickinson's mastery thwarted her own creative efforts, "[f]or which I am inclined to envy, and perhaps hate you" (L601a). While Dickinson's few surviving letters* to Jackson are characterized by a rare absence of "posing," combined with an exceptional tolerance for her friend's requests for explications,

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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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