Cover: The Poems of Emily Dickinson in HARDCOVER

The Poems of Emily Dickinson

Variorum Edition

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Product Details


$136.50 • £109.95 • €123.00

ISBN 9780674676220

Publication Date: 10/15/1998


1680 pages

7 halftones

Belknap Press


I think there will be a wide agreement regarding most of Franklin’s editorial decisions. He states his principles clearly and does not conceal his uncertainties (about the dating of individual poems, for example). He is deeply respectful of Dickinson’s writing practices, following her often erratic spelling and, ‘within the capacity of standard type,’ her capitalization and punctuation. His textual apparatus is informative without being intrusive, and includes such useful information as where Dickinson broke her lines on her manuscript sheets, as well as any other information—pinned attachments, tears in the paper, and the like—that might have a bearing on interpretation. All scholars and readers of Dickinson are in his debt.—Christopher Benfey, The New York Review of Books

The poems of Emily Dickinson speak to an amazingly wide range of readers… Dickinson wrote more than 1,700 poems, but only a few were published in her lifetime. The first substantive scholarly collection of her work was Thomas H. Johnson’s edition in 1955. That edition is now superseded by this three-volume variorum edition by Ralph W. Franklin, director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscripts Library at Yale. Not only does this new edition contain even more poems, but it also gives alternative versions of the poems, which Dickinson left in her manuscripts. Serious scholars, students, and teachers will welcome this landmark edition. But it might also be the perfect…gift for any reader who loves and wants to continue exploring the endless marvels of her poetic creations.—Merle Rubin, The Christian Science Monitor

Among its valuable new features, Franklin’s variorium gives equal weight to each surviving version of a poem: Franklin clarifies Dickinson’s manuscript lineation in his introduction (asserting that it was ordinarily determined by available space) and provides a section below each poem to show her original breaks… Step by step, each of Franklin’s books and articles has defined and pointed the way to solving the ‘impossible’ task that confronts an editor attempting to transform into print manuscript poems and letters not prepared by the author for publication. Ralph W. Franklin has met that challenge. He is our indispensable guide to Dickinson’s legacy.—Benjamin Lease, Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin

This new edition is a staggering feat of editorial scholarship and discipline, and a colossal, indispensable achievement in Dickinson studies.—Greg Johnson, Georgia Review

Nearly 1,800 poems—only 10 published in her lifetime—occupied Dickinson during her long, reclusive life; she sent them to friends and family, changing words as she did so. These changes are noted in this edition, which brings us into her workshop; indeed, I know of no better way to get to know this astounding poetry.—Tom D’Evelyn, The Providence Journal-Bulletin

Awards & Accolades

  • R. W. Franklin Is Recipient of the Emily Dickinson International Society’s Award for Outstanding Contribution
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