Moar Emily

This review from 1999 is worth revisiting, including Benfey’s take on Franklin’s masterwork, The Poems of Emily Dickinson (“I think there will be wide agreement regarding most of Franklin’s editorial decisions.”)

The insights on Dickinson herself are marvelous:

It was at this juncture that Dickinson’s courage as a poet was confirmed, for Higginson was not encouraging. A conventional poet and nature writer himself, he dutifully pointed out her departures from those conventions. We don’t know exactly what he said (his letters, like most others sent to Dickinson, were destroyed at her request after her death), but her follow-up letters quoted some of his strictures. She thanked him, twice, for his “surgery,” but didn’t change a thing in her poems. 

The Mystery of Emily Dickinson, by Christopher Benfey, New York Review of Books.


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