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72 people found this helpful
on January 9, 2008
NOTE:This is basically a cut & paste of my review of the hardcover edition of this collection. This one suffers the same problem, and I hope that anyone who has any interest in Dickinson will please look elsewhere.
This Barnes & Noble released collection of the poems of Emily Dickinson is fine except for one very, very important fact: Whoever put it together took the liberty of "correcting" Ms. Dickinson's punctuation.
For anyone who has read and is familiar with Dickinson, you are well aware that she seemingly capitalized at random, often doing it to words in the middle of sentences,etc. that on the surface level have no meaning to the poem itself. But they off some insight into her mind and without them, these are not the poems that Dickinson created.
Imagine "correcting" poems by e.e. cummings, you just don't "fix" the work of poets. Often times, central themes and ideas are expressed not only through the words themselves, but through means and devices in which the poet has utilized those words, such as capitalization. This collection takes this very important element away from Dickinson's work.
For example, one of her more famous poems SHOULD look like this:
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry --
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll --
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul.
However, this collection reduces it to this:
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry--
This traverse may poorest take
Without oppress of toll
How frugal is the chariot
That bears the human soul
I admit that I have not bought this book, but I have looked through it at Barnes & Noble. I didn't buy it for this very reason, don't be fooled by the price tag this is NOT the poems that Dickinson intended, skip over it for another collection, please. If only to convince editors to stop "correcting" peoples' writings.
EDIT: As one comment stated on another review, it appears that this sad state of Ms. Dickinson's poetry is the victim of copyright laws, etc. And that this phenomenon of altering her works is not limited to this book. Very sad. But if that is the case, then I still recommend going out there and finding works that include her original poems in their unaltered states.