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Emily Dickinson Handbook Hardcover – December, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

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"This book presents the most exhaustive and useful summary of Emily Dickinson scholarship in the 20th century―a series of short but amazingly comprehensive essays on almost every aspect of Dickinson studies, written especially for this volume by Dickinson's most formidable contemporary critics. Invaluable to the expert and novice alike, every page of this book is sheer pleasure, in a way comparable to few scholarly texts."―Virginia Quarterly Review

"The best of recent Dickinson scholarship is gathered together in the multifaceted Emily Dickinson Handbook, a collection of essays that examine Dickinson's life, poetry, poetics, and social perspective."―Booklist

"Satisfies a long-standing need in 19th-century U.S. literature studies, providing a ready reference guide with essential, up-to-date material about Dickinson's life and art, her manuscripts, and the present state of research. . . . Highly recommended."―Choice

"A single authoritative source for information about Dickinson's historical, cultural, and biographical contexts, as well as the editing and transmission of her texts, their critical reception, and the most recent interpretive, pedagogical, and theoretical approaches within Dickinson scholarship. . . . This book has it all."―Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Gudrun Grabher is professor of American studies at the University of Innsbruck.

Roland Hagenbüchle is professor emeritus of American studies at the Catholic University of Eichstätt.

Cristanne Miller is W. M. Keck Distinguished Service Professor of English at Pomona College.

In addition to the editors, contributors include Martha Ackmann, Kerstin Behnke, Sharon Cameron, Paul Crumbley, Margaret Dickie, Jane Donahue Eberwein, Judith Farr, Margaret H. Freeman, Jonnie Guerra, Suzanne Juhasz, Marietta Messmer, Vivian R. Pollak, David Porter, Josef Raab, Agnieszka Salska, Richard Sewall, Martha Nell Smith, Gary Lee Stonum, and Robert Weisbuch. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 488 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press (December 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558491694
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558491694
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,104,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
THE EMILY DICKINSON HANDBOOK : Edited by Gudrun Grabher, Roland Hagenbuchle, and Cristanne Miller. 480 pp. Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, 1998. ISBN 1-55849-169-4 (hbk.)
For anyone who is seriously interested in Emily Dickinson, this is a marvelous book that provides up-to-date information about her life and works, her letters and manuscripts, the cultural climate of her age, her reception and influence, and what is going on in current Dickinson scholarship.
The book's 22 essays have been distributed in eight sections : Introduction; Biography; Historical Context; The Manuscripts; The Letters; Dickinson's Poetics; Reception and Influence; New Directions in Dickinson Scholarship.
Although I've read many critical collections, several of which were devoted exclusively to Dickinson, I can't remember ever having been so impressed. Usually an anthology will hold one or two outstanding contributions, with the rest being humdrum and of little real interest, but here pretty well all of them are outstanding, and I found only one that struck me as being both pretentious and obscure.
I was especially impressed by Robert Weisbuch's brilliant 'Prisming Dickinson, or Gathering Paradise by Letting Go,' by Josef Raab's 'The Metapoetic Element in Dickinson,' by Martha Nell Smith's 'Dickinson's Manuscripts,' by Paul Crumbley's 'Dickinson's Dialogic Voice,' by Roland Hagenbuchle's 'Dickinson and Literary Theory,' and in fact by many others. So much so that this seems to me the single most valuable book on Dickinson that I've ever seen, and the one from which I've learned most and continue to learn. It really is that good.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are new to Dickinson studies, or if you simply want to read the most current thinking about the poems, The Emily Dickinson Handbook is a must. It contains essays on subjects ranging from the historical context of the poems to the poet's metapoetic sensibility. This text is also a wonderful introduction to the writings of the finest Dickinson scholars extant. Richard Sewall, Paul Crumbley, Christanne Miller, Sharon Cameron, Martha Nell Smith, and many other great thinkers offer the reader a glimpse into the realm of magic and poetry. If you love Emily Dickinson, do yourself a favor -- read this book.
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Format: Paperback
If you are a person like me who always has been bewitched by the poetry and legend of Emily Dickinson, but who has been busy living a life for the past 30 or 40 years and has not kept up with Dickinson criticism and scholarship, this book is for you.

The edition I bought was first published in 1998 and was slightly updated in 2005. It contains 22 new essays (including an introduction by the great Dickinson biographer Richard Sewall). The essays are the work of many of the most-published Dickinson-scholarship authors of the last few decades. All the 20- to 30-page essays are scholarly, but all but one avoid the dense impenetrability that too many other literary scholars seem to find necessary in order to get tenure. That makes this book well worth your time.

Essays range widely, including an overview of biographical studies, the poet's historical context, her manuscripts, and her letters. In addition, about half the book deals with Dickinson's poetics and her reception and influence.

The essays don't waste a lot of time chin-rubbing about Emily's possible lesbian love, or just who the "master" is. Instead, they discuss just what you want to know, including what I consider the best-ever reading of "My Life had stood - a / Loaded Gun" in an essay by Margaret H. Freeman. (Is there a Dickinson scholar who hasn't tackled that enigma?)

"The Emily Dickinson Handbook" also contains an impressive bibliography for those moved to dive into the poetry and her strange and wonderful genius. It is now (December, 2007) 121-plus years after her death. Criticism of her work has matured, especially in the last few decades, but it remains fascinating and delightfully unfinished. This is a great way to catch up.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Emily Dickinson is the greatest American poet ever- and in my opinion, close to Shakespeare in her contribution to literature. This book ,while not a study of specific poems or letters of Emily (her only works), gives a very good overview of her work and critical judgements about them. I found this book to be very informative and interesting. This is an important addition to the library of anyone who reads Emily Dickinson's works.
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Format: Paperback
Unlike the other reviewers, I am not a specialist in Dickinson studies. My area is literary criticism. I am enthusiastic about this handbook because I can see it working beautifully in a lit crit class. The chapters may be short, but they are thorough. Each chapter is written by a different Dickinson scholar, and each of their arguments is carefully crafted and insightful. Aside from providing a great deal of information about Emily Dickinson and the depth and breadth her work (which is a given), this handbook painlessly demonstrates the various critical and interpretive approaches available to scholars in the 21st century.
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