“A Masterpiece of Scholarly Production”

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Emily Dickinson's PoemsIn the spring of 2016 we published a major new edition of Emily Dickinson’s verse, the only extant volume of Dickinson’s complete poems that distinguishes between those she delicately preserved in her storied fascicles and those she treated with somewhat less care. Painstakingly edited by Dickinson scholar Cristanne Miller, the book is also the first annotated reading edition of Dickinson’s poems, as well as the first edition to include the alternative words and phrases Dickinson wrote on the pages of many of the poems she retained.

To have produced such a lovely and invaluable resource is its own reward, but we’re nonetheless extremely pleased to share that the Modern Language Association of America has named Miller’s volume co-winner of its biennial MLA Prize for a Scholarly Edition. The prize committee’s citation for the book reads:

Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them is a masterpiece of scholarly production, from layout and design to content. Cristanne Miller demonstrates how engaging with the materiality of the poems leads to new knowledge about the poet and her work. The care and attention given to the intricacies involved in Dickinson’s textual productions are striking. The clean presentation of the poems on the page allows readers to see the alternative phrasings with ease, and the introduction presents a welcome overview of Dickinson’s writing practices and the ways in which her work has been edited in the past. This outstanding edition helps make clear the complexity of Dickinson’s habits and how they have affected our understanding of her poetry.

From the beginning, we recognized the value of placing this edition alongside the open access Emily Dickinson Archive (EDA), on which we’d partnered with Amherst College, Harvard’s Houghton Library, the Boston Public Library, the New York Public Library, and a host of other institutions. On our website, we produced an index to Miller’s volume from which one can jump directly to the high-resolution images of the fascicles presented at EDA, allowing readers not only to read Dickinson’s poems “as she preserved them,” but actually to see those preservations themselves.

Our congratulations to Cristanne Miller on this well-deserved recognition for her wonderful work.

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