Lubbers book includes a discussion of the 1914 book

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Lubbers’ book includes a discussion of the 1914 book,The Single Hound,written by Dickinson’s niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi.The Single Houndbecame a catalyst for Dickinson studies in the early part of the century. Dickin-son’s rhyme, meter, and grammar sparked a number of important discussions,many of which centered on the question of editing.The Single Houndalso
New Criticism123provoked readers to question Bianchi’s version of events, since her knowledgeof Dickinson’s “peculiar mind” was based on second-hand accounts rather thaneyewitness, verifiable facts. Regardless of Bianchi’s own bias, the book helpedthe public begin to regard Dickinson as one of the best American poets.New CriticismMeanwhile, the debate surrounding Dickinson’s rhetoric and style continuedwith great force. In the 1930s, a new critical and analytical approach tookhold in Dickinson studies and continued until the late 1950s. This movement,called New Criticism, emphasized the actual words on the page rather than theauthor’s intent. Championed by Allen Tate and Cleanth Brooks, New Criticismurged readers to explore the paradoxes of language and construction of mean-ing. Because New Critics focused entirely on the works alone, they consideredauthor biography, historical context, and anything outside the works to beirrelevant. Although some critics in the 1950s advocated reading Dickinson’spoems in larger contexts (Richard Chase argued that Dickinson should be con-textualized as a Puritan ancestor and Rebecca Patterson argued that Dickinsonwas a lesbian), their opinions were not given any serious thought until muchlater.The popularity of New Criticism meant that Dickinson scholars now neededa trustworthy edition of her poetry, one that was true to her handwritten orig-inals. The existing editions were not sufficient because multiple editors hadtampered with the poems according to the tastes of their time. For example,Dickinson’s first editors were constrained by a reading audience that demandedregular rhyme, traditional meter, and recognizable structure. In an attemptto satisfy these demands, early editors standardized her poems, adding titles,inventing rhymes, and grouping the lines into neat quatrains. Although nec-essary at the time to sell books, these changes were now viewed as barriers tounderstanding the real meaning of the poems.Editor Thomas Johnson set out to fulfill the need for editions of Dickinson’sworks that were true to the originals. As the first scholar to access bothcollections of Dickinson’s poetry (Amherst College held Susan Dickinson’scollection and Harvard University held Millicent Todd Bingham’s collection),Johnson could see Dickinson’s work in its entirety. He decided to make both setsof papers available to the public and created two volumes that closely adhered tothe originals. Although Johnson was forced to make some judgment calls aboutDickinson’s penmanship, her use of the dash, and the correct order of poems,he nonetheless produced collections of integrity that remained as faithful to

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