Dear Sue:

There is a solitude of space
A solitude of sea
A solitude of death, but these
Society shall be
Compared with that profounder site
That polar privacy
A soul admitted to itself ñ--
Finite Infinity.







"There is a solitude of space" was first printed in Martha Dickinson Bianchi's collection of Dickinson's work, The Single Hound (1914). In 1924 the poem appears again in Bianchi's The Life and Letters of Emily Dickinson, with no variations. However, Thomas Johnson's transcription of the same poem in Volume III of his Variorum indicates that several changes have indeed been made to the poem during the course of its transmission.

In the version above, I have mainly followed Johnsonís transcription of the poem for several reasons. My decision was based primarily upon the punctuation of Bianchi's versions, and the alteration of a dash at the end of line seven to a colon, which seems atypical of Dickinson's style and perhaps an attempt at normalization on the part of Bianchi. While there is no existing holograph for this particular poem, I have tried to make decisions about punctuation and overall form according to my impression of Dickinson's work from other manuscripts (see Emily Dickinson Writing a Poem) in order to arrive at a transcription that would seem most like Dickinson's own.

Thomas Johnson notes that the final line was not included in Susan Gilbert Dickinson's written copy of this poem, from which it is very likely Bianchi drew her versions; however, I have chosen to include the final line in this particular version for several reasons. First, while Susan Dickinson did not include the line in her own transcription, the fact that it has been included in subsequent transcriptions by Bianchi and Johnson suggests that Bianchi perhaps had knowledge of the lines existence from sources other that the particular copy to which Johnson refers (see the writings of Susan Dickinson). Furthermore, the line does complete the overall rhyme scheme and provides at least an impression of closure that is lacking when the poem ends with the dash at line seven. While Johnson does not present the poem as a letter, Bianchi represents it as such in Life and Letters, and I have decided to do the same with this particular version. Given the fact that Susan Dickinson appears to have been the primary recipient of this poem, and indeed appears to be responsible for the surviving holograph used by Bianchi and Johnson, it makes sense that Dickinson would have sent this poem, like so many others, to Susan Dickinson in the form of a note or letter (see Dickinson's letter poems).

Bianchi and Johnson have both imposed numbers upon the poem (#1695 in Johnson; XXV. in Bianchi's Single Hound); however these are for the purposes of each particular collection; although Johnson's numbering is often used in anthologies as a means of identifying Dickinson's poems. Finally though, I have chosen to add the poemís date, according to Bianchi's Life and Letters, as a means by which the reader may choose to locate the poem within their knowledge of Dickinson's biography and conceivably make connections with other poems that were written during the same time.


1. from MDB Life and Letters; does not appear in Johnson's Variorum or MDB The Single Hound. 2.comma (MDB*) 3. comma (MDB) 4. comma (MDB) 5. comma (MDB) 6. comma (MDB) 7. colon in place of dash (MDB) 8. given in MDB Life and Letters.

*Martha Dickinson Bianchi, as edited in The Single Hound, Boston: Little, Brown Co. 1914; and The Life and Letters of Emily Dickinson, Boston: Houghton, 1924.