letters from dickinson to abiah root

Thomas Johnson's Note on Letter 7

MANUSCRIPT: HCL (ARS 1). Ink. Addressed on the fold: Miss Abiah P. Root/Feeding Hills/Mass. Postmarked: Amherst Ms Aug 4. Dated: Sabbath eve.

PUBLICATION: L (1894) 8-12, many omissions; LL 113-115, further omissions; L (1931) 6-10, several omissions. The Dickinsons' piano arrived shortly after ED last wrote to Abiah, and here she is able to report progress in her playing. Her music is in a large, bound volume (HCL), but the only piece therein that is mentioned here is "The Grave of Bonaparte," a song, with music by L. Heath, Boston, Oliver Ditson, 1843. No reliable account of her playing has been preserved, though Mrs. Bianchi recorded (FF 157) her mother's memory of ED's improvisations. Most of the compositions in her early collection are popular marches, waltzes, and quicksteps. The expression "heap coals of fire," though originating in the Bible (Proverbs 25.22 and Romans 12.20), had become so well known that its use here as a figure of speech would not necessarily mean that ED felt it to be a scripture allusion.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lvetter@uncc.edu>
Last updated on February 25, 2008