letters from dickinson to edward everett hale

Thomas Johnson's Note on Letter 153

MANUSCRIPT: Lilly. Ink. Dated: Amherst. Jan 13th.

PUBLICATION: T.F. Madigan's catalog, The Autograph Album I (1933) 50, in part; American Literature VI (1935) 5, entire; G.F. Whicher, This Was a Poet (1938), 84-85, in part.

Hale's reply is not known to survive. ED referred to Newton on at least four other occasions. Her earliest comment is in letter written to Austin on 27 March 1853, three days after Newton's death (110: "Oh Austin, Newton is dead. The first of my own friends. Pace." Three later allusions, almost certainly to Newton, are in letters to Higginson. The first, in a letter written in 1862 (261), says: "When a little Girl, I had a friend, who taught me Immortality - but venturing too near, himself - he never returned." The second, written in the same year (no. 265), comments: "My dying Tutor told me that he would like to live till I had been a poet . . ." The third, written fourteen years later (no. 457, indicates how vivid the memory of Newton continued to remain: "My earliest friend wrote me the week before he died 'If I live, I will go to Amherst - if I die, I certainly will.'"

None of the correspondence between ED and Newton has ever been found, and the assumption therefore is that important letters revealing the development of Emily Dickinson as a poet have long since been destroyed (see letter no. 30.)

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Last updated on April 7, 2000