letters from dickinson to higginson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Letter 1042

MANUSCRIPT: BPL (Higg 101) . Pencil.

PUBLICATION: L (1931) 320-321.

Sometime during the winter Higginson had written, inquiring whether ED had read the notices about the death of Helen Jackson. ED replied as soon as she felt able to do so. The opening of the letter attempts to quote from Higginson's "Decoration" (1874): "And no stone, with feign'd distress,/Mocks the sacred loneliness." Helen Jackson's father, Professor Nathan Fiske, had died while on a trip to the Holy Land. On 30 March 1848, the Reverend Heman Humphrey published A Tribute to the Memory of Rev. Nathan W. Fiske . . .: "In Jerusalem he died; on Mount Zion, and near the tomb of David was he buried . . . Who at death would not love to go up from Jerusalem below, to Jerusalem above . . . ?" (For an earlier reference to George Eliot's "The Choir Invisible," see letter no. 951.) Higginson's sonnet "To the Memory of H. H." was published in the May issue of the Century Magazine. For the final quotation, see letter no. 1035. This letter to Higginson suggests that she had received from him a transcript of his sonnet in advance of publication. The scripture allusion at the end of the first paragraph is to Luke 1.28.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lv26@umail.umd.edu>
Last updated on October 1, 1998