letters between dickinson and thomas niles

Thomas Johnson's Note on Letter 573d

ED's letters to Helen Jackson written during 1878 are missing, but the contents of them can be inferred from those Mrs. Jackson wrote ED (HCL). The first, dated Colorado Springs, 29 April 1878 (L 573a), asks for a poem to be included in a volume of the No Name series. The full story of Mrs. Jackson's effort to get it is told in Poems (1955) xxx-xxxiii, and begins with this letter (L 573a, unpublished), which returns a photograph of Gilbert.

On her October visit Mrs. Jackson pursued her effort to secure a poem. From Hartford, Connecticut, where she and Mr. Jackson were sojourning at the home of Charles Dudley Warner, she wrote on 25 October, the day following her Amherst visit, the following note (L 573b), pressing her request.

ED must have granted permission, for Mrs. Jackson wrote the following letter (L 573c), dated Colorado Springs, 8 December 1878.

The story of the publishing of "Success" comes to an end with this letter (HCL; L573d), written to ED by Thomas Niles, the publisher of Roberts Brothers. It is dated 15 January 1879, and was a reply to one from ED, written to thank him for a copy of A Masque of Poets.

Typical of the reviews of A Masque of Poets which attributed "Success" to Emerson is that which appeared in the influential Literary World, 10 December 1878 (IX, 118): "If anything in the volume was contributed by Emerson, we should consider these lines upon 'Success' most probably his." And the comment is followed with a quotation of the whole poem.

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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 January 12, 1999