In "Interior Chambers: The Emily Dickinson Homestead," Diana Fuss writes that Emily Dickinson was "a woman acutely aware of her spatial surroundings." Though many critics have explored the interiority of Dickinson's poetry, Fuss's agenda is to critique the "poetry of Dickinson's interiors," including the tropes of spatiality, construction, and domesticity, as she mediates between poetic passages/letters and detailed description of Dickinson's house, The Homestead. Such attention to not only the space which Dickinson inhabited but the space in which she composed is vital for enhancing understanding of the physical conditions of Dickinson's writing practice.
The Dickinson Electronic Archives is founded upon the assumptions that 1) Emily Dickinson's poetry is inextricably connected to the correspondences which gave birth to that poetry, and 2)reconceiving Dickinson's poetry as scribal objects before printed objects can lead to invaluable understanding of the significance of Dickinson's work in her own life, in the lives of those with whom she corresponded, in 19th-century United States literary culture, and in poetic studies today. Ultimately, the working goal of the Archives (and the Dickinson Editing Collective) is to portray Emily Dickinson first as a writer. While up to this point the Archives have focused primarily on the manuscript as the object of scribal production, other spheres were influential in her writing practice and can be revealing as to the creative process surrounding Emily Dickinson's poetry.
Therefore, "The Homestead, Evergreens, and More: Virtual Dickinson Landscapes" proposes to explore the physical spaces of Dickinson's writing through a detailed, developed use of virtual imaging technology and Internet design. Digital Video technology will allow the editors of this section of the archive to accumulate film images and subsequently employ Quicktime Virtual Reality authoring software in order to reconstruct, in as close to a 3D space as possible, the interior and exterior of Emily Dickinson's house (The Homestead), the house of her brother and sister (The Evergreens), and the grounds and gardens surrounding the two dwellings. The nature of the Internet will then allow users to move through Dickinson space, clicking on objects of interest in order to get a close up view, zooming in or out at will, and rotating their perspective in order to feel "within" the spaces that gave rise to Dickinson's textual creations. Our hope is that by creating these virtual landscapes, users can better understand the physical structures, both their constraints and their liberations, with which Dickinson surrounded herself and which always figured into her poetry and letters.
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