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Werner's Radical Scatters: Emily Dickinson's Fragments and Related Texts, 1870-1886 (University of Michigan Press 1999) is a site-licensed electronic archive, the first SGML-encoded section of an increasingly collaborative effort of the Dickinson Editing Collective which aims to reproduce electronically all of Dickinson's writings, beginning with the poetic and epistolary texts in her correspondences. Radical Scatters contains all of the extant fragments composed by Dickinson between 1870 and 1886. In addition to these "core" texts, the archive contains the poems, letters, and other writings with direct links to the fragments. The fragments in Radical Scatters fall into two groups: autonomous fragments, fragments that do not have links to other texts in Dickinson's oeuvre, but which were nonetheless saved by her; and trace fragments that reappear, often altered, in other writings--poems, letters, variant fragments--in Dickinson's oeuvre. In addition to offering scholars access to a late scene of writing, the archive reveals the tension between autonomy and intertextuality in Dickinson's works by allowing users to see how various fragments enter into and later break away from other documents.

The Radical Scatters archive is organized around four linked bodies of materials: (1) graphic files containing high-quality images of the fragments and related texts; (2) graphic files containing diplomatic transcriptions displaying the full compositional process of the fragments and related texts from both spatial and temporal perspectives; (3) files containing SGML-marked e-texts of the fragments and related texts; and (4) files containing various paratexts, including indices to the documents in the archive, a library of text-types and codes, physical descriptions of the fragments, and critical and bibliographical commentaries on the fragments and related texts. All of the materials are organized for full electronic search and analysis, and all are embedded in a complex hypertextual environment that makes possible both the exploration of macrogenetic phenomena (i.e., phenomena occurring across the documents in the archive) and the analysis of microgenetic details (i.e., salient features of individual documents). While the non-hierarchical or decentered structure of the archive reflects the fragments' irreducible singularity and their resistance to assimilation into a single configuration, its system of non-linear links illuminates the fragments' openness to and participation in multiple and contingent "orders." A separate file of "control documents," containing examples of documents drawn from the realm of Dickinson's late papers, but not included in the body of the archive proper, is included to help clarify the criteria used to determine whether or not a text should be included in the present archive, and to foreground the difficulty of defining the boundaries of a collection of radically heterogeneous texts. The inclusion of these additional documents will aid scholars interested in theorizing about Dickinson's overall management--composition, storage, assimilation, dissemination--of her late, unbound texts.

Copyright 1994 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Rebecca Mooney <rnmooney@umd.edu>