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H L13

JL 85


5 April 1852


watermark/embossment: SFHBP, Superfine H.B. Paris, embossed

21.8 x 17.5 cm.

multiple folds

FF 197-200. Faint pencilled marks across each paragraph, very worn. In the first paragraph's last sentence, Johnson mistakenly transcribes "much" instead of "such," and near the end of the letter regularizes Dickinson making one quotation mark work for two quotations in: ". . .forever ." Herein. . . ." He also notes that "'Emerald' was used to distinguish Mrs. Mack, the Irish washerwoman, from members of the family of Deacon David Mack," and identifies Dickinson's allusions to "the Popes and the Polloks and the John-Milton Browns" when she caricatures some of her friends as literary celebrities. Pope was a model of regular verse; Pollock was very popular; with "John-Milton Brown" she most likely puns on the names of the seventeenth-century bard and a near-contemporary Scottish divine.

Johnson notes the several books mentioned and the death of Dickinson's aunt: "The Light in the Valley, a memorial of Mary Elizabeth Stirling, who died at Haddonfield, New Jersey, 30 January 1852 (Philadelphia, American Baptist Publication Society, 1852); Only, by Matilda Anne Mackarness (Boston & Cambridge, J. Monroe, 1850); idem, A House upon a Rock (1852); Alton Locke, by Charles Kingsley (1850); Olive, by Dinah Maria Craik (Miss Mulock) (1850); idem, Head of a Family (1851). Dickens' Bleak House was published in monthly parts in 1852-1853.

Edward Dickinson's sister Mary (Mrs. Mark Newman) died 30 March 1852."

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Image reproduced by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University. Not to be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.
Transcription and commentary copyright 1996 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Last updated on June 5, 2001
Maintained by Lara Vetter