New Directions Press has shared a piece of fascinating news for every Emily Dickinson enthusiast out there. If you were ever interested in seeing her writing in the exact way she wrote them, then your time has probably come.
The publishing house in question is going to release the first full color facsimile edition of Emily Dickinson’s Manuscripts under the title The Gorgeous Nothings. What it so unusual about it?
It is an attempt to show her late, experimental works in exactly the same way they were written. And here we speak not only about the author’s handwriting, but also what they were written on – in this case, on the scraps of old envelopes. All in all, the book includes fifty-two of these envelopes: full color, life-size, both front and back. For those who are unable to understand Dickinson’s handwriting, there is a transcription for every text.
Of course, Emily Dickinson is not unique in this respect. As most people who are interested in the history of literature probably know, a lot of famous writers have left at least some of their legacy on scraps of paper which are not popularly associated with literary work: envelopes, letters, napkins, pages from pull-off calendars and so on. Among them were Keats (the first draft of his famous “Ode to a Nightingale” was written in exactly the same manner), Emily and Charlotte Bronte, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mary Shelley, Bob Dylan and many others.
The purpose of this unusual edition is to give readers an opportunity to get deeper into the world of their favorite author – deeper than it was possible ever before, because her works have never been presented in such a way in the past.
According to the representatives of New Directions Press, this unusual project was brought about by an artist Jen Bervin, a Dickinson scholar Marta L. Werner and a poet Susan Howe who provided some contributions to the final product as well. They consider it to be a great step forward for the Dickinson studies and community, popularizing them and offering a fresh viewpoint on the works of the famous poetess. The edition is sure to be interesting both for Dickinson enthusiasts and simply people who are fond of collecting rare and unusual books.
It is announced that The Gorgeous Nothings is set to be released on October 29, 2013.