Monday, August 31, 2020

AJ on ED

Alice James, in a diary entry dated January 6, 1892:

It is reassuring to hear the English pronouncement that Emily Dickinson is fifth-rate — they have such a capacity for missing quality; the robust evades them equally with the subtle. Her being sicklied o’er with T.W. Higginson makes one quake lest there be a latent flaw which escapes one’s vision.
Long before I kept a blog, I kept a commonplace book, writing out passages of all sorts by hand. I found these sentences quoted in a letter from Lorine Niedecker to fellow poet Louis Zukofsky, February 14, 1952. I just checked, and the quotation is accurate.

I mean no disrespect to “the English.” It’s the idea of disapproval as a mark of high quality that amuses me.

Related reading
All OCA Dickinson posts (Pinboard)

[For Thomas Wentworth Higginson, see here.]

comments: 2

Chris said...

I like the little Hamlet allusion. I confess to being more interested in Dickinson as a person (I've visited her home) than as a poet. All those dashes — it just doesn't swing for me.

Michael Leddy said...

“Sicklied o’er”: that went right by me.

We can agree to disagree about ED. I hope the dress is still in the glass case in the bedroom — I remember how staggering it felt to see that.