Tag Archives: Emily Dickinson


Emily Dickinson Journal publishes its 25th volume in 2016 under the guidance of a new editor. James R. Guthrie, Professor of English Language and Literatures at Wright State University, now helms the journal. He joined us for a Q&A about his new role and the journal’s anniversary.

How did you come to take the editor position at the journal?

I was invited to take the position by Cristanne Miller, the EDJ‘s previous editor.

EDJ_front_coverWhat is one surprising thing you have found in the transition?

Learning to use ScholarOne. (Ed: An online system for manuscript submission and review) I was quite intimidated by ScolarOne when I took over the editorship. But now, with two issues under my belt, I’m much more comfortable with that program. ScholarOne is still not as user-friendly as I would prefer, but I’ve come to appreciate what it can do for me, as an editor.

Emily Dickinson Journal will publish its 25th volume in 2016. What does that milestone mean for you?

Twenty-five years is indeed a milestone for the EDJ. Personally, those 25 years coincide roughly with my own scholarly interest in Dickinson. It has been a real pleasure to watch Dickinson move from the fringe of recognized American writers to canonical status. My wife jokes now that she can rarely open an issue of the Sunday New York Times or the New Yorker without coming across a reference to Emily Dickinson. She has definitely entered the mainstream of American culture and literary history.

What kind of plans to you have in the short term for the journal?

Now that I’m more comfortable with the position of editor, I look forward to using the EDJ to encourage growth in particular areas of Dickinson scholarship. For example, I’m interested in encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to her poetry. I also like cultural materialist / new historical approaches. Also, there’s a good deal of interest among Dickinson scholars these days in looking more closely at literary kinships between Dickinson and other 19th-century American writers such as Melville and Thoreau. Then too, Dickinson scholarship has become increasingly international in scope. Foreign scholars have much to offer about the reception of Dickinson’s work in their countries, translations of the poems, and similarities between her work and that of local celebrated authors.

What kind of advice would you give to scholars looking to publish in the journal?

I would certainly advise scholars considering submitting work to the EDJ to go ahead and do so — we welcome any sort of scholarship concerning Dickinson. And Dickinson is something of a hot property these days in scholarship and the media — so young scholars may boost their own careers by focusing more intently upon Dickinson’s work. The network of Dickinson scholars is (drawing upon my own experience) welcoming, receptive to new ideas, and friendly. So, take a chance on Dickinson — I think all of us practicing Dickinson scholars are happy that we did.


Filed under Journals, Literature, Poetry, Poetry

Emily Dickinson, William Shakespeare, and the Henry Folgers

In 1874, Emily Dickinson wrote the poem:

Dear March – Come in –
Glad I am –
I hoped for you before –
Put down your Hat –
You must have walked –
How out of Breath you are –
Dear March, how are you, and the Rest –
Did you leave Nature well –
Oh March, Come right up stairs with me –
I have so much to tell –

The following year, Henry Clay Folger of Brooklyn entered Amherst College in  as a freshman.

Emily Dickinson and Henry Folger lived three blocks away from each other in Amherst, Massachusetts, for four years. There is every reason to believe they never met. Henry was studious on campus; Emily was reclusive at home.

Emily Dickinson

Emily’s older brother, the treasurer of Amherst College, sent this note to Henry in 1876: “Your Term Bill for the present Term remaining unsettled, your attention is called to the Rule of the College in reference to same. Wm. A. Dickinson.” Folger was having difficulty paying his tuition bills. His businessman father was suffering from the Panic of 1873. Only through the generosity of Charles Pratt, the father of Henry’s roommate, was Folger able to graduate (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1879.

One week after graduation, Folger joined the Standard Oil Company in New York as a clerk working for the same Charles Pratt. Fifty years later, Henry stepped down as CEO of Standard Oil. What did Folger do with the fortune he earned as John D. Rockefeller’s trusted lieutenant? With his wife Emily Jordan Folger, who had earned an M.A. in Shakespeare studies at Vassar, he acquired the largest collection of Shakespeare-related items in the world.

Folger contracted with French-born architect Paul Philippe Cret to design and build a marble monument to the Bard within sight of the U.S. Capitol: the Folger Shakespeare Library. The Folgers selected scenes from nine Shakespeare plays to adorn the exterior. Whereas in classical architecture carved bas-relief scenes were generally placed above pillars on the triJulius Caesar friezeangular pediment of a stately building, in the neo-classical edifice that Cret designed, the Folgers asked that the scenes be placed at convenient eye-level for passing pedestrians. In John Gregory’s sculpture illustrating Julius Caesar, Caesar has fallen and is dying. Brutus still has the knife in his hand. “Beware the ides of March,” a soothsayer warned the Emperor in Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene 2, as Caesar was going to the Roman Senate. Caesar replied, “He is a dreamer. Let us leave him.”

Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger is being released by Johns Hopkins University Press on March 15, 2014. As the author of the first biography of the founders of the Folger Shakespeare Library in eighty-two years, I have so much to tell—the atmosphere is one of fulfillment of a dream, rather than one of foreboding, on these Ides of March 2014.

grant.collectingStephen H. Grant is a senior fellow at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training and the author of Peter Strickland: New London Shipmaster, Boston Merchant, First Consul to Senegal. Visit the JHU Press Calendar for information about Collecting Shakespeare book talks this month.

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Filed under For Everyone, Libraries, Literature