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Selected Poems (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – 18 Mar 1991

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
This is not really the edition you want. 22 Jun. 2001
By tepi - Published on
Format: Paperback
I don't doubt that it's possible to enjoy Emily Dickinson's poems in editions like this. But you should be aware that you are not really reading what she wrote. You are reading what earlier editors _wish_ she had written - a sort of 'tidied-up' and regularized version, a badly-tampered-with-text of a genius by those who weren't.
In a way, the situation is a bit like the one that prevails with regard to food. Would you rather eat natural food or genetically modified food? Maybe the modified food doesn't taste any different, but it might be doing harmful things to us that the author of real food never intended. So why take a risk when we can have the real thing ?
There are two major editors who can be relied on for accurate texts of ED's poems. These are Dickinson scholars R. W. Franklin and Thomas H. Johnson. Both produced large Variorum editions for scholars, along with reader's editions of the Complete Poems for the ordinary reader. Details of their respective reader's editions are as follows.
THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON : Reading Edition. Edited by R. W. Franklin. 692 pp. Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-674-67624-6 (hbk.)
THE COMPLETE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON. Edited by Thomas H. Johnson. 784 pp. Boston : Little, Brown, 1960 and Reissued. ISBN: 0316184136 (pbk.)
For those who don't feel up to tackling the Complete Poems, there is Johnson's abridgement of his Reader's edition, an excellent selection of what he feels were her best poems:
FINAL HARVEST : Emily Dickinson's Poems. Edited by Thomas H. Johnson. 352 pages. New York : Little Brown & Co, 1997. ISBN: 0316184152 (paperbound).
Friends, do yourself a favor and get Johnson's edition. Why accept a watered-down version when you can have the real thing?
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Good poet, bad edition 26 Aug. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Although Emily Dickinson is a marvelous poet, this edition is not a good one to buy. The catalogue claims it is printed from "the earliest, most authorative editions" without noting that the earliest editions were heavily edited, eliminating much of what makes Dickinson unusual and brilliant. For example, another reviewer quotes from poem 258, which should read "There's a certain slant of light, / Winter Afternoons-- / That oppresses, like the Heft / Of Cathedral Tunes--"; the first editor didn't think many people would know what the word "heft" meant, so he (without Dickinson's posthumous permission) simply replaced it. Get a volume of Dickinson's poems, certainly! But not this one.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A Terrible Edition 22 Mar. 2004
By Professor of American Lit - Published on
Format: Paperback
I ordered this text directly from the publisher for my students. Never once did the Dover Thrift folks ever mention that this is the "cleaned up" version of the poetry, that Dickinson's own syntax and punctuation had been altered by later editors. Though these edited versions were common years ago, today nobody really reads these versions of the poems except to discuss the stultifying effect that such gender and publication politics had on her work. Please note that there are many wonderful versions of Dickinson's work in print, and that these poems are NOT Dickinson's, not as rich or complex as hers, and NOT even worth a dollar. Find her poems for free online, or go ahead and buy a more worthwhile edition. SKIP THIS ONE.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Very portable! 18 Oct. 2012
By Patto - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have the fat Franklin tome containing the complete poems, the definitive collection, but this slim volume is the one that goes with me everywhere. It nestles almost invisibly in my purse. Weighs next to nothing, despite the weighty content of the verses.

It may not contain all my favorites, but enough of them (109) to get me through a wait in the dentist's office. Or to enrich a tea break downtown.

Certainly it contains the poems I want to commit to memory. Like "I'm nobody! Who are you?" And " I died for beauty...". And "Wild nights! Wild nights!"

The poems are chosen from the earliest anthologies of Emily Dickinson's poetry, which means they don't have the benefit of the latest scholarship. Dickinson's earliest editors had a tendency to normalize her punctuation, and modern scholars have corrected their corrections. But I've decided not to mind, since this is just my portable poet. My authoritative collection stays at home, as did the poet herself.

In short, although this volume may not satisfy serious Dickinson scholars, it has its value for me.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Emily Dickinson 10 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This little gem is a treasure trove of the best of Emily Dickinson. All of her best known works are found nestled within these pages. President John Adams once gave the advice that you would never be lonely with a poet in your pocket. It is so true. I carry this little book with me everywhere, and find myself inspired by the magic within the pages. The poems have been ordered in a logical way either by theme or topic. It includes "Hope" , "The Chariot", "March" and my favorite, "There's a certain slant of Light on winter afternoons that oppresses like the weight of cathedral tunes..." Buy this book if you wear your heart on your sleeve, your passion on your paper and your soul on your solitude.
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