Document Type

Book Review

Journal/Book Title/Conference

The Emily Dickinson Journal



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In Emily Dickinson's Open Folios Marta L. Werner presents both an experimental edition of the forty holograph drafts and fragments known as the Lord correspondence and a highly suggestive analysis of this material. Werner's book proceeds from the simple seeming proposition that we must learn to see Dickinson's holographs before reading them. In this claim Werner aligns herself with Susan Howe, Martha Nell Smith, Sharon Cameron and a [End Page 111] growing list of scholars who believe that the visual complexities of Dickinson's holograph manuscripts significantly challenge generic categories such as poetry, prose, letters, and books. Werner's work most particularly resembles Howe's stylistically, for Werner allows her critical perceptions to shape the texture of her prose. Convinced that at the heart of Dickinson's work is an interplay of voices, Werner herself abjures traditional argumentation in favor of a poetic writing that encourages readers to collaborate with the voices of literary discourse in a conversation designed to expand rather than resolve interpretive possibilities.


Original author is Marta L. Werner