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Smith, Martha Nell: "Who Made Dickinson’s “Poems”?"

Who Made Dickinson’s “Poems”?

Martha Nell Smith, University of Maryland

I will talk about the relationship between the Dickinson Electronic Archives (DEA), the DEA2, and Emily Dickinson’s Correspondences (EDC). The original plan for the Dickinson Electronic Archives was to organize presentations of her work as volumes of ED’s epistolary writings. Though we didn’t call it that then, crowdsourcing is how I was trying to lay out the editing for epistolary writings of ED in order to bring more pairs of eyes to examine the material artifacts, and think about ED’s representations to different audiences. Different editors worked on different parts of her letters in the original DEA project. Though much of the work was accomplished, copyright inconveniences made me propose a redesign to the University of Virginia Press's Rotunda New Digital Scholarship, and we produced Emily Dickinson’s Correspondences, A Born-Digital Textual Inquiry (2008). The focus there is to examine every type of document produced at some point by ED, and to examine those types all within a particular correspondence (to Susan). The apparent limitation of Emily Dickinson’s Correspondences to document types within one correspondence turned out to create critical opportunities unimagined or considered to be “off in the future.” The DEA2: A Critical and Creative Collaboratory for Reading Dickinson’s Material Bodies combines both of those critical objectives and is designed to be interoperable with the EDA, ACDC, EDC, and with its own earlier incarnation. The DEA2 is a hybrid forum for publication and other kinds of scholarly communication. Integrating features of the manuscript archive and the scholarly journal, the DEA2 provides an experimental exhibition space, as well as a pedagogical forum. At present, we have published two exhibitions—The 1859 Daguerreotype: Is This Emily Dickinson? (ed. Smith) and Ravished Slates: Re-visioning the “Lord Letters,” a Scholarly Exploration of Material Evidence (Werner). Two exhibitions by Jessica Beard and Gabrielle Dean are in the planning or production stages and will be published in 2014.