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Inflections of the pen : dash and voice in Emily Dickinson

Author: Paul Crumbley
Publisher: Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, ©1997.
Edition/Format:   Book : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Emily Dickinson's life and art have fascinated - and perplexed - the poet's admirers for more than a century. One of the most hotly debated elements of Dickinson's poetry has been her unconventional use of punctuation. Now, in Inflections of the Pen: Dash and Voice in Emily Dickinson, Paul Crumbley unravels many of these stylistic mysteries in his careful examination of manuscript versions of her poems - including  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Crumbley, Paul, 1952-
Inflections of the pen.
Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, ©1997
(OCoLC)605516716
Named Person: Emily Dickinson; Emily Dickinson; Emily Dickinson; Emily Dickinson
Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Paul Crumbley
ISBN: 081311988X 9780813119885
OCLC Number: 34912738
Description: 212 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: 1. Dashes and the limits of discourse --
2. Playing with elite and popular traditions --
3. Dash and voice in the letters --
4. Listening to the child --
5. The community of self --
6. Homelessness and the forms of selfhood.
Responsibility: Paul Crumbley.

Abstract:

Emily Dickinson's life and art have fascinated - and perplexed - the poet's admirers for more than a century. One of the most hotly debated elements of Dickinson's poetry has been her unconventional use of punctuation. Now, in Inflections of the Pen: Dash and Voice in Emily Dickinson, Paul Crumbley unravels many of these stylistic mysteries in his careful examination of manuscript versions of her poems - including selections from the fascicles, Dickinson's own hand-bound gatherings of her poems - and of Dickinson's letters. Crumbley argues that the dash is the key to deciphering the poet's complex experiments with poetic voice. From the time of Dickinson's first editors, Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, standard versions of her poetry have tended to normalize the poems. Designated as either em- or en-dashes in print by all but a few recent editors, Dickinson's dash marks in the holograph versions vary tremendously in length, height, and angle. According to Crumbley, these varied dashes suggest subtle gradations of inflection and syntactic disjuction. The printed poems give the impression of a unified voice, whereas the dashes that appear in the manuscripts disrupt conventional thought patterns and suggest multiple voices.

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"Reproduces sixteen separate gradations of dash, suggesting an interpretive commitment to the integrity of each.... Crumbley renders very complex ideas simply but not simplistically, and he writes Read more...

 
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