The body of Dickinson is strange to think of. Yet how much more mysterious, how much more singular is the body of her work--the poems, letters, and other writings that survived her and that have undergone many more transformations even than her carnal remains. This site, designed in conjunction with my seminar "Writing Otherwise: Emily Dickinson and the Scenes/Surfaces of Writing," encourages discussion of the "work" as a material object. Specifically, the seminar and the site examine the ways in which Dickinson "embodied" her work--as books, as leaves, as fragments--and in how her conception of these embodiments or containers of thoughts changed over the long course of her career. In addition to exploring the different bodies of Dickinson's texts, the site facilitates an encounter with Dickinson in the various scenes of her writing--on the surfaces of her manuscript pages--both in order to graph her compositional processes through an exploration of the material traces of these processes and to ask questions about the psychological, aesthetic, and/or historical processes involved in the production of these traces on paper. At last, the site is designed to stimulate discussion about the ways later readers have embodied/transformed Dickinson's writings and propose options for future embodiments/transformations of her writings.


The site is divided into four interrelated "Webs": Web 1 focuses on the genesis de texte, on the active, fluid processes of textual production; Web 2 focuses on three different bodies/embodiments of Dickinson's writings (fascicles, sets, unbound drafts and fragments); Web 3 introduces Dickinson's two most significant correspondences (Susan Huntington Dickinson; Thomas Wentworth Higginson); and Web 4 invites discussion about the spaces-archives-in which Dickinson's writings are currently housed.

Webs 1, 2, and 3 offer very brief overviews of their topics, followed by discussion questions and suggestions for web projects.


"Writing Otherwise: Emily Dickinson and the Scenes/Surfaces of Writing" draws on both print and digital resources that feature scholarly presentations of Dickinson's primary documents, as well as on relevant works of theory and criticism. While the focus of the seminar and the site will remain constant, the contents of both will almost certainly change to incorporate new presentations of primary materials and to reflect new critical thinking about textual matters.

I am grateful to the University of Michigan Press for opening selected sections of Radical Scatters to public view.

This site is perpetually under construction. Please feel free to e.mail Marta Werner with comments at mwerner@localnet.com or wernerm@dyc.edu.

This site was expertly designed by Jarom McDonald (jmcdon@glue.umd.edu).

[ Syllabus ] [ About the Site ] [ Web I ] [ Web II ] [ Web III ] [ Web IV ]