‘Bound—A Trouble—’: the...

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‘Bound—A Trouble—’: the Dickinson Archive

DEA2 Archives Exhibition and Virtual Conference

The recent unveilings of digital archives--the Emily Dickinson Collection produced and hosted by Amherst College and the Emily Dickinson Archive produced and hosted by the Houghton Library and Harvard University Press--have stirred up a new iteration of an old conversation within Dickinson studies. While the old conversation used to be concerned with who edited and published the work in print, we are now finally at a point where the work is being presented digitally (and multiply) in its manuscript form. But questions of editors and editions in Dickinson studies do not go away so easily. Since Dickinson’s work has always-already been edited and organized by outside hands, questions of structure and boundaries (themes we can often find within the writing itself) must repeatedly be asked—even when we think we are looking at the manuscripts alone. Digital archives remind us that no archive is a neutral space and that questions of curation and organization remain alive in our analyses of them. Dickinson’s work reminds us again and again that concrete notions of biography, genre, order, and other categories archives both rely upon and influence are fluid. This newest combination of the perpetually unorganizable Dickinson oeuvre and the stubbornly organized archive provides us with an open space for fresh conversation around Dickinson and the Archive.

The DEA invites essays and commentaries on these new digital archives and on the force of the Archive itself. We solicit responses (written or otherwise) from Dickinson scholars, Archive scholars, archivists, teachers, readers and anyone else curious and invested in the messy body of work we’ve come to know as Emily Dickinson’s.

Because this is a virtual conference online, we are not bounds by dates or geography. Any interested reader can comment at any time. We welcome your participation!