If the correspondence to Susan Dickinson looked like this. . . .

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If the correspondence to Susan Dickinson was in tatters and as uncertain as these documents, what would have been the response of audiences over the years? As it is, with the Susan D correspondence, we have an integral body of letters, poems, and letter-poems where the addressee is certain. We don't even know if these documents belong together, as Marta Werner shows so well. The strong desire to deny the lack of integrity of this correspondence says more about audiences than it does about Emily Dickinson, doesn't it? And why have so few noticed that this correspondece was trotted out in the 1950s, not long after Rebecca Patterson's The Riddle of Emily Dickinson was published. Suddenly Millicent Todd Bingham remembered this love affair. As Werner and others know, I've been writing about this and giving talks about this "lavender scare" sudden discovery of a late life romance a lot of late. Hats off to Werner, whose work is nothing short of meticulously splendid, incredibly nuanced, and wise.

--Martha Nell Smith