Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Surely something can be done about this …

… Who Gets Emily Dickinson? - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

Several Dickinson scholars have expressed to me their frustration with Harvard’s policies. It is a topic frequently whispered about in Dickinson studies, but some avoid speaking publicly for fear of reprisal. Critics who spend their entire careers citing Dickinson cannot risk losing permission to do so. One tenured Dickinson scholar who wished to remain anonymous wrote to me, “Frankly, this topic makes me very nervous!” The same person underscored Harvard’s power to intimidate: “Please, please, I’ll tell you anything I can, but I can’t afford to be on the outs with Harvard!” The chilling effects of Harvard’s policies not only make it harder to cite and edit Dickinson, then, but also to discuss the issue publicly.

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