Media Advisory: UB professor to discuss her new book “The Letters of Emily Dickinson”

Release Date: April 24, 2024

Cristanne Miller, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB Department of English.

Cristanne Miller, PhD

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Cristanne Miller, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Edward H. Butler Professor of English in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, will officially launch her latest book, “The Letters of Emily Dickinson,” at Hallwalls, 341 Delaware Ave. in Buffalo, with a reading and conversation at 7 p.m. April 29.

Co-edited with Domhnall Mitchell, PhD, professor of 19th century American literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the book offers a groundbreaking reassessment of Dickinson. The hermetic recluse of history is replaced by the contemporary image of a great friend, a sometimes traveler — until she was in her 30s — and a deeply involved community member engaged with the events of her time.

The poet who emerges from the letters, in fact, is one that readers see for the first time.

“Though she was reclusive in the sense that she did not visit a lot of people or leave the town of Amherst, Massachusetts, after her mid-30s, she did throughout her life reach out to a large number of people through correspondence,” says Miller. “It’s very clear from the kinds of letters she’s writing that she is not discouraging relationships at all − she’s in fact encouraging them.”

Copies of the book will be available for purchase from Talking Leaves Books.

This new definitive edition of Dickinson’s letters is the first since Thomas H. Johnson and Theodora Ward published their edition more than 60 years ago.

It contains all 1,049 letters included in Johnson and Ward’s collection, restoring missing text where necessary, while adding letter-poems and recently discovered letters collected for the first time in a single edition. It presents 1,304 letters by Dickinson, and all extant letters she received.

“What is made plain in these letters,” a review by the Poetry Foundation states, “is that the reality is far more wondrous than the prefab myth of Dickinson that has so long existed.”

What: Book talk and signing with Cristanne Miller, co-editor of “The Letters of Emily Dickinson”

When: 7 p.m. Monday, April 29

Where: Hallwalls, 341 Delaware Ave.

Hosts: Hallwalls and Talking Leaves Books

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