John Mulvihill: Why Dickinson Didn't Title
The knowledge of things is not to be derived from names. . . . no man will like to put himself or the education of his mind in the power of names. Socrates Cratylus 439b, 440c
By intuition, Mightiest Things Assert themselves -- and not by terms -- (P420)
Omissions are not accidents. Marianne Moore
In April 1883, Emily Dickinson wrote to Thomas Niles, a Boston publisher, thanking him for his kind opinion of one poem she had sent him, and noting her enclosure of three others.
Thank you for the kindness.
I am glad if the Bird seemed true to you.
Please efface the others and receive these three,
more like him -- a Thunderstorm -- a Humming Bird,
and a Country Burial. . . . (L814)1
There are eight other letters with similar references to poem enclosures. The references are remarkable for constituting nearly all the "titles" that Dickinson supplied for her poems. In Appendix 8 of his 1955 variorum edition of The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Johnson prefaces the short list of Dickinson's titles with this note:
Emily Dickinson herself gave titles to twenty-four poems; twenty-one of the titles are for poems which she sent to friends, three are for poems in the packets. In every instance but two, among the twenty-one for poems sent to friends, the title is supplied in the letter accompanying the poem, not on the copy of the poem itself. The exceptions are nos. 15 and 227.
Judith Farr comments on the four titles provided in the letter to publisher Thomas Niles: "The Bird," "A Thunderstorm," "A Humming Bird," "A Country Burial" (numbers 1561, 824, 1463, and 829). Farr says these titles "were obviously selected because [Dickinson] knew titles were customary, not because she conceived of them as improving the coherence of her work" (246-47). Yet Dickinson enclosed poems in scores of letters; why bow to custom and provide titles in just a few? We might conjecture that Dickinson added titles in the letters to Niles because Niles was a publisher, for whom titles were a tool of the trade. But Dickinson had not and would not submit to Niles the manuscript collection of her poems that he had requested (twice); that is, she was not sending the poems to him as if to a potential publisher. She was simply sending him a few poems as a gift, the way she did to several other correspondents. Also, the poem references are not peculiar to letters to Niles. They occur in letters or notes to Higginson, Mabel Loomis Todd, and nephew Ned Dickinson.2
There is another odd thing about these "titles," besides the fact that they occur so rarely in her letters: Dickinson does not mark them in the same way she does other titles. When she refers to other people's poems by title, she usually sets off the title with quotation marks or underscoring (see, for example, L85, L234, L368). However, she sets off the references to her own poems only by capitalizing the first letter of all major words. Even in the one place (L316) where she refers to a poem of hers that has been published with a title -- "A narrow Fellow in the Grass," published as "The Snake" -- she uses only capitalization.3
Farr characterizes the titles in the letters as "afterthoughts and primitive." But could it be that these are not even titles -- at least that they were not intended as titles by Dickinson herself? As John Fisher has pointed out, "a title is not the only way to identify a work." For example, we can refer to The Praise Singer as "Mary Renault's novel about Simonides" (290). True, in some ways these references in Dickinson's letters look like titles: they are brief and nominal like many titles, and refer to the subject of the poem. On the other hand, in important ways they are not like titles. Besides not being set off with quotation marks or underscoring like titles, they are not in the title position heading the body of the poem; that is, as a reference they are a step removed from the poem. Nor do they correspond to anything in the title position above the poem. There is nothing in the title position of the manuscripts of these poems, nor in the title position of 99.9 percent of Dickinson's poems. The references in the letters, then, are not title references but references to poems that were not titled.
If I am right and these are not titles, we are left with only four genuine Dickinson titles: three of them heading poems in the packets -- "Snow flakes." (P36), "Pine Bough." (161), and "Purple -- " (P776) -- and one, "The Bumble Bee's Religion," heading a poem in a note sent to Gilbert Dickinson ("His little Hearse like Figure"). Once it has been established that Dickinson titled even less often than previously thought, the mystery of Dickinson's nontitling deepens. Why did she not supply what poets had been supplying as a matter of course for over 250 years before her? Why didn't Dickinson title?
The most obvious explanation for Dickinson's nontitling would be that she did not publish. The innovation of providing titles for short poems grew out of the commercialization of poetry.4 Poems are given titles when they are intended for public consumption; Dickinson never prepared hers for public consumption. However, this explanation has its weaknesses. Dickinson's nonpublication and nontitling may be associated without the first being the cause of the second. Certainly nonpublication allowed her to forego the titling that a publisher likely would have insisted on. But finally, her nontitling says as much about her nonpublication. Titling reveals an author with the marketplace, and its requirements, in mind. Dickinson never showed any inclination to title, not in her earliest poetry, not in the poetry before Higginson's counsel against publication (see L265). Her nontitling strongly suggests she never had any interest in publishing.5
Most of Dickinson's many commentators say nothing about her nontitling. Perhaps they assume that the nontitling is the result of nonpublication, and that there is nothing more to say about it. However, three contemporary critics have given alternative explanations. For Mutlu Konuk Blasing, titles are associated with authority, an authority that Dickinson, as a nineteenth-century woman in a patriarchal culture, could not claim:
Dickinson's gender displaces her from this patrilineal line of symbolic substitutions that authorizes poetry. . . . Dickinson's untitled, unauthorized work celebrates the deviation of a "slant" language and consists, in fact, of poems without titles and often without authorized versions. She resists the Word directly authorized. . . . (175)6
Dickinson's nontitling can also be seen as an example of a modern linguistic skepticism that was itself a form of a larger epistemological skepticism. In his Dickinson: The Modern Idiom, David Porter explains Dickinson's nontitling as one aspect of her radical modernism, a modernism in which "a mind explosive with signifying power but disinherited from transcendent knowledge" creates . . . in general an art marked by absences and omissions (7). According to Porter, she could not title:
Because she had no definable purpose, and was without a sense of mastery carried through to its conclusion, she was unable to recognize the definiteness involved in putting a title to a poem. With no particular subject to her parabolic sweeps, no presiding project, and no sense of form fulfilling itself, there were no titles. The absence is emblematic of the artistic career. (185)
Similar to Porter, Richard Howard sees Dickinson's nontitling as one of a number of related "problems" in her poetry: the problem of her never wanting to publish, the problem of her variants, the problem of her dashes, and so on -- all aspects of the fact that "there is no finality to her work -- there is only presence" (71). For Howard, though, Dickinson's nontitling is not the result of being tempermentally unable to finish (as Porter says), but of being tempermentally uninterested in finishing:
[F]or herself, the poems are endless approximations, in part throwaways, in part provisional stays and props against ecstasy -- what she called "an unfinished Pleasure." For her, each poem written was merely a way of proceeding to the next one, a release from bonds, a transition . . . and in such a procession, titles were not only an irrelevant distraction, they were a betrayal, foreclosing what was to be perpetually dissolved, kept open. (93)
All three critics -- Blasing, Porter, and Howard -- discuss Dickinson's nontitling as one of several related features of her poetic practice. In contrast I offer an explanation that focuses on only her nontitling, and that is based on evidence of her linguistic skepticism. Statements in both the poems and letters depreciate language, and specifically names, as providing only second-hand, inadequate knowledge. These statements, along with three features of the poems and letters, suggest that Dickinson rejected titling out of a Socratic, specifically Cratylian, distrust of names as knowledge. The features are: (1) her use of quotation marks in poems to set off terms; (2) her odd way of referring to her own poems as if they were nonlinguistic things; and (3) the frequent avoidance of familiar names within poems.7
One of the earliest debates over the relation between words and things occurs in Plato's Cratylus, which Socrates concludes with this statement about the inadequacy of names:
the knowledge of things is not to be derived from names. . . . no man of sense will like to put himself or the education of his mind in the power of names. (439b, 440c)
In the tradition of the Cratylus, Dickinson openly depreciates the knowledge value of names in several poems:
Of Mines, I little know -- myself --
But just the names. . . . (P299)
I scarce esteem Location's Name -- (P725)
Their names, unless you know them,
'Twere useless tell. (P1746)
Obviously this depreciation would be difficult to trace to its source. Dickinson's biographer Cynthia Griffin Wolff speculates that difficulty in early nonverbal communication between Dickinson and her mother, Emily Norcross, caused Dickinson to have a distorted attitude toward language. She experienced a "Fall into Language," whereby verbal discourse came to seem "a second-best alternative to some other, loosely defined transcendent intimacy." For example, Dickinson "consistently construed verbal communication as only second best to seeing" (54). Whether or not we accept Wolff's psychological explanation of an early "fall into language," we can see the attitude she describes in many Dickinson poems, quite clearly in the following:
You'll know it -- as you know 'tis Noon --
By Glory --
As you do the Sun --
By Glory --
As you will in Heaven --
Know God the Father -- and the Son.
By intuition, Mightiest Things
Assert themselves -- and not by terms --
"I'm Midnight" -- need the Midnight say --
"I'm Sunrise" -- Need the Majesty?
Omnipotence -- had not a Tongue --
His lisp -- is Lightning -- and the Sun --
His Conversation -- with the Sea --
"How shall you know"?
Consult your Eye! (P420)
The speaker says we know the sublime not through language ("terms"), which is mediated knowledge, but directly, "by intuition." Dickinson's attention to, even worship of, Nature is based on Nature's association with and more direct access to the sublime. The creatures have not experienced the unfortunate "fall into language."
The career of flowers differs from ours only in inaudibleness. I feel more reverence as I grow for these mute creatures whose suspense or transport may surpass my own. (L388)
The Butterfly upon the Sky,
That does'nt know its Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Is just as high as you and I,
And higher, I believe, . . . (P1521)8
At a moment of transcendent intimacy in one poem, language is even called "profane."
There came a Day at Summer's full,
Entirely for me --
I thought that such were for the Saints,
Where Resurrections -- be -- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The time was scarce profaned, by speech --
The symbol of a word
Was needless, as at Sacrament,
The Wardrobe -- of our Lord -- (P322)
In dozens of other poems, Dickinson highlights the distinction between phenomena and our verbal designations for them. Sometimes she uses quotation marks to set off the word as a word.
Will there really be a "Morning"?
Is there such a thing as "Day"? (P101)
At other times, the word "call" or some synonym does the work of quotation marks:
By Men, yclept Caterpillar! (P173)
And bye and bye -- a Change --
Called Heaven -- (P246)
To that Pink stranger we call Dust --
What surgeons call alive -- (P1633)9
In yet other instances, she uses both quotation marks and "call" or a synonym of "call":
An extasy of parting
Denominated "Death" -- (P71)
I think, they call it "God" -- (P293)
The name -- of it -- is "Autumn" -- (P656)
Whose title is "the Soul." (P1617)
In all these examples, the aim seems to be to signal the name's artificiality, and to question its adequacy to describe something that can really be known only by direct contact.
The greatest expression of Dickinson's linguistic skepticism -- so large, so pervasive, that usually it is not even perceived -- is her decision to not supply titles for her poems. If names are a poor substitute for more immediate knowledge of objects and phenomena, so are titles a poor substitute for knowledge of her poems. Like "Mightiest Things," her poems are to assert themselves "by intuition," not "by terms." At the sacrament of her poems, "the symbol of a word / Was needless."
Someone may want to object that poems are not the same sort of thing as natural phenomena, or spiritual experience. After all poems are made of words, of a variety of names. True. But that does not mean that poems are better known by names than are other sorts of phenomena. Poems are themselves complex phenomena that can evoke a physical response in the reader or listener and are perhaps best known through this physical response, this intuition. Dickinson thought so. Higginson reports that Dickinson said during a visit by him: "If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way." (L342a). In addition, if we look again at those "title" references in the letters discussed at the beginning of this essay, we see that Dickinson herself blurs the distinction between her verbal creations and natural phenomena. I quoted from L814 at the beginning of this essay. Following are the relevant pieces of four other letters.
To T.W. Higginson August 1877 I send you a Gale, and an Epitaph -- and a Word to a Friend, and a Blue Bird, for Mrs Higginson. Excuse them if they are untrue -- (L513)
To Thomas Niles late April 1882 The kind but incredible opinion of "H. H." and yourself I would like to deserve -- Would you accept a Pebble I think I gave to her, though I am not sure. (L749)
To Mabel Loomis Todd October 1882 I cannot make an Indian Pipe but please accept a Humming Bird. (L770)
To Thomas Niles mid-March 1883 I bring you a chill Gift -- My Cricket and the Snow. (L813)
I have already argued that the references are not "title" references but references to poems without titles. The references say even more than that the poems are not titled. Note her phrasing. She refers to the poems as if they are objects and phenomena, not verbal representations of objects and phenomena. It is one thing to say in a letter, "I'm enclosing two poems, "A Gale" and "An Epitaph." It is another thing to say, "I send you a Gale and an Epitaph." In L749 she asks Thomas Niles, "Would you accept a Pebble . . . ?" as if she were enclosing a real pebble and not a poem about a pebble. (Thomas Johnson reports that the letter containing the poem titled "The Bumble Bee's Religion" ["His little Hearse like Figure"] is said to have been accompanied by a dead bee.) Referring to the publication of "A narrow Fellow in the Grass," she writes to Higginson, "Lest you meet my Snake. . . ." (L316) This sort of punning is so regular as to suggest a breakdown of the distinction between the poem and the object or phenomenon that is its subject. In L493 she jokes with her nephew Ned about exactly this: "I send you a Portrait of the Parish, and the first Sugar -- Dont bite the Parish, by mistake, though you may be tempted -- ."
What she does in these references corresponds to what she does in poems such as " 'Hope' is the thing with feathers -- " (P254). In these "definition" poems she reifies abstractions, turning words into things, as if to close the gap between language and sensory experience. In the letter references she's enlarging the process, reifying whole poems. But these references are only a reflection of the greater "reification" that Dickinson accomplishes in part by not titling. Her aims here closely resemble those of later modernist poets. As Robert Pinsky has summed it up: "Modern poetry often expressed or implied certain persistent ambitions, ambitions which have to do with giving the poem some of the status of an object or phenomenon" (4). The conclusion of Archibald MacLeish's 1926 "Ars Poetica" distills this modernist ambition to: "A poem should not mean / But be."
How does not titling help give a poem the status of an object or phenomenon? A title set above a poem looks like what it often is, an afterthought, an idea. It conceptualizes, abstracts, the poem. A poem cannot of course "be wordless / As the flight of birds" (to refer to the MacLeish poem again). But attaching a title to a poem can seem like tying a banner to a flight of birds, a banner that might read "Flight of Birds," or even "Freedom." Left untitled, one can argue, a poem can more simply be, or seem to be.
One way to show the effects of not titling is to show the effects of not naming within a poem, as in the well-known "A narrow Fellow in the Grass" (P986). The speaker never refers to the "Fellow" as a snake but as "he," "him," "Fellow," and as one of "Nature's people." These references, because they are unspecific, create a feeling of either familiarity (no names necessary between friends) or apprehensiveness (no name suggests the unknown), or both. The speaker also identifies the "Fellow" metaphorically and metonymically through an accumulation of details about its appearance and environment: "The Grass divides as with a Comb" and "He likes a Boggy Acre." The circumvention (in the sense of "to avoid by passing around") of the name of a creature (or object or phenomenon) (1) "defamiliarizes" the thing being described (to use the translation of the Russian Formalist term), which (2) evokes a more immediate experience, or intuition, of the thing. Since the title position is often the place used to name what is not named in the poem itself (an object, phenomenon, occasion), not titling can be an extension of the not naming within the poem. That is, not titling defamiliarizes the thing that is the subject of the poem. But not titling also defamiliarizes the poem itself, forcing the reader into a more immediate experience of the poem as itself a thing -- a word-thing.
Although the word "snake" never appears in "A narrow Fellow in the Grass," any reader will be able to identify the "Fellow" through clues such as "spotted shaft" and "a Whip Lash / Unbraiding in the Sun." The word or concept "snake" enters the mind sometime during one's first reading of the poem, and will be there, invisible, during all future readings. The effect of not naming, and not titling, is different in a poem with more difficult clues, such as
A Route of Evanescence
With a revolving Wheel --
A Resonance of Emerald --
A Rush of Cochineal --
And every Blossom on the Bush
Adjusts it's tumbled Head --
The mail from Tunis, probably,
An easy Morning's Ride -- (P1463)
Here the details are more impressionistic than in "A narrow Fellow in the Grass" and even whimsical ("The mail from Tunis, probably"). We might never have been sure of the subject except for the existence of a similar poem ("Within my Garden, rides a Bird") with easier clues, and Dickinson's reference to the poem in three letters (L602, L627, L814), each including or accompanied by a copy of the poem. To Mabel Loomis Todd, for example, she wrote: "I cannot make an Indian Pipe but please accept a Humming Bird" (L770).
With no title to authorize a spatial or temporal context, nor to provide a concept, emblem, or complex word on which to anchor the poem, readers must provide a context themselves -- or, alternatively, draw on their reserve of what Keats called "negative capability" and remain in "uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts."
Dickinson's poems often leave the reader with a sense of not just the evanescent (a quality of both the snake and hummingbird) but the ineffable - the unnameable. David Porter has discussed the ineffable in relation to her poems' abstractions: "She evidently avoided a more palpable naming in order to hold onto the unnameable merger with irrational existence" (36). I would go further to say that she not only avoids a "more palpable naming" but avoids naming at all, in not titling, in order to evoke "the merger with irrational existence."
Like other stylistic characteristics of her poetry - its compression, inverted syntax, neologisms - nontitling is a purposeful subversion of conventional poetic practice.10 Dickinson is the first modern poet who systematically and purposefully did not provide titles for her poems. To borrow Marianne Moore's words: her "Omissions are not accidents."
While I offer this evidence of Dickinson's linguistic skepticism as a quite specific explanation of her nontitling, I agree that her nontitling can be seen as of a piece with her nonpublication, and more generally of a piece with her antipathy toward the public sphere and her commitment to the interpersonal and private spheres. This antipathy is expressed in P288:
I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you -- Nobody -- too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise -- you know!
How dreary -- to be -- Somebody!
How public -- like a Frog --
To tell one's name -- the livelong June --
To an admiring Bog!
The public world is the verbal world, and particularly the world of names and titles. It is where you "advertise" yourself, have a career in which you make a "name" for yourself. It is where you can be a "Somebody" -- when being a "Somebody" means many people know your name who don't know you.
The interpersonal world is the world of you and me -- two "Nobodys" who don't need names because we know each other. In the private world, however, there is no "you" but only me and an unnameable something -- a feeling, an instinct, a sublime moment, as in "There came a day at Summer's full, / Entirely for me -- ."
Dickinson's poetry existed in her interpersonal and private worlds -- there is the poetry in letters, and there is the poetry she kept completely out of sight of others. She refused to go public with her poetry, though she received encouragement from some of the frogs in the public world. Since her death, editors and critics, public frogs, have played ventriloquist and told her name and the names of her poems "to an admiring Bog." There is evidence that she would not have minded, would even have cherished, this posthumous fame. Here are pieces of Dickinson poems in which the telling of names is celebrated:
Brave names of Men --
And Celestial Women --
Passed out -- of Record
Into -- Renown! (P260)
The One who could repeat the Summer day -- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . His Name -- remain -- (P307)
My Paradise -- the fame
That They -- pronounce my name -- (P431)
Though My Name
On the Heavenly fame -- (P640)
But long records the Lady's name
In Silver Chronicle. ( P864)
Step lofty, for this name be told
As far as Cannon dwell. . . (P1183)
According to her biographer Cynthia Griffin Wolff,
Years later, as she lay dying, she meditated with prophetic confidence upon her eventual fame, and perhaps posthumous renown was the only reward she could have received with unmixed emotions. Hers would become a Voice crying to the wilderness: it is better to have been a seer than to have had a career.
When words are all that is left, they are no longer only second best. Dickinson would allow herself a name only when her name was all that remained.
1. The "Bird" refers to "No Brigadier throughout the Year." "Others" probably refers to two poems she had sent Niles earlier, which, Johnson suggests, Niles did not like as much (Poems 769). The poems were "Further in Summer than the Birds" and "It sifts from Leaden Sieves."
2. Dickinson made a practice of including poems with letters to many correspondents (or, inversely, of including a brief note to accompany a poem or two). Why she only rarely refers to the enclosures in the letter is a mystery. The references all occur within a six-year period, from 1877 to 1883.
3. Here I am trusting Johnson's transcription of capital and lowercase letters.
4. My statement that the innovation of providing titles for short poems grew out of the commercialization of poetry is based largely on my study of English poetry miscellanies of the Middle Ages. I found that in miscellanies created as commercial products, the poems were given titles; in miscellanies created by an individual or family for family use, the poems were left untitled. I was helped toward this understanding of the commercial origins of titling by Gérard Genette's essay on titles. Genette points out that the title "addresses itself to many more people than does the text, people who in one way or another receive and transmit it, and thereby contribute to its circulation."
5. This isn't the place to discuss in detail the reasons for Dickinson not publishing. However, it has been suggested that her hopes of publishing were dashed by a lack of encouragement, plain discouragement, and by seeing her few anonymously published poems tampered with. The best evidence, however, shows that she did not pursue publication and actually resisted it. According to Karen Dandurand, ten separate publications of Dickinson's poems within two months in 1864 shows that her decision not to publish was not due to a lack of receptiveness from others. In Dickinson and the Strategies of Reticence, Joanne Dobson says that Dickinson's "attitude about publication is consistent with the contemporary cultural ideology of reticence" (130). Dobson suggests we believe Dickinson's statement to Higginson in 1862 that publication is "foreign to my thought, as Firmament to Fin" (L265). As late as 1883 she chose not to respond to Thomas Niles' request for "a M.S. collection of your poems, that is, if you want to give them to the world through the medium of a publisher" (L813b). The best discussion of Dickinson and publication is in Dobson (xiv, 48-55, 128-30). See also Wolff 240-55. More recently, Martha Nell Smith, drawing on a distinction Dickinson herself makes, shows that though Dickinson did not print, she did publish (16). Smith tells the story of how Dickinson published herself by sending poems out in letters -- her pen or pencil becoming her printing press, her calligraphic orthography her typeface (15).
6. See also Dobson: "proscriptions on women's expression . . . constitute a common cultural source for Dickinson's indirection" (100).
7. Here I would like to mention three other possible explanations of her nontitling, though none work as well as the one I will discuss in the body of this section. First, in not titling, perhaps Dickinson was influenced by types of untitled poetry very familiar to her: the poetry accompanying emblems in books such as Francis Quarles' 1635 Emblems, Divine and Moral; gravestone inscriptions, such as collected in Thomas Bridgman's Inscriptions on the Grave Stones in the Grave Yards of Northampton; and the Congregational hymns and psalm translations of Isaac Watts and others. Second, Dickinson interpolated scores of poems into the prose of her letters, and titles had no place in this fusion of prose and verse. The poems do not exist as separate entities but as part of a larger whole, whose "title" is the addressee's name and date. (Think of all the "epistolary" poem titles in English literature: for example, Lovelace's "To Althea from Prison," Coleridge's "To William Wordsworth.") Third, one might relate her nontitling to her practice of adapting poems for different uses. Millicent Todd Bingham was the first to point out, in 1945 in Ancestor's Brocades, that "the multiplicity of versions is partly due to the fact that Emily used her poems for different purposes" (45). R.W. Franklin says that Dickinson "would without qualms change a reading in order to make it appropriate for different people and different occasions" (132). A good example of such adaptation is "Her Losses make our Gains ashamed -- " (P1562), whose two uses are described by Thomas Johnson in his variorum edition (1077). Johnson has written that Dickinson considered even the fair copies among the packets as alterable and "not infrequently changed them when she selected them for transmission in a letter" (Poems xxxiv). Again, the occasion seems to furnish all the "title" that is necessary. Until used, the poem is left open, without a determinative title.
8. See the brief note she sent Higginson in late January of 1866 (L314): "Carlo died," she informs him; then asks in a postscript, "Would you instruct me now?" Carlo was her dog, her favorite companion, and, the postscript implies, her former instructor.
9. Helen Hunt Jackson, who urged Dickinson to publish, echoes this voice of linguistic skepticism in at least two letters to Dickinson. For example, she writes: "Surely after you are what is called 'dead,' you will be willing that the poor ghosts you have left behind, should be cheered and pleased by your verses, will you not?" (L937a; see also L444a).
10. On Dickinson's stylistic experiments, see Cristanne Miller's Emily Dickinson: A Poet's Grammar 160-86.
Bingham, Millicent Todd. Ancestors' Brocades: The Literary Debut of Emily Dickinson. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1945.
Blasing, Mutlu Konuk. "Emily Dickinson's Untitled Discourse." American Poetry: The Rhetoric of Its Forms. New Haven: Yale UP, 1987.
Dandurand, Karen. "New Dickinson Civil War Publications." American Literature 56 (March 1984): 17-27.
Dickinson, Emily. The Poems of Emily Dickinson. 3 vols. Ed. Thomas H. Johnson. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of the Harvard UP, 1955.
---. The Letters of Emily Dickinson. 3 vols. Ed. Thomas H. Johnson. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of the Harvard UP, 1958.
Dobson, Joanne. Dickinson and the Strategies of Reticence. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1989.
Farr, Judith. The Passion of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1992.
Fisher, John. "Entitling." Critical Inquiry 11 (Dec. 1984): 286-98.
Franklin, R.W. The Editing of Emily Dickinson: A Reconsideration. Madison: The U of Wisconsin P, 1967.
Genette, Gérard. "Structure and Functions of the Title in Literature." Critical Inquiry 14 (Summer 1988): 692-720.
Howard, Richard. "A Consideration of the Writings of Emily Dickinson." Prose 6 (1973): 67-97.
Miller, Cristanne. Emily Dickinson: A Poet's Grammar. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1987.
Pinsky, Robert. The Situation of Poetry. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1976.
Plato. Cratylus. Trans. Benjamin Jowett. Plato: The Collected Dialogues. Ed. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns. Bollingen Series 71. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1961.
Porter, David. Dickinson: The Modern Idiom. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1981.
Smith, Martha Nell. Rowing in Eden: Rereading Emily Dickinson. Austin: U of Texas P, 1992.
Wolff, Cynthia Griff in. Emily Dickinson. New York: Knopf, 1986.
The Emily Dickinson Journal V.1
|Title||John Mulvihill: Why Dickinson Didn't Title||Type of Content||General Poet Criticism|
|Criticism Author||John Mulvihill||Criticism Target||Emily Dickinson|
|Criticism Type||Poet||Originally Posted||28 Jul 2015|
|Publication Status||Excerpted Criticism||Publication||No Data|
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