and some do not. Mabel Todd, whom her biographer Polly Longsworth describes in an entry in the recently published Emily Dickinson Encyclopedia as a pretty, vivacious woman with limpid brown eyes and bewitching mouth, had been Austin Dickinsons not very secret mistress for several years. Readers skeptical of her achievement were now persuaded.
In Smiths view, Dickinson was deliberately inviting her future readers to pick and choose among the variant wordings of her apparently unfinished manuscripts. A critical review states "A bird came down the walk shows the disturbance caused by human encroachment on the world of nature" (Lorcher). . Ralph Franklin, director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale, and the author of a searching monograph, The Editing of Emily Dickinson (1967 seemed the obvious choice for the job. Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, in her influential work on what she calls the female world of love and ritual, demonstrated how common such gushing rhetoric was among women friends in nineteenth-century America. "To fill a Gap she recommends in one poem, "Insert the Thing that caused." Overall, though, she is strikingly original and wise over nearly 1,800 poemsno small accomplishment. But Franklin has made startling discoveries through the whole corpus of poems, now numbering 1,789 to Johnsons 1,775, which will help silence the cynical view that this new edition is Harvard Universitys way of retaining the lucrative copyright on Dickinsons work into the next millennium. Critics have debated whether Dickinsons ordering of the poems in the fascicles suggested a structure of meaning as well as convenience, and whether her handwriting was deliberately expressive. "A bird came down the walk" is a simple poem that can have more than one meaning.
Romantic Elements of the Poem
Wutherington Heights Book Review