Emily Dickinson: Fascicle 6

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Dash Analysis Graph

Percentage of Dash Reduction in Published Versions Compared to Originals 25% 50% 75% 100% Percentage of Reduction Poem 1 Poem 2 Poem 3 Poem 4 Poem 5 Poem 6 Poem 7 Poem 8 Poem 9 Poem 10 Poem 11 Poem 12 Poem 13 Poem 14 Poem 15 Poem 16 Poem 17 The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Centenary Edition ➙Letter to Susan Dickinson Letter from Emily Dickinson ➙Bolts of Melody ➛Final Harvest ➙Dickinson ➙Complete Poems ➙Poems, Third Series ➙Poems, Second Series ➙Poems

Dash Analysis Findings

Continuing our analysis from Fascicle 16, our group looked at the percentage of dash reduction that the published versions made in comparison to the original manuscript versions of the poems. For more information on our objectives, please visit our About page.

This SVG graph is read the same way as the graph from Fascicle 16: The published editions that replaced the dashes the most will appear closer to the top, near the 100% line. The editions that represented the dashes closest to Dickinson's original manuscript will appear closer to the bottom. Dots located directly on the bottom line represent published editions that left the dashes as they appear in the manuscripts. If a poem is not represented in a specific edition, the dot will simply not be displayed. Looking at the graph, the "Complete Poems", "Dickinson", and "Final Harvest" editions are collectively closest to the bottom, meaning that they have the lowest percentage of dashes removed, and therefore are the closest editions to the original manuscript in terms of retaining dashes. The rest of the editions generally remove at least 25% of the dashes. It can also be seen that Dickinson herself even removed dashes, as she removed over 25% of the original dashes from one of the letters that she wrote that contained poem 13. The editions that changed the most are "Poems", and "The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Centenary Edition", with almost every publication yielding over 75% and often 100% dash reduction in the publlished versions.

The importance of retaining the dashes lies within the reading of the poem. Often, the dashes were replaced with other punctuation or omitted completely to make the poems more "readable" by eliminating the pauses that the dashes create. However, this changes not only Dickinson's original styling, but meaning as well. By replacing or removing the dashes, ephasis is changed or relocated, thus obscuring Dickinson's original meaning. To read more about how the publication changes alter the reading of the poems, please visit this fascicle's Conclusion page.