Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, the annotated copy of Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard. Emily Dickinson.
Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, the annotated copy of Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard
Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, the annotated copy of Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard
Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, the annotated copy of Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard
Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, the annotated copy of Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard
Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, the annotated copy of Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard
Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, the annotated copy of Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard
Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, the annotated copy of Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard
Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, the annotated copy of Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard
Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, the annotated copy of Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard

Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, the annotated copy of Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard

New York: Harper & Brothers, 1945. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This first edition is rendered noteworthy by its history, having been originally owned, signed, and intriguingly annotated by Pulitzer Prize winner Odell Shepard. The volume is very good in a very good minus jacket. The unclipped jacket retains its original $3.00 price as well as the rich blue and burgundy front panel and spine colors. Modest wear to the jacket is most pronounced at extremities, with small losses at the spine ends and flap folds. The dust jacket is protected under a removable, clear archival cover. The green cloth binding is square, tight, and clean with bright spine gilt and light shelf wear. Spotting is limited to a hint on the upper edge and the endpapers, the latter showing transfer browning corresponding to the dust jacket flaps. The contents are bright and clean and testify to wartime provenance with a copyright page statement of “conformity with Government regulations for saving paper.” The sole previous owner name is that of “Odell Shepard” inked on the front pastedown and dated “1945”. Throughout the volume Shepard annotated Dickinson’s poems in pencil. Some comments are mere associations - “suggests George Meredith in thought”, “Desdemona”, “Suggests Frost and Robinson”, etc. But there is also rhapsodic praise of Dickinson’s poetry - “This, as Emily herself said, ‘takes the top of one’s head off.’ Astonishing force, compressed” next to poem 540. And “Oh, what a poem! Feminine Blake. For once, technically perfect, but, as often, it goes beyond perfection.” next to poem 429. Shepard marked his approval of many poems with check marks, lining, and circling. Though one of America’s most recognized and most prolific poets, Emily Dickinson (1850-1886) had fewer than a dozen of the more than 1,800 poems she wrote published within her lifetime. Dickinson bade her sister to burn her correspondence following her death but left no instructions for the numerous notebooks and scraps of paper upon which she wrote and worked her poetry. The ensuing drama of publication lasted more than a century. Consequently this volume, published 60 years after the poet’s death could still boast “new” poems. This volume’s original owner, Odell Shepard (1884-1967) was an American poet, politician, and academic. In 1938 he won the Pulitzer Prize in Biography for Pedler’s Progress, his work on the life of Bronson Alcott, an American transcendentalist and father of one of Dickinson’s most noted peers. He owned this book while he was Professor of English at Trinity College, where he was mentor to poet Abbie Huston Evans. Shepard edited the works of Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in addition to writing his own poetry. The editors of this volume merit mention for their interesting role in Dickinson’s life and publishing. Mabel Loomis Todd (1856-1932) had an affair with Emily Dickinson’s elder brother William Austin Dickinson when both of them were married. She never met the poet but did play piano for her, with Emily Dickinson remaining out of view on the stairs to listen and then sending a poem in to Mabel to thank her. Todd is known to have edited and adapted Dickinson’s poems during the publications she oversaw, including removal of references and dedications to Dickinson’s sister-in-law Susan, wife to Todd’s lover. Todd put out three series of Dickinson’s poems between 1890 and 1896 (the first two in collaboration with Thomas Wentworth Higginson) and Todd’s lectures helped bring Dickinson’s poetry and personality to light for American audiences. She also printed later editions of letters and poetry with her daughter, Millicent Todd Bingham, up until Mabel’s death. Millicent was the first woman to receive a doctorate in geology and geography from Harvard. Julie Dobrow’s new biography of the two editors, After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet shows that while neither woman ever met Dickinson, they substantially shaped and illuminated the poet’s legacy. Item #005787

Price: $100.00

See all items in First Editions
See all items by