- Editorial Note
This issue foregrounds the topic of performance. Contributors write about performance as a subject in Dickinson’s poetry in relation to nineteenth-century popular performance culture; about how to perform Dickinson’s poems aloud; about Dickinson’s use of Hamlet as a structuring text for considerations of mortality; and about her negotiation of power relationships in poems having to do with (among other things) gender.
Performance is also an aspect of Dickinson’s reception worldwide. While translation is not a performance as such, it certainly involves cultural as well as linguistic interpretation—as another essay of this issue indicates, and as previous essays published in the Journal on Dickinson’s translation and reception make clear. Events celebrating Dickinson outside the United States include, among many readings and symposiums, gatherings in Brazil, Italy, Finland, France, and Japan—and two upcoming conferences: in November, at Fudan University, “Emily Dickinson Dwells in China: Possibilities of Translation and Transcultural Perspectives,” and in March 2015, in Paris, on “Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.” More literal performances also abound. Marathon readings of many or all of Dickinson’s poems (or of all poems as represented in a major edition) have occurred annually, occasionally, or at least once in cities including Amherst, MA; Buffalo, NY; Houston, TX; Portland, OR; and St. Paul, MN. Even Mackinac Island in the upper peninsula of Michigan has hosted one such marathon reading, in conjunction with the Emily Dickinson Museum and involving at least three women dressed in white.
As Dickinson knew, one performs also by attending public events: “The Show is not the Show / But they that go” (Fr 1270). We hope you are enjoying the “Menagerie” of daily life and its spectacular performances. [End Page vi]