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2020 Annual Meeting - Remote

EDIS Annual Meeting 2020: “Dickinson at a Distance”

Date: July 31-August 1, 2020

Away from Home are some and I—
An Emigrant to be
In a Metropolis of Homes
Is easy, possibly—

The Habit of a Foreign Sky
We—difficult—acquire
As Children, who remain in Face
The more their Feet retire. (F 807)

How does Dickinson respond generatively and creatively to friends, relatives, and other writers even over distances of time and space? How does she engage with events that happen elsewhere or in other historical periods? What does she think about strangers, immigrants, people living in other places? In what ways did Dickinson and others in her era close geographic and emotional distance, and how might we learn to overcome or interrogate the same issues? At this time of global crisis, we will hold a virtual one-day Annual Meeting that explores how figurations of isolation, distance, and remoteness in Dickinson’s work can teach us ways to connect more deeply with each other on personal, emotional, and intellectual levels. As Marianne Moore, who admired Dickinson greatly, wrote, “the cure for loneliness is solitude.” We plan to explore these themes of seclusion, distance, privacy, and communication at a distance in her work, and we will consider how these themes might provide a new understanding of her poems and letters and allow us to celebrate her achievement together using interactive technology.

We plan a variety of synchronic and asynchronic scholarly panels, cultural events, and poetry sessions using Zoom and YouTube as platforms. Many of these activities, such as the Research Circle and Poetry Discussions, will be familiar to members from our Annual Meetings in years past. Major highlights include:

  • International Dickinson (a panel devoted to English translations of scholarship by critics outside of the United States)
  • Dickinson and Disaster (a panel formerly proposed at the ALA Conference)
  • #trendingDickinsonataDistance (a series of presentations on dissertations and recent publications)
  • A Keynote Address by Eliza Richards on “Remote Suffering,” based on her recent book, Battle Lines: Poetry and Mass Media in the U.S. Civil War (U of Pennsylvania P, 2019)
  • A Keynote Address by Cristanne Miller, “A New Dickinson's Letters and Prose: A Preview of Exciting Discoveries" (Cristanne Miller and Domhnall Mitchell are preparing a new edition of Dickinson's complete [extant] letters, drafts, and fragments, to be submitted to Harvard UP December 2021. This presentation will summarize some of the changes they will be making and their exciting finds, in relation to formatting, dating, state of manuscripts, and letters not included by Johnson.)
  • “Away from Home”: New Views on the Homestead and the Evergreens (video interpretations by the Museum docents of household objects, paintings, the gardens, and other features that were imported or represent a world outside Amherst)
  • Poetry Circle discussions with scholars and critics, based on suggestions made by members in advance of the conference
  • Research Circle
  • Live-stream video events, including a musical interlude inspired by Dickinson’s poetry
  • Virtual Social Hour and Celebration

Short papers on the theme of distance, isolation, privacy, retirement, seclusion and methods of connection, both emotionally or spatially, are invited. Participants will offer 5-minute presentations on the theme of the conference. Please send a 100-word abstract to Paraic Finnerty (paraic.finnerty@port.ac.uk) and Adeline Chevrier-Bosseau (achevrier.bosseau@gmail.com) by June 30.