Moses in the Bulrushes

Since we’ll be talking about the princess dream next class, and she mentions it several times, especially in conjunction with Freud’s theories of her dream, I looked up the Gustave Dore picture they refer to.

Moses in the Bulrushes, by Gustave Dore

Not exactly how I pictured it. Other than being a very sort of pale and washed out engraving (I imagined it more colorful), I think the best way to reference it is in relation to the appearance of the princess. Otherwise, the setting is very strange–instead of being the only one in the dream, she is surrounded by attendants. I also don’t see the stairs mentioned, and most significantly I can’t find Miriam. Where is she? What is up with that. Dore has lots of other biblical illustrations, including others of Moses, but none include Miriam, unless I just am somehow missing her. Is this a deliberate mistake (oxymoron) on H. D.’s part?

(slightly darker: )

Emily and Otis sittin’ in a tree…

During today’s class we were asked to discuss what kinds of things stuck out to us in our recent reading of ED’s letters from 1866-1883. When we got back to large group a lot of us talked about ED’s views on death and immortality, what her letters showed about her domesticity and what she felt and thought about her family and home. But one of the major topics I don’t think our class touched upon was ED’s letters to Judge Otis Lord. Alyssa was in my small group and seemed to be thoroughly annoyed (correct me if I’m wrong!) by these letters. I agree with her sentiments. They were just like the Master letters, in that she sounded way to desperate and whiny. None of us want to picture our bff Emily Dickinson this way! But this connection got me thinking… Why were Emily’s letters to Sue, Otis, and the unknown “Master” so different than all the rest? Why is she taking on this persona we don’t like for only certain letters. This does not seem like something she would do. I was just wondering what other people’s thoughts were about this or just about the Judge Otis letters in general.

Poem 895 and Letter 314

Letter 314 was sent to Higginson with a poem enclosed. The poem was number 895,also known as “Further in Summer than the Birds”. I am wondering about the connection, and if there is any, between the note and the letter. Her letter was about the death of her dog Carlo (note to self name next dog Carlo in honor of Dickinson. It is a great name!). However the poem seems really complex to me and so I don’t get the feeling that it is a poem about  ‘this dog I had with a really cool name-Carlo’ and that it is deeper than that. Of course, it is shortsighted of me to expect dickinson to write a poem about Carlo that was all sweet and fluffy… EX:

I had a puppy- named Carlo

He was really fluffy-

With loppy ears and

a sweet face-

I- Loved-him

I also called him-

Snuggles because-

he was snuggly-

In Rememberance of Carlo-ED

Yea…that doesn’t work for me. So my question to you all is does the poem expand our knowledge of the letter or vice versa? Or are they unrelated? The footnote to the letter also explains how this was the first letter sent to Higginson after an 18 month lapse in their correspondence. This makes me think on a larger scale about the relationship between letter an poem. Some poems were included within the text of the letter. Others it seems were included but as independent poems separate of the context of the letter. Can reading the poems with the specific letter in mind give us insight into their meaning? Or is it best to read them as separate, independent entities?