THE LYMAN LETTERS: New Light on Emily Dickinson and her Family by Richard B. Sewall

THE LYMAN LETTERS: New Light on Emily Dickinson and her Family

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This short monograph is based on the correspondence, recently made available of Joseph Lyman who was a friend of Austin Dickinson's, a beau of Lavinia's, and an admirer of Emily's. After reading it, the more casually curious may feel that they have been misled by the sub-title, or Mr. Sewall's contention that the letters are the ""nearest thing... to a personal introduction to Emily Dickinson in her formative years."" But, in the case of the sequestered, sibylline Emily, they do give certain impressions, destroy others, and help to reconvert the legend into a more lifelike actuality. Lyman preserved certain ""snatches"" of his correspondence with Emily, and many of his letters refer to this ""charming second home"" of his which he shared for a season, to Lavinia whom he loved and left, to Emily and her superior intellect and spirituality, what she said, prophetically that she would ""walk in white,"" etc. Mr. Sewall has appraised these ""snatches"" or scraps with care and admits at its end that ""this study makes only a beginning."" A beginning which may be valuable in future retrospective.

Publisher: Univ. of Massachusetts Press