Situating itself within current debates over the location and valuing of meaning in Dickinson's poetry, in the manuscripts or in edited texts, this essay argues that both positions depend upon unverifiable authorial intentions. Instead, it explores Dickinson's poetry through the idea of "unintended" meaning (external to the poet) which is understood to be an essential part of the creative process for all writers, often present in early manuscript material. The essay then reads a number of poems in the context of their material existence to explore visual and spatialelements of unintentional meaning which they contain.
Copyright © The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in The Emily Dickinson Journal, Volume 14, Issue 1, 2005, pages 24-61.