Art Works Blog

Art Works Podcast: Brenda Wineapple

This week's podcast focuses on the improbable friendship between Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Their relationship is the subject of Brenda Wineapple’s book, White Heat, which was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Higginson was a prominent cultural critic and activist, while Dickinson was an unknown---if prolific---poet and recluse. Despite their differences, the two maintained an intense friendship. They began corresponding in 1862, and would continue for the next quarter century, with Dickinson sending Higginson almost 100 of her poems. After her death, Higginson became a co-editor---with Mabel Todd---of Dickinson’s work and shepherded it through publication. His editing became a subject of great controversy and was seen as evidence of his literary obtuseness. But Brenda Wineapple disagrees with this assessment, and sees Higginson's disputed editorial decisions as merely reflecting the challenging and sensitive task of editing Dickinson's work.

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