Publications

Friends of the library have supported and even designed and edited a number of publications over the years. 

Archival and primary sources

Acclaimed Author Reimagines Dickinson Love Affair in New Historical Novel


Amherst

March 3, 2015
By Rachel Rogol

Even if you’ve never heard his name, chances are you’re familiar with William Nicholson’s work. An award-winning screenwriter whose film credits include Shadowlands, Gladiator, Elizabeth: the Golden Age and Les Misérables, among others, Nicholson is also an acclaimed author who writes both for adults and younger readers.

His most recent project is Amherst, a historical novel that intersperses a fictional modern-day love story with the historically accurate love affair between Austin Dickinson (brother of Emily Dickinson and Amherst College Treasurer from 1873 until his death in 1895) and his mistress Mabel Loomis Todd (wife of David Todd, Class of 1875, who served the college as Instructor in Astronomy and Director of the Observatory). Both the Dickinson and Todd families were intimately involved in the life of Amherst College from its very beginning.

Nicholson's new novel recreates Austin and Mabel's scandalous affair from numerous letters between the two and cites snippets of Emily Dickinson's poems throughout. "It's in some ways my love letter to the poet Emily Dickinson, who I first encountered over forty years ago," Nicholson wrote on his blog. "Her poems shock and thrill me as much today as they did then."

Dickinson in The Norton Anthology of Poetry

Emily Dickinson poems in The Norton Anthology of Poetry (5th ed.) for which Amherst College holds manuscripts.

Digitizing Dickinson (and Shakespeare)

In keeping with Amherst’s motto, Terras Irradient, the new Amherst College Press is part of a broader effort at the college to make in­formation more widely available online.

The Folger Shakespeare Library (which is administered under the auspices of Amherst) has just released—online and for free—“meticulously edited” versions of the 12 most popular Shakespeare plays. Folger Director Michael Witmore believes the texts will become “the electronic edition of record for Shakespeare’s plays.” More digitized plays and poems are forthcoming.

The Clue Is in Emily's Eyes

By William Sweet

Imagine having the whole world judge you on a single snapshot—one taken when you were 16.
It sounds like the beginning of some cringe-inducing Facebook horror story, but in this case it’s the story of the enigmatic Emily Dickinson.

A New Face for the Belle of Amherst?

Submitted on Thursday, 9/13/2012, at 3:42 PM

by William Sweet

Imagine having the whole world judge you on a single snapshot—one taken when you were 16.

Visit the Emily Dickinson Museum

Dwell in Possibility: Big Ideas on Little Houses

Submitted on Wednesday, 5/9/2012, at 9:33 AM

At first glance, it looks like a tiny housing development has cropped up in the environs of the Emily Dickinson Museum. The 40 little white houses are like the words of the poet herself: carefully prepared, diligently arranged and deceptively spare. There aren’t any tiny people living here, though—just big ideas.

A Cannon for the Confederacy: The Legacy of Frazar Stearns

Submitted on Thursday, 3/15/2012, at 3:28 PM

By William Sweet

A century and a half ago, a member of the Amherst College Class of 1863 followed his chemistry professor into this country’s bloodiest conflict and returned in a coffin. After the body of Frazar Stearns—the son of the college’s fourth president, William Augustus Stearns—came back to Amherst, so did a cannon that he had helped reclaim from Confederate forces. It was a pale substitute for a 21-year-old with a promising future, but the “Amherst Cannon” would become a boon for historians.

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