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."

Amherst College Archives, Dickinson Museum to Mark 150th Anniversary of Local Resident’s Civil War Death with Exhibit, Discussion, Reenactment

Submitted on Friday, 3/23/2012, at 2:19 PM

March 23, 2012

AMHERST, Mass.—This March and April, Amherst College’s Archives and Special Collections and the Emily Dickinson Museum will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the March 1862 death of Frazar Stearns, son of college president William Augustus Stearns, with a special exhibition, panel discussion and “living history” encampment. The events are free and open to the public.

Polly Longsworth to Receive Medal for Service at Amherst College’s Commencement May 25

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

May 7, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Polly Longsworth, member of the board of governors of Amherst College’s Emily Dickinson Museum and prolific Emily Dickinson scholar, will receive the school’s Medal for Eminent Service during its commencement exercises on Sunday, May 25. The award is presented to a member of the Amherst community who has demonstrated extraordinary devotion to the college.

Emily Dickinson Birthday Lecture and Dinner Scheduled for Dec. 6

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen
November 21, 2007 Contact: Jane H. Wald Executive Director Emily Dickinson Museum 413/542-2154 Caroline Jenkins Hanna Director of Media Relations Amherst College 413/542-8417

Emily Dickinson Biographer Polly Longsworth To Speak at Amherst College Dec. 10

November 15, 2002 Director of Media Relations

Emily Dickinson Museum Names Cullen Murphy and Betsy McInnis to Board of Governors

November 18, 2005 Director of Media Relations 413/542-8417 AMHERST, Mass.—Cullen Murphy and Betsy McInnis have been elected to the board of governors of the Emily Dickinson Museum, it was announced today by Polly Longsworth, the museum's chair.