International Conference For Emily Dickinson Scholars To Gather At The Poet's Alma Mater and Home

For immediate release
July 9, 1999


Mount Holyoke College Home Base for "Emily Dickinson at Home" Conference That Spans Poet's Homestead in Amherst, Mass., Her Alma Mater, and Harvard University August 12-15

SOUTH HADLEY, Massachusetts--For Emily Dickinson, home was the center of the universe, a place "brighter than all the world beside." From August 12 to 15, hundreds of scholars will enter this uniquely New England world. The Third International Conference for Emily Dickinson scholars will draw several hundred of the poet's admirers to Dickinson's home in Amherst, Mass.; her alma mater, Mount Holyoke College in nearby South Hadley, Mass.; and Harvard for three days.

The conference, "Emily Dickinson at Home," will include a poetry reading at Harvard Yard and feature a special exhibit of Harvard's vast collection of Dickinson manuscripts at the Houghton Library.

An international event, the conference, according to its co-director Martha Ackmann, "will assemble more international scholars of Dickinson than at anytime before." Participants will arrive from Turkey, Israel, China, Denmark, Japan and Ireland, among other places.

Dickinson lived her entire life in her family's Amherst home, which is now owned and maintained by Amherst College. The town of Amherst offers a wide array of Dickinson-related attractions, as the Dickinson family was an important part of its history.

From 1847 to 1848, Dickinson attended nearby Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, which later became Mount Holyoke College. For attendees of the three-day conference, Mount Holyoke will serve as a base where scholars will hear keynote speeches and present over 50 scholarly papers.

Available to conferees in Amherst, just 11 miles north of the Mount Holyoke campus, will be a tour of the Dickinson Homestead; the ongoing restoration of the Evergreens next door, where Emily's brother, Austin, and his wife lived from the time of their 1856 marriage; a visit to West Cemetery, where the poet and family are buried; exhibits at the Amherst History Museum; and tours of the Jones Library and Amherst College's Frost Library, both of which house extensive collections of Dickinson memorabilia and manuscripts. A highlight will include a reception held between the two Dickinson houses.

The conference, which is also open to the public through day passes, is sponsored by the Emily Dickinson International Society and will feature topics ranging from biography to editing, from feminist criticism to pedagogy. Three keynote speakers include a MacArthur Award recipient.

Day passes for the general public will be available through the registration desk at Buckland Hall on the Mount Holyoke campus in South Hadley, Mass. The cost is $10/day for Thursday and Sunday and $30/day for Friday and Saturday.