This week's New Yorker has an article on the Amherst Belle -- a snoozer as one might expect, a reverent nosegay, soporifically predictable, a term paper for the readership database. However, there is one aspect of the article that I believe is a breakthrough amid everything that's been put out in the world concerning America's all time hottest vampire volcano sex bomb versifier:
I believe this illustration from the article is the first depiction of Emily Dickinson's Newfoundland dog, Carlo. He was given to Emily by her father in 1850 when the poet was 19 and Carlo was with her until 1866. Newfoundlands were popular dogs in the 19th century. The conventional wisdom regarding Carlo's name is that Emily borrowed it from a dog in Jane Eyre, a favorite book. (But he was probably named after Carlo Rizzi, the Amherst hurdy-gurdy man at whom Emily often threw snowballs.)
The illustration takes liberty with the chronology of Emily's life, since her "white election" -- when she began dressing most often in white -- did not occur until shortly after Carlo's death and may have been partly precipitated by it. A lot of things changed for Emily after Carlo's death, such as the start of her self-imposed house arrest. There's no doubt that Carlo was very important to Emily, and he's beginning to get the recognition he deserves. Google him!
When Carlo died Emily wrote in her studied enigmatic fashion to her friend Thomas Wentworth Higgenson, the literary fellow whose head she loved to fuck with:
Would you instruct me now?
Accent on the you, non? Because Carlo had been instructing her before: "I talk of all these things with Carlo, and his eyes grow meaning and his shaggy feet keep a slower pace."
A wonderful story about Emily Dickinson as a robot is in Wild Nights, the recent book from the great Joyce Carol Oates.