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A Letter like Immortality

The Letter from the skies, which accompanied your’s, was indeed a Boon – A Letter always seemed to me like Immortality, for is it not the Mind alone, without corporeal friend? I hope you may tell us that you are better. Thank you for much kindness. The friend Anguish reveals is the slowest to forget.

E. Dickinson.

Dickinson wrote her friend James D. Clark to wish him well and thank him for his own letter of condolence upon the death of Mrs. Dickinson. The letter as a form of immortality is an idea the poet held close; she used almost exactly the same sentence in a letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson thirteen years earlier.

Emily Dickinson to James. D. Clark (L788), Late 1882, in The Letters of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1965), 3:751–752.

Emily Dickinson to T. W. Higginson (L330), June 1869, in Ibid, 3:460.

Courtesy of Amherst College Archives & Special Collections

Creased manuscript with poetry printed in pencil. Sheet has been folded in thirds, with writing seen on front and back.