Press & Reviews

Success is Counted Sweetest

'Success is Counted Sweetest' as first published. 72S-700, Houghton Library, Harvard University
‘Success is Counted Sweetest’ as first published. 72S-700, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Emily Midorikawa and I have written an essay for Shooter Literary Magazine about this poem by Emily Dickinson. It is often seen in light of her so-called ‘failures’ in affairs of the heart but it can equally be read in relation to the lack of praise Dickinson was receiving in the literary realm. Most of the friends, family and esteemed men of letters with whom she shared some of her poems failed to see that their brilliance lay in their compression and unconventionality.

Shooter Literary Magazine available at Foyles
Shooter Literary Magazine available at Foyles

But one fellow female author, the celebrated Helen Hunt Jackson, did truly recognise Dickinson’s strange genius. Our essay explores this unlikely friendship and its role in offering Dickinson a brief taste of the sort of success that was usually all the sweeter for lying just beyond her reach.

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