A couple of days ago, I wrote about the American Heart Association's poll for the "Man with the Smallest Heart" and the "Woman with the Smallest Heart" (HERE).
In that post, I wrote about Emmett Lee Dickinson's poem "For smallest Woman's Heart we know," which inspired Emily Dickinson to write, "For largest Woman's Heart I knew."
However, in gathering information about those two poems, I came across this on Wikisource:
Huh? For largest Woman's HEARTH? Isn't that supposed to be HEART?
Of course the first place I checked to investigate this was the Emily Dickinson digital archive, and I found this:
I would say that settles the debate since "Heart" is in Emily Dickinson's own handwriting.
I also came across this analysis of Dickinson's poem on The Prowling Bee -- HERE.. On that post, blogger Susan Kornfeld was asked about the very same peksy "H," and she also checked the Dickinson archive to confirm "heart" vs. "hearth."
So what's up with that "h"? Or should I say, "What the H?"
This just goes to show you the importance of editing -- for just a single letter can make all the difference in the world. To that point, check out these Dickinson's first lines which are altered by the addition or omission of just a single letter:
There’s a certain slant of flight
Because I could now stop for death
Wild Knights! Wild Knights!
I heard a fly buzz – when it died
Hope is the thing with fathers