When the editors of the St. Louis Republican sent twenty-two-year-old Laura Redden to Washington, D.C., to cover the Civil War, neither the editors nor Redden could have predicted the physical, moral, and political slaughter that lay ahead. The editors of the Republican asked Redden, a recent graduate of the Missouri School for the Deaf, to send back regular reports, to be the journalist of hope and despair that the war would eventually create in the minds of all Americans. Already an experienced journalist, Redden represented the newspaper as a Union loyalist who could write of the daily battleﬁeld experiences as well as human interest material.
At the same time, Redden was already writing patriotic poetry that she sent to popular magazines and other newspapers. In 1862 she published Notable Men of the House, a collection of poetic prose in which the men were presented as heroic beacons of hope. Just two years later, before the War was quite over, she published her ﬁrst book of poetry, Idyls of Battle and Poems of the Rebellion. Both books were issued under the pen name, Howard Glyndon, with Redden’s own name printed under the pseudonym in smaller print.1 The double identity that the two names suggest represents the central question of nineteenth-century women poets. Although Redden passed off the double identity as a “moment of girlish caprice,” this writer suspects it was a well-calculated decision to defy dismissal of her work under the narrow expectations of what a woman writer could produce.2 She used the double name all of her life, the psychological implications of which are beyond the scope of this paper. The question of who could become a poet on a national scale had not yet been established; therefore, pen names and anonymous publications were often used to hide the female voice.
Idyls of Battle was competently written and just what the public wanted. Abraham Lincoln had signed on as a subscriber. Just as Emily Dickinson had sought out the powerful critic, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, to tell her if her poems “lived,” so had Laura Redden sought Lincoln’s response to her work. Redden wrote of battles such as Gettysburg and Balls Bluff, she wrote about heroes and ofﬁcers such as McClellan and Grant, and she wrote poignantly about the women’s perspective on the loss of loved ones in poems such as “My Absent Soldier” and the dramatic monologue, “Bringing Him Home.” The language of the war poems is concrete and memorable; it was certain to rally the cause as well as comfort the grieving.
Laura Redden accomplished an artistic and moral purpose with the war poems. She understood what it meant to live with an irreparably broken heart. She had lost her hearing at the age of twelve from a childhood illness. Her heart and hopes were broken when the two-year recovery her doctor had predicted proved wrong. In the poem, “My Story,” (1864) Redden writes of her pain and sense of loss, comparing herself to an already grieving country.
In my youth
The hand of God fell heavily
Upon me,—and I knew my life
From thence must silent be.
I think my will was broken then,—
The proud, high spirit, tamed by pain;
And so the griefs of later days
Cannot distract my brain.
But my poor life, so silence-bound,
Reached blindly out its helpless hands,
Craving the love and tenderness
Which every soul demands.
. . . . . . . . . .
[after the two years of hoping...]
Oh, heavier fell the shadow then!
And thick the darkness in my brain,
When hope forever ﬂed my heart
And left me only pain.
Around 1870, Redden wrote another poem that captured her feelings of sorrow at becoming deaf. In this poem, at ﬁrst titled “Down Low,” then later entitled “The Realm of Singing: An Autobiographical Allegory,” Redden compares herself to a bird who is relegated to sing at the bottom of the “tree of poetry” because no other poets will listen from their lofty perches.
How shall a bird on a crippled wing
Ever get up into the sky?
Is it not better to cease to sing—
To droop and to die?
There are so many before me there,
With songs so loud and long and sweet,
They startle the passer unaware—
I am at his feet!
And though I sing with a quivering breast
And a dewy eye and a swelling throat;
My heart so close to the thorn is pressed,
That I spoil each note.
As the allegory is played out, the poet learns how to be sympathetic with the other birds on the low bough, and thus she becomes a voice for them. In the end she is content to “sing low,” to sweeten the sorrow of the oppressed. The image of the bird’s breast pressed against the thorn, a common literary convention of romantic poets, still remains a poignant expression of Redden’s own sense of loss. Nothing in her environment suggested that she could become a valuable poet. Journalism, which she approached with optimism and energy, seemed to be the best means for supporting herself, and indeed it was her prose (in the form of essays, editorials, and travelogues) that brought her to the attention of the American literary establishment. Always the double name—Howard Glyndon/Laura Catherine Redden—identiﬁed her as the author.
All writers are not poets. How did a woman become a poet in the nineteenth century? Usually women did not have the formal training that the East Coast establishment held as criteria. Redden had no great family name to lean upon, little education in the classical languages and literature, and no formal, systematic educational program that could be considered the common knowledge of poets. Women’s educations were interrupted with little thought given to the consequences. An illness in the family, a move to a different location, the death of a parent, the need of a mother’s assistance, even a new baby in the household would be unquestionably a good reason for a girl to drop out of the school. The same would be true for working class boys, but at least they had a trade or the military as the next step in their informal education.
How does anyone claim the title, “Poet?” Like many others, young Laura Redden could only wait until her peers acclaimed her the title; however, success came earlier for her than for most women poets of her time. She made enough money from her journalism and two books, Idyls of Battle and Notable Men of the House, to leave war-ravaged Washington for a few years in Europe.
The European tour had often served as a ﬁnishing school for upper-class girls in America, but Redden’s ﬁnancial independence may have allowed her to connect with many more travelers than an intensely chaperoned young woman might have. Judge Hastings and his daughter, Clara, traveled in a loosely organized group with Redden. Thus, she may have met many other American and European pilgrims.
To American writers, Europe was poetry—England, France, Spain, and Italy were in themselves a study in the artistic mind. Redden knelt at the grave of Keats in Rome not only as a worshipper but as an artistic colleague. This pilgrimage was almost essential for one to be considered an American poet. And, there in Italy, she met the man who would be a subject of her poetry for the rest of her life. Michael Brennan, an artist and aesthete, represented all that American soldiers and businessmen were not. Almost instantly, Laura and Michael fell helplessly in love, and from that experience came the ﬁre for her imagination. Despite the fact that the love was ill-fated, Redden left Italy with plans to return soon for the marriage. She even left her traveling trunk with Brennan. This union was the apotheosis of Redden’s life and was a turning point in her understanding of herself as a poet.
Sweet Bells Jangled
Redden’s epic poem, Sweet Bells Jangled, was published in her second volume of poetry, Sounds from Secret Chambers (Boston: J. R. Osgood, 1873). Why should we call Sweet Bells Jangled an epic rather than just a loosely structured narrative? First, all of the consciousness in the poem is situated in the unnamed narrator, an everywoman who struggles against all the obstacles life can bring her: love and death, untreatable illness, alienation and loneliness, fears and horrors beyond description, and a general critique of the culture. The poem tells the story of a journey that allows the traveler to bring home tales of conquest and defeat that lead her to a changed deﬁnition of self. The “civil war” between the lovers mirrors the American tragedy Redden had confronted in the earliest days of her writing career. The ﬂawed heroine must confront herself and her culture, redeﬁne herself as a hero, and carry her gift of poetry back to her homeland. Having overcome great odds, she now has a separate self and, unquestionably, a poetic voice.
A review of Sounds from Secret Chambers, along with two other volumes of poetry, in the Boston Register on October 15, 1874, gave Redden’s book top billing.
Sounds from Secret Chambers by Miss Laura C. Redden, disarms criticism with its very title, when you understand its meaning. The author is best known by her pen name of “Howard Glyndon,” adopted as she tells us, in a moment of girlish caprice . . . in the sweet silences of her soul, has Miss Redden listened to all the voices of love and life, and rendered them into melodies. Her poetry is curiously subjective. Almost every poem [section] reads like the confession of personal experience.3
Although this anonymous reviewer appears to be familiar with the writing of Laura Redden, he or she is confused by the unique form Redden has chosen and sees Sweet Bells Jangled as simply a poem about love and marriage. From a more modern perspective, love and marriage are two of the epic themes of women’s poetry. The reviewer goes into great detail, practically quoting and summarizing the entire poem. Furthermore, the reviewer is mesmerized by Redden’s voice and seems unable to move on to the other reviews promised in the review title, works by J. T. Trowbridge and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, a writer who would later become a friend of Redden’s. Finally the reviewer recognizes the strength of Redden’s voice and chooses to feature it in the review, perhaps curious about how a deaf writer could have such a clear understanding of life.
What constitutes a poetic voice? First, the poet must see beyond the words she writes. She must sense both the uniqueness and the universality of her experience and her language, and she must steer the perilous rocks between self and other. She might be a prophet, a seer, or a visionary with language, as Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson were. She is a magician with symbols, rhythms, rhymes, and most of all, her work must resonate with the human heart. It seems that the poet must be tempered in one of three crucibles: war, love, or religious angst. Laura Redden experienced all three, plus perhaps the most devastating crucible for a poet, the disability of deafness. Before the poet can sing, speak, or write she must be wounded beyond the imagination of her readers. For Redden, this wounding came with the news of Michael Brennan’s death. It was a crushing blow to the young woman who had found her heart’s desire.
The pain must be presented as the mere tip of an iceberg with most of its volume underneath the water level: unseen, silent, and potentially deadly. Although many people have suffered beyond words, the poet can connect the pain with language in fresh, new ways so that an audience has a “ﬁrst time” experience when reading it. A few stanzas of the “Prelibatory” (the opening section of Sweet Bells Jangled) put the ideas forward very clearly.
Gladdest of all is he who gives,
Discovering that his gift hath grace,
For passeth straight into his heart
The joy of the receiver’s face.
. . . . . . . . . .
I should not blush to lift my voice
And bid each passer to my side;
Nor, since I come unheralded,
Shrink back, lest favor be denied.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
And haply, if a tear should fall
Where some of mine have dropped before,
Then I shall know one heart, at least,
Has heard me knocking at the door
But who will rise to let me in?
And shall I be a welcome guest?
A comrade and interpreter,
When all my errand is confest?
These four verses in simple tetrameter are the foretaste of the seventy varied parts that follow, a toast to the reader who has the will to follow the complex development of the female voice. Critic Jane Muskie has deﬁned a poem as a “journey of which the shape has signiﬁcance.”4 The shape of Redden’s epic is the single most important stylistic concern. It is a shape shifter that parallels the irregularity and fragmentation of women’s lives. Unlike the male epic, which is linear, harmonious, and orderly, the female epic is diffused and diverse.5 The female form is not a failure of logic or technique. Rather, it is a revolutionary form that takes on the revolutionary subject—women’s subordination. The female writer of Redden’s time had to justify repeatedly her claim to literary voice, even while breaking the rules. Thus the form becomes the cultural critique that all epic poems must render.6
ANALYSIS OF THE POEM
Part 1 of Sweet Bells Jangled subtitled “A Girl’s Subterfuges,” states in bold terms the over-arching theme of the epic. Here the battle forms between a young woman who does not wish to marry and the older matrons who see marriage as the only safe refuge for themselves and the young woman.
“Wilt thou be an ancient maiden?”
Say the matrons unto me;
“Wilt thou have no chubby children,
Clinging fondly to thy knee?”
“Ruddy matrons! happy mothers!
What are children unto me?”
“Wilt thou live alone forever?”
Say the matrons unto me.
Light I answer: “Who is single
Should be ever blithe and free.
Sober matrons! Thoughtful mothers!
Liberty is sweet to me!”
“Youth is scornful in the sunshine,”
Say the matrons unto me.
“Drop thy kerchief, boastful beauty!
While thine eye is bright of blee,
Age is lurking in the shadow,
Age is creeping up to thee!”
And I answer, lightly laughing,
What the matrons say to me:
I am given to Diana,—
To the huntress, fair and free,—
And the lumpy, lovesick Venus
Hath no follower in me!”
Thus, the argument is set up: How can a woman be insubordinate without the support of the other women in her circle? The call/response form used in the ﬁrst part is a parody of the classic epic poem where the audience begs the returned traveler to tell them the adventures he has encountered. Sometimes the storyteller begins with riddles and prophecies, and an audience sings a response. Here in the female epic, the opening focuses on the wisdom of not going on the journey, and the poet answers each argument, rejecting the female model of having children, rejecting marriage, rejecting even the twentieth century “biological clock” threat, and then announcing that she has chosen a different model—Diana, the huntress, rather than the humorous image, “lumpy, lovesick Venus.”
In the ﬁrst lines of part 1, Redden uses the anapestic foot (two unaccented beats followed by an accented beat); it is a rhythm that suggests energy and even escape. However, in the second half of part 1, when Redden turns to a different narrative, an argument between the narrator and her mother about the young woman’s future, the rhythmic pattern changes again, this time to the more reasoned rhythms of iambic pentameter (one unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable). This is the classic English rhythm of Shakespeare, Milton, Keats, and most sonnets. Although the form allows for irregularities, usually in the opening lines, the meter evens out as the poem develops.
“God! how Art is long!”
Great Goethe says, and at his words I shudder;
For I have done no more than play at work.
Can I do more? Can I stand all alone?
I do not know, and there are none to help me.
If Mother saw me musing, she would say
Something in substance very much like this:
“Go to your music!” or, “Go take a walk!
I hate to see you moping. It is bad
For any girl’s complexion. Do you know
That Edward Mason marries Mary Grey?”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Yes, that is the way!
Leave school, get married, (just as well be buried!)
Have a ﬁne house, and get one’s life crushed out
In caring for it.
The bleak scenario in the second part contradicts the community pressure illustrated in the ﬁrst part. Having the mother as the focus of the second part gives Redden the opportunity to confront both public and private arguments. She rejects the bonds of “true womanhood” and marital servitude in order to follow her dangerous poetic calling.
Turning from the explication of the ﬁrst part of Sweet Bells Jangled, we see Laura Redden joining other women writers of her time who are writing escape literature, some of which is literal escape from bad marriages or homes: Ina Coolbrith, Celia Thaxter, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Fanny Kemble, Louisa May Alcott, and the many slave escape narratives of the time. Other writers, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, staggered under the weight of family cares, while Emily Dickinson, Sarah Orne Jewett, Lucy Larcom, and Alice James made irrevocable choices to remain single. About two years after writing Sweet Bells Jangled, Laura Redden did enter into a brief marriage with attorney Edward Searing. Her escape from him was dramatic: she took their young daughter and went to Illinois, whereupon she boarded a train for California, where she lived out her life with her daughter. Although Edward Searing made many threats about taking away his daughter, these threats came to naught. Redden made little from her writing at this time, but she preferred her sometimes meager existence to marriage.
The reader of Sweet Bells Jangled should not assume that the poem is Redden’s autobiography, although there may be autobiographical elements in it. It is an epic poem of female experience outside the conventional bonds of marriage in the nineteenth century. In the ﬁnal section, LXX, Redden returns to her main theme.
A woman’s voice,
So weak it makes you think of graves, is singing:
Some hearts that are too warm, too wild,
Must needs be broken for their good;
Not till the artist’s work is done
Is the design well understood.
Variety marks the opus of Laura Redden Searing. Over 600 of her poems have been published, and probably some appeared anonymously. The Civil War poems are works of patriotic zeal, much needed for a suffering, divided nation. The other poems, especially “The Realm of Singing: An Autobiographical Allegory,” show her range of form and style. Poems written to her daughter and grandchildren were probably family treasures.
Redden has another category of writing that might be called the commemorative poems or the public occasion tributes. These were written from the time she was attending the Missouri School for the Deaf until almost ﬁfty years later in California. They were always read by another person, although Redden might have occasionally signed them, which she did in her graduation address at Missouri School for the Deaf in 1858. These poems/tributes were presented at graduations, public events, and anniversaries of public ﬁgures, such as John Greenleaf Whittier’s 75th birthday. It seems remarkable that she should be called upon for so many important occasions, but this accomplished woman must have had a large public following. Perhaps her reputation carried a list of supporters who were all of great importance in the nineteenth century: Lydia Sigourney; Abraham and Mary Lincoln; John Greenleaf Whittier; Ulysses S. Grant; the Appledore circle of artists that included Celia Thaxter, Annie Fields, James Fields, Sarah Orne Jewett, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lucy Larcom, and Ina Coolbrith;7 virtually all the major newspaper editors and publishers of the last half of the century. From the time Redden entered the Missouri School for the Deaf in 1855, she started to become part of public life. She wrote poems, many of which she gave away, and she began writing short pieces and articles for the St. Louis Presbyterian and the St. Louis Republican. She graduated after only three years at the school and she went on to become a distinguished alumna.8
How did Redden’s deafness affect the poetry she wrote? It seems there are four major ways. First, the poetry was a relief from the isolation this extroverted deaf writer felt. Earlier quotes in this essay speak eloquently about loneliness, insigniﬁcance, and silence. Emily Dickinson, who was a more introverted writer, had quite different motives for writing, a subject that will be addressed shortly. In “My Story,” Redden described herself as “Craving love and tenderness / Which every soul demands.” Redden’s temperament was certainly a factor in her choice to write and to become a public person.
Secondly, Redden felt that her deafness was a calling from God, a disability that would allow her to be of greater service to God and others. Perhaps her sense of Presbyterian predestination came as a comfort to her. She writes of her need for a reason for her afﬂiction in “My Story,” and she ﬁnds an answer in the following paradox:
But when we hope not we are calm,
And I shall learn to bear my cross,
And God, in some mysterious way,
Will recompense this loss.
And every throb of spirit-pain
Shall help to sanctify my soul,—
Shall set a brightness on my brow,
And harmonize my whole!
And by suffering weakened, still I stand
In patient waiting for the peace
Which cometh on the Future’s wing,—
I wait for God’s release.
These three stanzas are rich in words and ideas that have a resonance with Biblical images: “bear my cross,” God’s mysteries, sanctiﬁcation, “patient waiting,” the peace that passes understanding, “the Future’s Wing” (the Holy Spirit), and, ﬁnally, God’s release in death. Redden appears to be a person of deep faith and, given the context of her friendships with Presbyterian ministers, one can almost hear the language of the pulpit in these lines and images. “My Story” was written only about a decade into her disability, and she, like most young people, was hopeful and resilient, yet wise beyond her years.
A third way in which Redden’s deafness affected her poetry came from the opportunities she was afforded once she began to attend the Missouri School for the Deaf. She was already literate when deafness came, so she could concentrate on more advanced uses of the language in her academic experiences: friendships with teachers, some oratory, magazine editing, and most important, professional social skills.
Redden was an exceptionally well-educated woman for her time. Not only could she read and write, she became a ﬂuent signer and learned to read several European languages—French, Italian, Spanish, and German. In the 1860s, literacy was not widespread enough to give most Americans the opportunity to become poets, writers, and participants in the intellectual life of the country. Few Americans traveled except for the purpose of migration. By the time Redden was twenty-one, she had traveled widely throughout the Eastern United States. Later she would travel to Europe, California, and Alaska. In her work as both a journalist and a poet, she came to know inspiring people such as Abraham and Mary Lincoln, Ulysses and Julia Grant, John Greenleaf Whittier, and the women writers mentioned earlier. Her friend, poet Celia Thaxter, had a life story that was as unique and inspiring as Redden’s. Thaxter could well have been the girl in the second section of Sweet Bells Jangled, the girl with little education who gets married at the age of sixteen.
(might just as well be buried!)
Have a ﬁne house, and get one’s life crushed out
In caring for it. Dust on the piano,—
And no book opened,—never time to think!
Then the babies come! Is that wan woman there
The merry, pink-cheeked girl I used to know?
She dies at forty years, or thereabouts,
And fades from memory as she fades from sight.
What has she done but drag herself through life?
And Mother wants that I should be like this!
But Thaxter fought through this imprisonment just as Redden fought through hers. Thaxter’s letters and poetry resound with the same themes. A generation earlier, the plight that Redden and Thaxter faced was prophesied by the literary genius Margaret Fuller, who wrote in Women in the Nineteenth Century,
The lot of Woman is sad. She is constituted to expect and need a happiness that cannot exist on earth. She must stiﬂe such aspirations within her secret heart, and ﬁt herself as well as she can for a life of resignations and consolations. The life of a Woman must be outwardly a well-intentioned cheerful dissimulation of her real life.9
Indeed, the idea of marriage as servitude runs rampant through nineteenth-century women’s writing and continues even to the next century.10
Fourth, and ﬁnally, Redden’s deafness affected her poetry in such a comprehensive manner that it takes a revolutionary study such as Cynthia L. Peter’s Deaf American Literature: From Carnival to the Canon (Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press, 2000) to begin to ask new questions based in discourse theory. The simple test question is: How many deaf poets did Redden know? The answer is probably a few, but not enough to create a new literary genre known as Deaf American literature. Redden was left with the old traditions of white male poetic discourse as her only model for success. This placed her in a double bind: if she wrote like Whittier, Longfellow, or Bryant, she would be an imitator who was false to her own experience; if she wrote like a woman—as did Fuller and Thaxter—she ran the risk of falling into the dustbin of literary history, which they did.
Today there are many discourses—ways of using language successfully—as we see in women’s literature, African American literature, and Deaf literature. Since Redden was one of the creators of the genre of Deaf literature, she was ﬂying solo. With whom could she talk about the intersection of ASL and American English? Since she was postlingually deaf, with whom could she share what might have been the nightmare of decreased articulation skills that she noticed as she reached her later years? How does one maintain balance as a member of two distinct discourses such as ASL and American English? Or, does one’s energy ﬁnally give out, leaving only the choice of which world to live in?
These questions create for this writer the deepest sense of alone-ness. Having little in the way of true community is frightening, yet Redden, as a deaf person, poet, journalist, woman, daughter, sister, wife, mother, divorcee, single parent, grandparent, world traveler, distinguished intellectual, and, at times, a person of poverty, could only be part of almost any community she joined. The burden of difference in all of these discourse communities might have been empowering, but at what price? Emily Dickinson, who also experienced the burden of difference, wrote that,
Power is only Pain—
Till Weights—will hang—11
Emily Dickinson and Laura Redden faced many of the same difﬁculties in the development of voice. Both came of age as writers during the Civil War. Dickinson wrote a body of verse between 1862 and 1865 that parallels Redden’s material in Idyls of Battle. Each poet confronts the horror of the battleﬁeld and the deaths of so many men. Redden writes, however with a speciﬁc audience in mind, basically the same people who read her journalistic coverage of the war. She writes with the anticipation of publication; therefore, she uses familiar language, imagery, and form. The opening stanza of Redden’s ﬁrst poem, “In Time of War,” is a perfect example.
There are white faces in each sunny street,
And signs of trouble meet us everywhere;
The nation’s pulse hath an unsteady beat,
For scents of battle foul the summer air.
In this stanza, Redden uses such conventional techniques as simple ballad-form rhyming abab. The use of the archaic word hath places her in the older, traditional mode of Biblical or sacred writing. Finally, she employs another convention: the beauty of nature in conﬂict with the mood of the nation. Are the “scents of battle” real or is the phrase a metaphor? It is impossible to know when this poem was written. If it were later, when Washington became the military hospital for thousands, then maybe the statement is literal. It is the reporter’s eye and the poet’s soul that are combined in this poem.
The “Extras” fall like rain upon a drought,
And startled people crowd around the board
Whereon the nation’s sum of loss or gain
In rude and hurried characters is scored.
The point is that America needed the type of poet Redden was at that time. Americans would have been puzzled by Dickinson’s response to the early part of the Civil War:
The battle fought between the soul
And No Man—is the One
Of all the Battles prevalent—
By far the Greater One—
No news of it is had abroad—
Its bodiless Campaign
Establishes, and terminates—
Dickinson’s interior world is the subject of this poem, and she knew the public was not ready for her personal introspection during time of war.13 Therefore, she probably wrote with no intention of publication. A second Dickinson poem written earlier is even more dramatic—but not publishable:
Are we that wait—sufﬁcient worth—
That such Enormous Pearl
As life—dissolved be—for Us
In Battle’s—horrid Bowl?14
Dickinson wrote hundreds of poems about the War and continued to use the images long after 1865. Redden published 62 poems about the War in one book and rarely returned to the theme after the end of the War. Redden, a restless person of action, left for Europe before the war was even over, whereas Dickinson remained in her house in Amherst, the only person who knew of the possibly 1500 poems she had written by 1865.
The differences in temperament between Redden and Dickinson are huge, yet when their poems are analyzed in intense detail, their material is the same. Both went through wrenching crises about the question of marriage, and each chose the singular life, despite Redden’s brief marriage to Edward Searing. Both were highly conscious artists who produced extensively, and in the end, they both left worthy legacies that are relevant today. Celia Thaxter joined Redden and Dickinson in the same pattern, including early writing, a painful marriage, religious doubts, and isolation. It would seem that the pattern proves the epic nature of Sweet Bells Jangled and, thus, the importance of keeping alive the work of Laura Redden.
1. Laura C. Redden, Notable Men in the House (New York: Baker and Godwin, 1862); Howard Glyndon, Idyls of Battle and Poems of the Rebellion (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1864).
2. Laura C. Redden, preface to Sounds from Secret Chambers (Boston: J. R. Osgood, 1873).
3. Laura Redden Searing, Scrapbook, Western Historical Manuscript Collection, University of Missouri-Columbia Library.
4. Jane Muskie, Women and Poetry: Truth, Autobiography and the Shape of the Self (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997), 19.
5. Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, Women, Autobiography, Theory: A Reader (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998), 9.
6. Paula Bernat Bennett, ed., Nineteenth-Century American Women Poets: An Anthology (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1998), 9.
7. Jane E. Vallier, Poet on Demand: The Life, Letters, and Works of Celia Thaxter (Portsmouth, N. H.: Peter E. Randall, 1994).
8. Richard D. Reed, Historic MSD: The Story of the Missouri School for the Deaf (Fulton, Mo.: Richard D. Reed, 2000), 28.
9. Margaret Fuller, Women in the Nineteenth Century (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1874), 159.
10. Shari Benstock, ed., The Private Self: Theory and Practice of Women’s Autobiographical Writings (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988), 283.
11. Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Including Variant Readings Critically Compared with All Known Manuscripts (Cambridge: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 1955), 115.
12. Johnson, Poems of Emily Dickinson, 594.
13. Shira Wolosky, Emily Dickinson: A Voice of War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), xvii.
14. Johnson, Poems of Emily Dickinson, 444.
First I would like to thank Judy Yaeger Jones, whose meticulous scholarship and generous support are the core of this book. It has been a joy to work with Judy. Several others have made invaluable contributions—David Moore at the University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection; Sharon Paiva Stephan, who shared her research at the Huntington Library; and Marilyn Vaughan, who helped prepare the manuscript for publication. Finally, to Fred J. Vallier, Ph.D., whose expertise in speech and hearing pathologies has made him a knowledgeable professional and a wonderful husband.