Study Guide

There's been a Death, in the Opposite House What's Up With the Title?

By Emily Dickinson

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What's Up With the Title?

To be honest, Shmoopers, there's not much up with the title because there, um, isn't one.

Yep, that's right. No title here, except that people need something to refer to when talking about a specific Dickinson poem from among the thousands she wrote. Sometimes you'll see numbers beside specific poems instead of titles, but these can be even more confusing. Are these numbers chronological? Or is there some other organizing principle for the sequence? The answer is long and involved, and you can guess that there are graduate students getting their PhD somewhere debating which poem comes first. The short answer is although Dickinson had assembled little booklets of her poems (called fascicles, of all things), early collections of Dickinson's poems were numbered willy-nilly whatever. Some were grouped by subject. Lately there's been a greater attempt to duplicate Dickinson's own intention.

But at the end of the day it's all so confusing that we like to refer to this one by its first line. Nice and simple, don't you think?

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