Unpublished in her lifetime and unknown at her death in 1886, Emily Dickinson stands today in the front rank of American poets. While she lived as a recluse in her father's house in Amherst, Massachusetts, she dedicated herself to writing her "letter to the world" - the 1,775 poems she left at her death. At her sister's instigation, a small volume of these was published in 1891, to be followed by two more, and then two volumes of her letters. More poems appeared in 1914 and again during the twenties, when her place in literature was at last recognized. Finally, in 1950, Harvard University bought all available manuscripts and publishing rights and has since issued, in six volumes, the complete poems and letters, as well as the only contemporary description we have of the poet - Thomas Wentworth Higginson's account of his correspondence with and visit to Emily Dickinson - is designed for readers who want the best of the poems and the most interesting of the letters in convenient form.