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Rent Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom
At Jezebel, Anya Jaremko-Greenwold reports on a recent development at the Emily Dickinson Museum: visitors can now rent Emily Dickinson’s bedroom. The reservation costs $100 an hour, and yes, you must leave the door open, lest pervs “drop trou,” as Jaremko-Greenwold writes. But for more upstanding citizens, the rental affords a unique opportunity to write in the spot where Dickinson penned her much-revered verse. No word yet on how the notoriously reclusive author would feel about this; Jaremko-Greenwold explains, “By the time she reached forty, Dickinson hid from houseguests she had previously received, and attended to the outside world only in her garden and her verse.” From there:
It’s from her bedroom that Dickinson composed everything. “Dickinson’s genius always kept a fixed address,” Dan Chiasson wrote in a December 2016 issue of the New Yorker. “She was a scholar of passing time, and the big house on Main Street was the best place to study it.” The room has pink-flowered wallpaper (based on 19th-century wallpaper fragments found during the restoration), lace curtains, a small single bed, a chamber pot, a writing desk with ink and convincingly scribbled-upon paper, six tattered books, a stove, a face-washing basin, a picnic basket, a rocking chair, and a clock forevermore reading 6:05—a time that could indicate dawn, when the birds rise, or the golden-soaked dusk of summer. There is a headless mannequin at the center of the room, cloaked in a white dress, as popular legend stipulates Dickinson only wore white. (This theory hasn’t been proven; though her one surviving dress is white, and friends and townsfolk have described her garbed in the color, she makes no reference to such a preference in her work). The dress is a facsimile, and the original is kept at the local historical society.
If you “rent” her sun-flooded corner room now, you can bring along a laptop or pencil and paper, and stay for up to two hours—though you can’t close the door behind you, as the cherished hope of many a pervert is probably to drop trou inside. The bed and stove alone are items originally kept by Dickinson in the mid-1800’s, though there are exact reproductions of the other furniture, like a writing table and bureau, and everything is arranged so as to imitate her tenure. The genuine writing stand and bureau both reside at Harvard (those bastards get everything); the desk is tiny, barely 18 inches across, and probably more appropriate for a nightstand than for scribbling rhyme. The bureau is one of the places where hundreds of Dickinson’s poems were found stashed after her death. The room’s authenticity is only marred by two brazenly modern lamps and a folding table where guests are meant to sit and feel inspired. You can’t touch anything— and there is a small, polite rope barring you from approaching the bed.
Read on at Jezebel.