After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet

Fascinating look at all the wrangling that happened over Emily’s legacy after she died. Mabel Loomis Todd looms large in the history, having had an extended affair with Emily’s brother Austin that only dissolved upon his death. Mabel’s husband David was a willing partner in Mabel’s infidelity, perhaps because of his own, perhaps because he respected Austin? Instead of wrapping up things nicely, Austin neglects to legally hand over the deed to a property he gifted to David and Mabel, and this results in Austin’s sister Vinnie taking Mabel to court (most likely influenced by Austin’s wife Sue who loathed Mabel for the affair). Vinnie was the one who arrived on Mabel’s doorstep after Emily died, begging her to publish ED’s poems, resulting in heroic work by Mabel, David, and their daughter Millicent to decipher ED’s handwriting and get things ready for publication. Once the lawsuit declared Mabel’s claim on the land false, she tucked away hundreds of ED’s poems into a chest to distance herself from the project (for which she’d received nothing much in terms of payment for all her work). There’s additional wrangling at the end wherein Harvard tries to trump Amherst for Emily’s papers. Such drama for someone who shunned the world!