Johnson is on firm ground when he asserts that the early editors of Dickinson’s poetry often distorted her intentions. Yet Johnson’s own, more faithful, text is still guilty of its own forms of distortion. To standardize Dickinson’s often indecipherable handwritten punctuation by the use of the dash is to render permanent a casual mode of poetic phrasing that Dickinson surely never expected to see in print. It implies that Dickinson chose the dash as her typical mark of punctuation when, in fact, she apparently never made any definitive choice at all.
Which of the following best summarizes the author’s main point?
(A) Although Johnson is right in criticizing Dickinson’s early editors for their distortion of her work, his own text is guilty of equally serious distortions.
(B) Johnson’s use of the dash in his text of Dickinson’s poetry misleads readers about the poet’s intentions.
(C) Because Dickinson never expected her poetry to be published, virtually any attempt at editing it must run counter to her intentions.
(D) Although Johnson’s attempt to produce a more faithful text of Dickinson’s poetry is well-meaning, his study of the material lacks sufficient thoroughness.
(E) Dickinson’s editors, including Johnson, have failed to deal adequately with the problem of deciphering Dickinson’s handwritten manuscripts.
Official Answer B