Jenny Lind

Written by Harry Clark
Music by Bach, Schumann, Chopin, Mendelssohn, American spirituals and hymns
1W: Jenny Lind
1M: pianist
2 M: pianist and cellist OR pianist and violinist OR pianist and singer

So Jenny, come along! You’re just the card for me,
And quit these kings and queens, for the country of the free;
They’ll welcome you with speeches, and serenades, and rockets,
And you will touch their hearts, and I will tap their pockets;
And if between us both the public isn’t skinned,
Why, my name isn’t Barnum, nor your name Jenny Lind!
New Orleans Picayune

New Orleans Picayune

Up front: Emily Dickinson and Jenny Lind never met. They could have, and certainly Emily had the opportunity to attend one of Jenny’s performances during her stint in America.

Fame and the price one necessarily pays for it was one of the many obsessions Emily Dickinson’ s incredibly elastic mind mulled over throughout her life. What better person to represent these positive and negatives of worldwide adulation than the Swedish Nightingale—Jenny Lind. Jenny Lind, the Michael Jackson of the 19th century—the most known, highest paid, most talked-about performer until Enrico Caruso.

Dickinson Homestead, Amherst

Jenny Lind’s conquering of America via P.T. Barnum, the mixture of art and commerce, has still to be resolved in our culture some 150 years later. Jenny loved America; her favorite city, Northampton, Massachusetts—a stone’s throw from Emily’s Amherst.

Emily Dickinson

The Dickinson family did succumb to Lindimania and Emily did write about her. Emily’s lifelines were her letters to friends, family and those she admired or mused about. In them she the tried out ideas and took on different personae—a great actress. Patience for the Harvest is in the character of Jenny Lind—recipient of letters for two decades from this strangest of pen-pals.

Today Dickinson is iconic, and Jenny Lind? Isn’t that a name of a spindly old bed? Fame. Fickle fame.