28 October 2007

Day four of the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium

This morning commenced with an informal morning forum on Sylvia Plath websites, led by me. As the crowd was slow to assemble, I held off on my memorial for the late Sylvia Plath Forum moderated Elaine Connell. I discussed three Sylvia Plath web sites, highlighting each websites focus. Anja Beckmann’s www.sylviaplath.de, Elaine Connell’s www.sylviaplathforum, and my own www.sylviaplath.info received some attention. I included slides details some of the towns, cities, states, and countries that I’ve traveled to in order capture physical locations in film of places where Plath lived or places about which she wrote.

For the concluding twenty minutes, several audience members and I got into a small dialogue about Plath websites in general, and I showed a slide show of photographs and book covers that seemed, I think, to entertain. I was so pleased to have had this opportunity to discuss my contribution to Plath’s presence on the web, and am thankful for the feedback received throughout the weekend. Thank you to all who attended this morning’s session, and for those who’ve visited and found use in all three websites.

Tracy Brain talked about “Plath’s Representations”. This was a shorter paper of a longer work while she’ll be discussing in November in London. She was particularly critical, and rightly so, of the way some of Plath’s biographers create a fictional narrative in their purportedly non-fiction works. And, more critical of the lack of sources given when clearly sources would be needed to have supplied such minute detail. It was an interesting talk; a near in subject to one which was also presented on Saturday afternoon.

Langdon Hammer's paper “Plath’s German” discusses Plath’s poems “Lorelei” and “Daddy”. His careful, clear reading really fresh and original.

The afternoon featured some memories of an American actress Linda Gray, who briefly “had a thing” with Al Alvarez in 1964. She met, in the course of their relationship, Assia Wevill and Ted Hughes and many other important figures I’m sure. She sung a song in Hebrew that Assia taught her from Song of Solomon, and recounted just how impressive a man Hughes was. She was clear about not trusting Assia Wevill and finding her to be generally manipulative, though admitted she was stunningly beautiful. This lunch time gossip sessions were well attended, entertaining, and appreciated by the crowd. Anne Alvarez, Al Alvarez’s wife, agreed fully with Linda’s assessment of Wevill.

Al. Alvarez and Sally Bayley conversed quite freely after this. This is a lot to say about this, but you see I’m quite tired at the moment! I will write up my notes Monday about the this conversation and about the rest of the day!

1 comment :

Melanie Smith said...

Thank you so much for these wonderful updates Peter! I will respond properly to all of these entries about the symposium when time permits. Thank you again! Oh to have been there.

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