11 October 2007

Sylvia Plath collections: Sylvia Plath VI poems

Another Plath manuscript formerly for sale was "SYLVIA PLATH VI POEMS. (A.M.S., autographed manuscript signed)."

This notebook, described in detail below, sold several years ago. The bookseller recently advised me that it may have gone to an institution in New York, though he is unsure which one it may be. I've searched the catalogs of Cornell, Columbia, and NYU, as well as WorldCat and found nothing. If anyone has worked with or seen this notebook, the Loch Ness of Plath manuscripts, please let me know! Paragraphs added by me.

"Wellesley, MA: circa 1944-45, original notebook, signed, ruled pages wire-stitched in original cloth reinforced red paper covers. The title "Sylvia Plath VI Poems" is written in the author's hand on a white label with double ruled red border, and applied to the upper center of the front cover.

"The following description is taken from the letter of authenticity which accompanies the notebook: "Sylvia Plath created this notebook of favorite poems and schools exercises while in the sixth grade at Marshall Perrin Elementary School in Wellesley, Massachusetts during the 1944-5 school year. It is entirely in her holograph and a gummed label on the upper cover reads 'Sylvia Plath VI Poems.' This remarkable piece of Plath iconography includes seventeen (sic) copies in a fair hand of some of her favorite classic poems, from Emerson, Masefield and others. Her school exercises, including lists of spelling 'demons,' holidays, birthdays of significant people, etc. show much personal precocity. In fact, at this point in her life she was unusually happy and highly successful in school, being of extraordinary creativity and intelligence. . .and this seminal artifact of her youth is a missing link to the final terrible genius of Ariel. . ."

"Of particular interest is the neat and orderly text, along with the uniformly attractive penmanship of a sixth grade girl. Her choice of poems, lyrics & prose pieces (totaling nineteen pages) along with her appliqued embellishment of Emerson's "Concord Hymn" are intriguing. There are copious lists of geographic locations, earth formations, famous birthdays, holidays, and perhaps the most insightful and curious is her list of "100 Spelling Demons". This glimpse into the early development of Sylvia Plath, touching directly both her academic and creative spirit, is a unique window unavailable elsewhere. The physical notebook shows very little wear, and is in remarkably fine condition. One of a kind."

The list price on this item, $19,500, was well below that of the Corrected carbon typescripts of Ariel. This item is contemporary with the poems held by the Morgan Library, New York.

1 comment :

Peter K Steinberg said...

As a follow up to this post, this item is held in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library.


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Publications & Acknowledgements

  • BBC Four.A Poet's Guide to Britain: Sylvia Plath. London: BBC Four, 2009. (Acknowledged in)
  • Biography: Sylvia Plath. New York: A & E Television Networks, 2005. (Photographs used)
  • Connell, Elaine. Sylvia Plath: Killing the angel in the house. 2d ed. Hebden Bridge: Pennine Pens, 1998. (Acknowledged in)
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 3." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 119-138.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 4: Looking for New England." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012: 11-56.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past." Plath Profiles 6. Summer 2013: 27-62.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives, Redux." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 232-246.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives." Plath Profiles 2. Summer 2009: 183-208.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath. Oxford: Fonthill, 2017.
  • Death Be Not Proud: The Graves of Poets. New York: Poets.org. (Photographs used)
  • Doel, Irralie, Lena Friesen and Peter K. Steinberg. "An Unacknowledged Publication by Sylvia Plath." Notes & Queries 56:3. September 2009: 428-430.
  • Elements of Literature, Third Course. Austin, Tex. : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2009. (Photograph used)
  • Gill, Jo. "Sylvia Plath in the South West." University of Exeter Centre for South West Writing, 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Helle, Anita Plath. The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. (Photographs used, acknowledged in)
  • Helle, Anita. "Lessons from the Archive: Sylvia Plath and the Politics of Memory". Feminist Studies 31:3. Fall 2005: 631-652.. (Acknowledged in)
  • Holden, Constance. "Sad Poets' Society." Science Magazine. 27 July 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women, Motion Picture. Directed by Rachel Talbot. Brookline (Mass.): Jewish Women's Archive, 2007. (Photograph used)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Karen V. Kukil. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962. New York: Anchor Books, 2000. (Acknowledged in)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil (eds.). The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 1, 1940-1956. London: Faber, 2017. Forthcoming.
  • Plath, Sylvia. Glassklokken. Oslo: De norske Bokklubbene, 2004. (Photograph used on cover)
  • Reiff, Raychel Haugrud. Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar and Poems (Writers and Their Works). Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, 2008.. (Images provided)
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'A Fetish: Somehow': A Sylvia Plath Bookmark." Court Green 13. 2017.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'I Should Be Loving This': Sylvia Plath's 'The Perfect Place' and The Bell Jar." Plath Profiles 1. Summer 2008: 253-262.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'They Had to Call and Call': The Search for Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 106-132.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "A Perfectly Beautiful Time: Sylvia Plath at Camp Helen Storrow." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 149-166.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Proof of Plath." Fine Books & Collections 9:2. Spring 2011: 11-12.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Sylvia Plath." The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath. London: British Library, 2010.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "The Persistence of Plath." Fine Books & Collections. Autumn 2017: 24-29
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "This is a Celebration: A Festschrift for The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3 Supplement. Fall 2010: 3-14.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Writing Life" [Introduction]. Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning. Stroud, Eng.: Fonthill Media, 2014.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. Sylvia Plath (Great Writers). Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.