20 December 2007

Sylvia Plath 2007: Year in review

2007 review
2007 marked the 75th anniversary of Plath's birth, and it was an interesting and exciting year for the late poet. Several books were published, including three unique compilations of essays and a work of biographical poems. One book, Linda Wagner-Martin's Sylvia Plath's Poetry, was delayed for various reasons, disappointing many, including myself. The book is now scheduled for release on 7 August 2008. Books about Sylvia Plath that were published this year include:

The Unraveling Archive: essays on Sylvia Plath edited by Anita Helle
Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual edited by Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley
Lover of Unreason: Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath's rival and Ted Hughes's doomed love by Eilat Negev and Yehuda Koren
Chapters in a mythology: the poetry of Sylvia Plath by Judith Kroll
Sylvia Plath (Bloom's Modern Critical Views) edited by Harold Bloom
Your own, Sylvia: a verse portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill
Letters of Ted Hughes edited by Christopher Reid

The Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium took over Oxford for about five days in October. There was much buzz throughout the year surrounding this event, and it proved to be hugely successful. The papers presented, as well as talks from guest and featured speakers, provided each participant with new research, fresh ideas, and collegial conversations. No doubt that the research being conducted, and the resulting papers, dissertations, essays and books will benefit from the event. The future of Plath scholarship promises to be enlightening.

Amongst all these new publications, ideas, and events, there were several notable passing's. Elaine Connell, author of Sylvia Plath: Killing the Angel in the House and moderator of the Sylvia Plath Forum, passed away on 3 October. And, on 15 December, Diane Middlebrook, author of Anne Sexton: A Biography and Her Husband: Hughes and Plath, a Marriage, passed away. Their contributions to our knowledge of the poets will live on in the work we do. I had the pleasure of meeting Elaine in 2003 and Diane in 2004 and found them both inspirational and encouraging. Paul Roche, a poet and translator, who met Plath and Hughes in the 1950s, passed away on 30 October. Lastly, Elizabeth Hardwick, the second wife of Robert Lowell, who likely met Plath and Hughes in the late 1950s, passed away on 2 December.

In all my searching, I did not find many new Plath websites this year. Aside from this blog and contributions to the Sylvia Plath Forum, there was not much content added in this area of Plath studies. I started this blog for several reasons. One reason is, I had been unable to update my website (this issue was resolved and a big update will be coming between Christmas and New Year's). Another reason is my contributions to the Sylvia Plath Forum rarely appeared on the website; and the last reason was based on a conversation in February with Eilat Negev and Yehuda Koren. The conversation was about Plath's presence on the web which, for better or worse, seemed somewhat stalled. I hope the information presented here has been, is, or will be useful to you. That being said, Google Books and WorldCat are valuable resources for Plath scholarship. Please use them. If my web site does not have images you are looking for, use the satellite feature on Google Maps to get close-ups of neighborhoods. For example, you can really get great aerial views of Court Green and Heptonstall.

Looking forward
2008 should continue a revival of interest and inspection in Plath's life and works. Forthcoming books for the US market include Sylvia Plath's Poetry by Linda Wagner-Martin (Continuum) and A Sylvia Plath / Ted Hughes Chronology by Wim Van Mierlo (Palgrave MacMillan) are two notable books. Another new book scheduled for publication is Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar and poems by Raychel Haugrud Reiff (Marshall Cavendish Benchmark). Negev and Koren's Lover of Unreason will be issued in paperback in January. This time around, the cover will feature an image only of Assia Wevill, a good decisions by the book designers.

A new journal, Plath Profiles, is scheduled to publish its first issue in the summer of 2008. I will post any information I can to keep you updated. There was some discussion about this journal at the Symposium in October. The panels were well attended and good ideas were shared.

Awards
And now, the much anticipated, highly unofficial Sylvia Plath Info Blog Awards (the SPIBAs) for 2007.

Favorite Book: The Unraveling Archive: essays on Sylvia Plath edited by Anita Helle





Most attractive book: Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's art of the visual edited by Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley




Now, for the most anticipated category of the year:

Ugliest book cover award: Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath.

This award goes not to a book published this year, but to a book published in 2000. The HarperPerennial edition of Plath's Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams. If I were to judge this book by its cover, I would hand down a life sentence. In fact, this book wins the first ever Lifetime Achievement in Ugly Plath Book Covers Award (the LAUPBCA). I realize now I will never get a book deal with HarperPerennial.

2 comments :

Annika said...

O Peter, what are you talking about? The award for the ugliest SP book-cover MUST go to the Perennial classics edition of The Bell Jar - it is horrible!!

Peter K Steinberg said...

Indeed. Perhaps HarperPerennial, in general, should receive this illustrious award? On the whole, most books published in this authored by Plath are unattractive. Faber is more considerate. That's not the right word but...

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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." Plath Profiles 2. Summer 2009: 183-208.
  • 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 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: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath. Oxford: Fonthill, 2017. Forthcoming.
  • 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.
  • Gill, Jo. "Sylvia Plath in the South West." University of Exeter Centre for South West Writing, 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Elements of Literature, Third Course. Austin, Tex. : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2009. (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. 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. Sylvia Plath (Great Writers). Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.
  • 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. "Sylvia Plath." The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath. London: British Library, 2010.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'They Had to Call and Call': The Search for Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 106-132.
  • 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. "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. "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Writing Life" [Introduction]. Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning. Stroud, Eng.: Fonthill Media, 2014.

Interviews