08 May 2010

Links, reviews, etc. - Week ending 8 May 2010

The review of Johnny Panic has a few inaccuracies, such as "Stone Boy With Dolphin" far pre-dates "Mothers." And it was "Stone Boy with Dolphin," not "Mothers," that could have been part of "Falcon Yard" which was the title of Plath's first novel attempt. Hughes' infidelity was discovered in the summer of 1962, not spring. I'm drawing a blank here, but do we know what the title of the novel Plath destroyed was? Was Plath being "green" and recycling the title? "Snow Blitz," "The Smiths," and "America! America!," also, were not stories written for the women's magazines, they a mixture of non-fiction writings. Plath's writing for women's magazines includes "Day of Success," and a few stories not included in Johnny Panic such as "The Perfect Place," "Shadow Girl," and "A Winter's Tale."

Also, in Ferri's "In Which We Flay Ourselves Into Poets" she suggests that Plath's journals capture her frustration about not finding a publisher for The Bell Jar. Um, do you have the missing journals because that is most certainly not in the Unabridged Journals I have open next to my computer. There is one actual mention of Plath's novel in the Unabridged Journals. See the note on page 696, where Karen Kukil indicates that Plath annotated her journal entry from December 12, 1958. In the journal Plath wrote "Why don't I write a novel?" The annotation reads, "I have! August 22, 1961: THE BELL JAR". There is much "palpable" "anguish" regarding other attempts by Plath to have works published throughout the Unabridged Journals, but not in reference to The Bell Jar, which, like The Colossus, was published rather easily in Britain.


Anonymous said...

Peter, wasn't the novel Plath supposedly destroyed called "Double Exposure"? kim

Peter K Steinberg said...


Double Exposure was the "third" novel, the one she wrote/was working on after she bonfired her second novel, which was to be a birthday present for Hughes. Double Exposure is, like the second to last journal, missing.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Maybe the 2nd was Falcon Yard, too - like you said, she recycled the title - it was supposed to be this love offering about their marriage, right? Ican't think of any other titles off hand. Also, are you intimating that Double Exposure, like the missing journal, may turn up some day? I swear, get me a crow bar I want into those "trunks" they've got at Smith, Emory, etc.! :-) kim

Anonymous said...

Stevenson says the novel Plath supposedly burned was called Falcon Yard, then goes on to say that there is no evidence that such a novel ever existed. Of course, we know now that it did, albeit in portions, as I've seen some of it myself in the Emory archives (parts of Ted's Bordo Thodal are on the verso of her pages). I think she had been working on FY for years, before either abandoning it or burning portions of it. I don't know that there is a "2nd" novel and we don't know much about Double Exposure - have any traces of DE ever turned up in any of the archives or do we just have comments from some people about it?

Peter K Steinberg said...

I remember reading by either Ted Hughes or Olwyn Hughes somewhere that 170 pages or so of Double Exposure existed into the 1970s. So, to quote Hughes it might "presumably, still turn up." She discusses the novel, even, in some letters, for instance a general description was giving to Olive Higgins Prouty. I don't think traces of it have surfaced. But if it was like her poetry and prose, it would have been written likely on the verso of older drafts of writings. Could be missing poems or drafts, even. Oh, the great unknown... So tantalizing.

Anonymous said...

I think it was Stevenson who referred to it as Doubletake - likely in error. Wasn't it supposed to center around 2 couples based on Assia and David and Ted and Sylvia? In a Lover of Unreason, it's asserted that Assia read the manuscript of Sylvia's
2nd novel and in the mss Assia and David were given the surname the "Goof-Hoppers" - I just love that! kim

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