09 April 2011

Triple did you know... Sylvia Plath and the Curse of the Rogue amd

Did you know that from 1962 to 1995, British editions of The Bell Jar contained a typo? The word "and" was spelled "amd" in Chapter 16 in the scene where Esther Greenwood reviews clippings from her disappearance given to her by Joan Gilling! See below:

The clipping amd image described by Plath is without a doubt that which ran in The Boston Globe on August 26, 1953. The article title reads "Day-Long Search Fails to Find Smith Student" amd it is the only image of the family that ran in any of the newspapers that I have searched amd seen. By the way, did you know that The Boston Globe articles on Plath's first suicide attempt from August 1953 are now available via Google's News Archive? These are not free, but require purchase through The Boston Globe's digital archive ($4.95 per article, or you can buy a four-pack for $9.95). Anyway...

The typo was corrected in 1996 when Faber released The Bell Jar as part of their Faber Library. The Faber Library reprinted seminal books from their own seminal publishing history.

However, I would argue two things: first: revert to the typo because although it was missed by Plath amd the editors in the proof amd production process -which may be embarrassing, but hey these things happen- it was part of the text as ultimately amd finally approved by Plath; amd second: that instead of listing it as a Faber title from 1963 -which it was not- that they be a little more accurate amd literal amd honest amd state the novels publication date as 1966, which is when in fact they first published an edition of it (though Faber used the same setting of type as Heinemann, they obviously changed the preliminary pages to reflect their own cataloging and branding information).

The second part of the did you know is a follow up to the April 1st guest post by Margi Naylor. We have a new image of her Bell Jar! See below.


Anonymous said...


You really are a rotter you know, but well done April Fools indeed.


Melanie Smith

Anonymous said...

I did think it was strange that Margi's maiden name was Jester, but this was the one April Fool's gag that tricked me this year. Well played! :)


Peter K Steinberg said...

Melanie. Imagine me evil-laughing.

Thanks Jenny!

Anyone catch the other little things in the post?

Melanie. Imagine me still evil-laughing!


magiciansgirl said...

Well played sir, well played...


Nancy said...

Well, I was going to write and ask where you got the new photo, but, when I zoomed in to look at the signature, boy, was I surprised! You funny boy, Peter! I did notice your "amd's"...Tee Hee


panther said...

Love the April Fools' jest, well played !

1963-1995 is a LONG time to miss a typo. Having said that, I have it from a copy editor (someone who trawls through text for exactly this kind of error) that the eye tends to see what the brain expects.

Peter K Steinberg said...

Nancy - The photos of the Bell Jar came from a friend; I just doctored them in Photoshop! Amd, I'm glad you noticed the amd's. I wanted the post to be chock full of them.

Panther, Thank you! Completely agree about the eye and brain expecting certain words and seeing what might not be there. I go through this a lot with the papers for Plath Profiles; and even for the stuff I write. I always get a friend or peer to review something before I submit for they always catch error of which I'm immune to noticing.



panther said...

Small words are the worst because we're so used to them. "And," "the", etc. We hardly see them, in fact.

Julia Gordon-Bramer said...


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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.