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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