04 May 2011

A Piece of Plathery: A New Sylvia Plath Blog

As you know I am interested in Sylvia Plath books - both those written by her, about her, as well as those from either her personal library or those that she read. Frequently at book fairs I put on my horse blinders and scour stalls solely for Plath books.

Anyway, I know people that collect Sylvia Plath books and very recently one of them started a new blog that highlight books in a terrifically, impressive growing Plath collection. Please go check out "A Piece of Plathery."

Relatedly I think, the book seller Rick Gekoski recently posted "An Insider's Guide to Book Fairs" on the Guardian's blog.

I am particularly fond of his final words,

"How do you explain the allure of rare books?

"You either feel it or you don't. It's a matter of taste, and inclination, and, like love, doesn't need to be justified. I think holding a copy of the first edition of Ulysses, or Great Expectations, is thrilling, especially with a presentation inscription by the author. If you don't feel similarly, you haven't got the makings of a book collector. In fact, I don't even think I would like you."

Gekoski is no stranger to Plath books, as can be read in his chapter "The Colossus" in Nabokov's Butterfly (or, in the UK Tolkien's Gown). Read my review of his chapter on Plath here.

Plath will be a hot topic for the next few years and I think the prices of her books will reflect the imminence of the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Bell Jar and her death in 2013; and then the 50th anniversary of composition of the Ariel poems in 2012 and their publication in 2015. Last October I totally dropped the ball (darn you, "Last Letter") in pointing out that it was the 50th anniversary of Plath's first published book.

But, again, before you do anything else today: Please go check out "A Piece of Plathery." And please note the addition to the Links sidebar of a link to this valuable blog


A Piece of Plathery said...

blushes... Thank you so much for the kind words.

Anonymous said...

Yes Peter, I agree rare and secondhand books in general (and secondhand bookshops for that matter) do have an allure. I bought Gekoski's book several years ago when I came across it when shelving new stock whilst working part-time for a famous British branch of booksellers and it was a highly enjoyable read. There seems to be several books in this genre about rare books and booksellers ('Bibliophilia', perhaps?)- I have one on the 'to read' pile about the Shakespeare and Co shop in Paris (that I bought appropriately enough in a secondhand bookshop).

Coincidentally I went to Hay on Wye last Saturday - secondhand bookshop heaven. Amongst various non-Plath related items, I got Nancy Hunter-Steiner's Closer look at Ariel for 4 quid, Ariel's Gift for the same price, Wicked Women by Fay Weldon (has a (very) short story that seems to be an evocation of Assia Wevill and Plath and Hughes similar to the one in 'Down Among the Women') for a few quid and an original Penguin of 'The Rack' by AE Ellis (mentioned as a book Plath was reading when she got back to London in 1960 in some book, can't remember exactly) which I had tried to order at my usually excellent local bookshop and which seemed to be unavailable. So that was worth the two hour journey alone. I also saw but didn't get a book of short stories by Ruth Fainlight - didn't realise she wrote prose as well as poetry and now rather regret not buying it. Oh well, a reason to go back (I had to be physically restrained by my boyfriend from further purchases by the afternoon)


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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.