Before we look at Plath at the Boston Book Fair, I have recently learned that several limited edition books of Plath's published by the Rainbow Press are for sale through the Mayor Gallery in London. These books are being sold by both Frieda Hughes and her aunt, Olwyn Hughes. It appears that there is almost a complete liquidation of Plath by her daughter. That appalling thought notwithstanding, I have seen these books in libraries and they are nice books and the second two, Dialogue Over a Ouija Board and Lyonnesse, at that price point, are quite reasonable given their rarity. Lyonnesse is particularly nice as the endpapers contain a facsimile of Plath's poem "Lyonnesse," though under its original title "Amnesiac: The Man With Amnesia."
Crystal Gazer and Other Poems £250
Rainbow Press, London, 1971
Limited edition of 400 (only 25 available)
There is a reproduction of the 'Study of a Figurine' in this book.
Dialogue over a Ouija Board £350
With a drawing by Leonard Baskin
Rainbow Press, 1981
Limited edition of 140 (only 10 available)
Rainbow Press, London, 1971
Limited edition of 90 (only 10 available)
Should anyone be interested in buying me a copy of the above please let me know and I'll give you my shipping address! If you are interested in Plath's posthumous limited edition publications, I have collected images from booksellers and private collectors and have them on this page of my website for Sylvia Plath.
The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair
Overall there was less of a bibliographic presence for Plath at this years Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair. But, even still there were really some beautiful Plath books on show and overall, some stunning other volumes as well.
The first thing you saw when you walked in the door this year was the booth of James S. Jaffe. And, prominently displayed is his recently reduced price first Heinemann edition of The Colossus which Plath signed for Theodore Roethke. Years ago the book was priced at $50,000; then it rose to $65,000, but now it is back down to its more reasonable $50,000 price tag.
The next booth I stopped in at was Between the Covers from New Jersey. They had on hand beautiful first editions of Ariel (Harper, $475) and Crossing the Water (Faber, $450). Additionally, they had their recent acquisition of Plath’s copy of Edna St. Vincent Millay's The King’s Henchman ($10,000). The book includes a book plate with Plath's signature, as well as an inscription from Plath’s mother. Connected to Between’s booth was Ken Lopez who had the drawing Plath did of a teenage friend.
Caliban Book Shop of Pittsburgh had a decent edition of Bumblebees and Their Ways by Plath's father for $250. I have seen the dust wrapper before, but only online. In person it is really attractive.
A nice book dealer, Paul Foster of London, had three Plath books: A Day in June, The Green Rock, and a rebound Ariel (in fine leather binding). The fine leather bindings bother me; I think it means a first edition of the book was found in a crumby dust wrapper, or lacking a dust wrapper, or with damage to the original boards so they rebind it and thus are still able to charge a lot for it, in this instance £500. I understand I think why book sellers do this but I do not like it.
A couple of book stalls had first Harper & Row editions of The Bell Jar (Jeff Hirsch, $350, and G. Curwen Books, $475). The online price, on abebooks.com, for Curwen’s copy is $400. Hmmmmmm...
Royal Books of Baltimore had a first Knopf edition of The Colossus for $950 (I've seen nicer, for less).
Athena Rare Books from Connecticut had four Plath books on hand, each stunning and lovely. They had first Faber editions of Ariel ($1200), Crossing the Water ($400), and Winter Trees ($250). Additionally, they have a copy (#8) of The Magic Mirror ($750).
The pièce de résistance is Jonkers Rare Books $11,000 copy of the first Heinemann Victoria Lucas The Bell Jar. In a nearly perfect, exquisite dust wrapper, the book looks as fresh as it must have when it was printed in later 1962 or early 1963.
Whilst I have not the means, someone out there is buying Plath as a few books I had seen in years before were no longer there. Dealers are pretty open that things have sold. So, I am happy for the person who is or the people who are buying these books. Jonkers had a delicious copy of Ariel: Sold. (They actually had two and they both sold) B & B had a lovely Heinemann Colossus with a review slip: Sold. In fact, there used to be more than a dozen copies of the Heinemann Colossus and the Heinemann Bell Jar listed on abebooks.com and now there are far fewer. I did leave with a purchase though from our good friend in poetry, Jett Whitehead. A first edition, third printing of Ted Hughes' The Hawk in the Rain (Harper & Row). Set me back only three and a half Hamilton's. I have long wanted this in hardback for a few of the poems that I like, as well as for the dedication "To Sylvia."
All in all a great fair as usual. Any time one can walk around and talk with book dealers, get a little education on the books & the trade, hold precious volumes (a copy of The Great Gatsby for $192,000) is a good time. Speaking of The Great Gatsby... Although, I have linked to this before (13 August 2010 and 22 August 2007), you can read "A Description" by Park Bucker of Plath's copy of Great Gatsby, which is held by the University of South Carolina and joins other Fitzgerldiana as part of the The Matthew J. and Arlyn Bruccoli Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
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.
- "Banking on his passion for Plath" by Melissa Davis Haller. UMW Today. Spring 2005.
- "Sylvia Plath's Three Women to be staged in London" by Alison Flood. The Guardian. 3 December 2008.
- "FBI files on Sylvia Plath's father shed new light on poet" by Dalya Alberge. The Guardian. 17 August 2012.
- "There Are Almost No Obituaries for Sylvia Plath" by Ashley Fetters. The Atlantic. 11 February 2013.