04 December 2011

Ted Hughes in Poets Corner & Some Sylvia Plath, too

On Tuesday 6 December 2011, Ted Hughes will be memorialized in Poets Corner at Westminster Abbey in London. Frieda Hughes, Carol Hughes, and Seamus Heaney are three among the many expected to attend the service. This news broke in early 2010. A more recent article appeared on Westminster Abbey's website in early November.

The Mayor Gallery in London, which is exhibiting "Sylvia Plath: Her Drawings" through 16 December, recently informed me that they have three rare copies of the limited edition Pursuit for sale. Copies are £1,000 and were formerly in the possession of Frieda Hughes. The book was limited to 100 numbered copies and these three copies are numbered 20, 22, and 23. I have a photograph of the title page of Pursuit on my website.

There are also a few copies of The Crystal Gazer still available, numbered sequentially 271-277.

Bloomsbury Auctions will be selling two copies of The Bell Jar on their Books, Manuscripts, Maps and Works on Paper auction on 14 and 15 December 2011. Lot 386. [Plath (Sylvia)], "Victoria Lucas". The Bell Jar, first edition, original boards, a little cocked, central crease to spine, 1963; The Bell Jar, first faber edition, original boards, dust-jacket, light surface soiling to lower panel, a little creased at head, spine ends rubbed, 1963, 8vo (2) est. £200 – £300.

On 22 November 2011, Sotheby's Milan sold in Lot 79, an oil on canvas copy of Giorgio De Chirico's Le Muse Inquietanti, which was executed in 1962. The image online shows the shocking vibrancy of de Chirico's masterpiece in colors like none I have ever seen in trolling around the internet. I could not read the Italian in catalog description, so translated it via Google Translate and hope that you enjoy the below. There were a couple of words that were hung up, but the basic understanding of the catalog description should not be too affected...

"Meanwhile, the shades of night descended on Ferrara. Neared the time when the sweet night, sitting on an invisible throne, would have drained, with a gesture full of tenderness and grace, the contents of her horn. Sprinkle berries so SLEEPING countries and cities of half the earth. " Giorgio de Chirico, Memoirs, London, 1962, p.. 86

"The first version of The Disquieting Muses goes back to 1917 and was defined by James Thrall Soby as one of the most important works painted by the master de Chirico. The work was performed by the artist while he was hospitalized in Ferrara during the First World War during which he met Carlo Carra, an artist with whom he perfected the standards of Metaphysical painting, artistic period already undertaken by de Chirico, and for some years during which he performed his most important works. The second version of the work was dated 1924 addressed to Paul Eluard and his wife behind their explicit request. The work was greatly admired and is also for this reason that later de Chirico shoot the same subject several times. This version, released in the early sixties is part of the new phase metaphysical artist has already been done for some years. The sense of anxiety that reigns the atmosphere of the work is mainly due to the description of a deserted city where low light and long shadows formed by sharply defined outlines, create a space exaggeratedly a vacuum. Suspended in space no smoking chimneys emerge, as non-functioning and belonging while being flanked by the contemporary era architecture of the past. The latter as the Este Castle symbol of Ferrara, a city defined by de Chirico's 'perfect city', with the representation of the Doric column, which brings the artist to Greece, his birthplace, underline the melancholic atmosphere, typical of the artist, for places that apparengono lived a past date. In this composition space is lived by dummies have only the appearance but not the human substance and classical statues that recall the ancient Greece temporally and geographically very distant. In addition to a sad, troubled and deliberately unrealistic this is perhaps the connection with the dream that strikes the viewer. In 1916 both Freud (1900) that Jung (1909) had published their theories about dreams and some intellectuals of the time they were fascinated, not at home the work in question contains all the laws that regulate and decipher the dream according to psychoanalysis. It should also be added vhe unreal and the static timing of this composition gives the viewer more easily to a nightmare in which everything while apparently not real because it is created by our subconscious. This concern would seem created by Permit us to overcome the appearance space for dialogue between the viewer and the mystery. The poet Plath in Sylvia 1957 was inspired by precisely this work of de Chirico for the composition of a poem whose title was 'The Disquieting Muses'."


neenaarr said...

Aww fab, thanks for the info. I'm hoping to check out "Sylvia Plath: Her Drawings" soon, I'll try and jot down a few notes on my blog -




magiciansgirl said...

Have Carol and Frieda patched up their relationship? And no Olwyn? Or did they just not mention her attendance? Sad that Nick is not there to witness this. Heaney also read at the Memorial service in '99And Juliet Stevenson is wonderful -wish I could be there...

Rehan Qayoom said...

I have a ticket. I've never seen Carol Hughes before nor Heaney.

Anonymous said...

@ Rehan Qayoom:
Please let us know how it goes! Great that the public is allowed to attend. ~VC

magiciansgirl said...

Rehan, do let us know your impressions when you can. I went to the memorial service in 1999 - it was packed with people. Besides Ted's family, Prince Charles and the Queen Mother attended as well as numerous literary types (I didn't know who was there until reading the list of attendees in the paper the next day). My friend and I were lucky enough to be seated in the south transept, rather than behind the quire screen, so we were able to see all of the speakers as well as Prince Charles, but the family were off to Charles' side, and I didn't see them in person. Very moving ceremony, especially the readings and Ted's voice booming out across the abbey in a recorded reading of a passage from Cymbeline.

Anonymous said...

God, the more I hear about the ceremony, the more I regret not living in London!

Seamus Heaney will be reading "Some Pike for Nicholas" and actress Juliet Stevenson "Full Moon and Little Frieda". A letter to Plath will also be read which recalls "their early happy years together".



Anonymous said...

P.S. You can see a picture of the slab memorial via the Guardian link above. ~VC

Peter K Steinberg said...

~VC, thank you for the two comments and the link. It sounds like it'll be a very nice evening, as one would expect...

Kristina Zimbakova said...

Some footage from the ceremony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxrbB_-kmVQ

Peter K Steinberg said...

Kristina. Thank you for posting the link to the YouTube click. A nice story on the memorial. By the way, I didn't know Plath had committed suicide - had never heard that before - I thought it was pneumonia...


Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks for the link! I was expecting the ceremony to be a formal one but it looks more religious than I was expecting.
It seems both Hughes's widow Carol and daughter Frieda turned up in the end:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16055750 (includes an interview with Seamus Heaney which also mentions SP).


Rehan Qayoom said...

Ted Hughes Commemoration in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey.

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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.