26 June 2012

Plath Profiles 5 Preview

Some of you may have guessed that Plath Profiles 5 is nearly ready to be published...

One of the papers in the issue is authored by me and is titled "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." I wrote this paper because in reading Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar at least twice a year for the last 15 or so years, and in reading both British and American editions, the text became familiar but I could not reconcile why it read differently, depending on the edition read. Primarily I read a later printing of the first American edition from 1971 against a 1980s Faber paperback. Eventually I obtained a photocopy of the first Heinemann edition and read that, too.

But, the two editions of the book that set me on the three-year task were the uncorrected proof of The Bell Jar printed by Heinemann in 1962 and the 1996, 25th Anniversary edition published in America. These two especially are very different from one another. Mind you it is not as though the texts drastically differ: the primary differences are punctuation, some spelling as can be expected, etc. But in reading the proof of The Bell Jar, I also learned a bit about Plath's editorial eye, and I began to see that the only version/edition of this book that readers should read is the first Heinemann edition from 1963. (Faber apparently used the same typesetting when they published this book in 1966, and they used this same typesetting for nearly 30 years, so I think technically any Faber edition before 1995 should be the exact same text as the 1963 edition.) In working on this paper, too, I had to rely on the typescripts of the novel which are held by the Moritmer Rare Book Room, Smith College.

From the paper, "Because she died so young, Sylvia Plath's editors have had to speak for her and to make publication and other editorial decisions on her behalf. This sometimes has been controversial, sometimes questionable. This paper will present and examine the final choices Plath made to the text of The Bell Jar, based on comparisons between the uncorrected proof of the novel and its first edition... In addition, it will also compare the first Heinemann edition – my "control" edition, the only version of the novel to be approved for publication by Plath – to the novel's later publications: the first Harper & Row edition (1971) and the 25th Anniversary HarperCollins edition (1996)" (106).

The structure of the paper is a longish introduction with more text in footnotes probably, than in the main part of the paper, and then several tables where the differences in text are listed. I also include an appendix of those words appear in the editions of the books that have different spellings - in the order of appearance in the book - in either the UK or the US, that were not included as part of the textual variations tables.

More Plath Profiles 5 previews - including a guest blog post - over the next few days...

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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.