09 December 2012

Seven Days of Sylvia Plath Gifts: Day 2

Day 2 of Seven Days of Sylvia Plath Gifts: The Bell Jar and The Collected Poems

On the second day of Plathnukkah my true love gave to me
Two tomes for my entertainment...

These two books, The Bell Jar and The Collected Poems, provide the greatest overview to Sylvia Plath's creative works. The Bell Jar, originally published nearly 50 years ago under the name Victoria Lucas, is a really funny, great read. It does many things at the same time: tells a coming of age story; is a response to the social climate of the period covered in the novel; and much more. There are different editions of The Bell Jar out there with textual variations, so in order to read the one Sylvia Plath herself sanctioned, read the 1963 Heinemann edition if you can afford it, or any Faber edition published between 1966 and 1996. Faber is releasing a 50th anniversary edition of The Bell Jar on 3 January 2013. It would have been better to release it on the 14th, just as the book was originally in 1963...Not sure if the text block will be restored to the one of which Plath approved but time will shortly tell.

In the past I admit to spending more time reading the individual poetry collections, but in doing so, I have cheated myself out of the glory that is a more or less full presentation of Plath's (mature) poetry. The Collected Poems won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in April 1982. Why not buy the book and find out why?


The Plath Diaries said...

I bought myself a beautiful version of the Collected Poems last summer and it has become my bible really. While I do own (many) copies of the individual poetry collections, there's something about having more or less everything together that I love.

Great Xmas present ideas! :)

Peter K Steinberg said...

Meave! Thanks for your comment. Which edition of Collected Poems did you buy? I am inspired by your use of the word bible (which I hear is a good book) to make a more determined effort to read Plath's Collected Poems over the individual collections. There was a time, oh so so long ago where I was reading the poems in order and taking notes on them. I need to resume that kind of study. I'm certain I'll find things I've been missing...

5 more days of gifts are forthcoming! & I hope that writing and studying for your PhD is going well.


Peter K Steinberg said...

Sorry, that should have been, obviously, Maeve...

The Plath Diaries said...

Thanks Peter! This is the version I own, perhaps it is just the most recent edition from F&F (http://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/collected-poems-sylvia-plath/9780571118380). But the pages are lovely and thin, much like bible paper actually! I find it good having the Collected Poems for the exact reasons you mention: reading the work in order and note-taking. Though I generally photocopy poems to write on them - not a fan of note-taking in my books!

Looking forward to seeing what else you suggest, Xmas present wise! I've always been a fan of these Bell Jar ear-rings ;) http://www.etsy.com/listing/92769312/the-bell-jar-earrings-sylvia-plath?ref=sr_gallery_11&ga_search_query=sylvia+plath&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=GB&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=sylvia+plath

Peter K Steinberg said...


Thanks for the two links. I wasn't veering into the creative creations such as those earrings, which are pretty awesome. Tempted to get my ears pierced...


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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.