07 July 2014

More Sylvia Plath College Articles Found

This is a third blog post on articles authored by (or possibly/probably authored by) Sylvia Plath. The first blog post was posted on 20 May 2014. The second was posted on 8 June 2014. This post discusses articles published or referenced to in letters from events Plath covered for Press Board in March, April, and May 1952.

In her sophomore year, Plath was active on the Smith College Press Board. Her letters home refer repeatedly to events she was covering. This presents us with tantalizing possibilities to either uncover original Press Board typescripts in the Smith College Archives, or anonymous articles as they appeared in newspapers in Northampton and Springfield, Massachusetts. In addition to her letters, Plath's calendars at the Lilly Library are perhaps the richest sources for biographical information of her college years. The calendars record particularly her activities with regard to campus events, classes, dates for tests and papers, dates with boys, social engagements, and meals, among other data. Her calendars featured the words "Press Board" or "cover" on so many occasions one could go blind and/or crazy trying to find articles she possibly authored.

In the absence of original, attributed typescripts, we are therefore relegated to searching for only those events Plath covered that she wrote about in letters or detailed in her calendars. In conjunction with the letters and calendars, there is further need for cross-referencing to gain information on her activities and to narrow down the events Plath attended by looking through copies of the Smith College newspapers, the Smith College Associated News and The Sophian, as well as the Smith College Weekly Bulletin. Massive thanks are due to Nanci Young, the College Archivist at Smith, and Diane Wieland, the College Archives Intern for their help to my remote queries.

On Thursday 6 March, Plath wrote to her mother that she the M.I.T. professor/communist Struik (Dirk Jan Struik) speak on 3 March (a Monday) and that she found him to be a compelling Marxist; and that the Press Board accepted her review nearly word for word. The letter was published, heavily edited and with these details cut out, under the wrong date --the postmark date-- in Letters Home. An article was published anonymously in the Springfield Union on Tuesday 4 March 1952, page 2, under the title "'Heresy Hunts' Menace Liberty: Struik Claims". Based on Plath's letter to her mother and the tone of the article I do believe this was the piece Plath authored.

On Wednesday 30 April, Plath wrote to her mother that she was covering five lectures in four days. Like the above, the letter was included in Letters Home and heavily edited, though was published under the correct day. The lectures Plath covered were Ogden Nash that night, 3 European student conference lectures on 1 & 2 May; and a "Friends" (probably Friends of the Library) meeting on Saturday 3 May 1952, which involved Smith alumnae who have great book collections.

Of all these events covered over those four days, there was only one article I found in searching the three newspapers for whom Plath regularly wrote while on Press Board (Springfield Daily News, Springfield Union, and the Daily Hampshire Gazette). There was an anonymous article reviewing the Ogden Nash reading printed on 1 May 1952 in the Springfield Union, page 30, with the title "Ogden Nash's Rhyming Knack Makes Up for His Talent Lack".

All links accessed on 30 May 2014 and 14 June 2014.

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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.