It has been quite a while since this blog has had news of "academic" (used alternatingly seriously and sarcastically) articles on Sylvia Plath. So, let us play catch up with some recent(ish) writing that you might find interesting. Below each entry is an annotation or summary, that may or may not be helpful?
Currey, Mason. "Sylvia Plath." In Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013: 109.
A brief page long entry on Plath's "near-constant struggle to find and stick to a productive writing schedule" (109). Currey cites a few instances in Plath's journals where she tries to dictate her self into routine. The entry mentions Plath's October 1962 routine of rising early and writing before her children woke up.
Garfield, Simon. "The Modern Master." In To the Letter: A Journey Through a Vanishing World. New York: Gotham Books, 2013: 360-384.
Wonderful article primarily on the letter writing of Ted Hughes. On Hughes' art and dedication to this vanishing form of communication. Includes examples of letters to his his daughter Frieda Hughes, sister Olwyn, a teacher, friend Luke Myers, and Sylvia Plath. Includes a photograph of Sylvia Plath I believe was previously unpublished which is from the "Gerald Hughes collection" at Emory. The caption is weak: "Daffodils and smiles: Sylvia Plath with Frieda and Nick in the early 1960s" (378). Logically this can be only 1962. It is probably the same sitting as the "Perfect Light" photograph referred to by Hughes in Birthday Letters. The photograph in the book is from further away than the above linked image. Plath holds her baby Nicholas in her left arm with her right hand supporting his bum. She is smiling at the camera while Frieda stands off to Plath's right holding a small bouquet of daffodils.
Mack, Michael. "Vacating the Homogeneity of the Socio-Political: Sylvia Plath and the Disruption of 'Confessional Poetry'." In Ethics, Art, and the Representation of the Holocaust: Essays in Honor of Berel Lang. eds. Simone Gigliotti, Jacob Golomb, and Caroline Steinberg Gould. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2014: 199-213.
Mack's essay contends that "Plath strenuously and unceasingly strengthens her selfhood [and her] poetry creates and also preserves the life of subjectivity that refuses to meet conventional moral standards" (199).
Merkin, Daphne. "A Matched Pair (Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath)." In The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Brontës, and the Importance of Handbags. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013: 359-363.
Any chapter that begins "Them again. Just when you thought there was no more to be said, the ransacked remains of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath float to the surface once more" needs to be ignored (359). One has to question the motivation and sincerity of Merkin to write about Plath (and Hughes). Largely inspired by Diane Middlebrooks' Her Husband, Merkin must have simply needed a chapter. Nothing to see here, carry on.
Poch, John. "The Family Voice: The Confessional Pronouns' Greatest Hits." American Poetry Review. September/October 2014: 33-35.
Poch's piece looks at "I" in Theodore Roethke's "In a Dark Time"; the "You" in Plath's "Daddy"; and the "Our" in Robert Lowell's "Skunk Hour"; the "She" in Elizabeth Bishop's "The Moose"; and the "He" in John Berryman's "Dream Song 77". For Plath, Poch writes, "While the confessional poet's poems are all about the 'I,' the second person sometimes take the cake due to all the finger-pointing. Perhaps nobody has a better index of this than Sylvia Plath" (33). Thanks to Dr. Amanda Golden for alerting me about this one.
Redmond, John. "The Influence of Sylvia Plath on Seamus Heaney." In Poetry and Privacy: Questioning Public Interpretations of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry. Bridgend (Wales): Seren, 2013, 111-129.
Redmond pays "special attention to the influence of The Colossus and Ariel on Wintering Out and North" (111). Some of the influences the author notes are merely word choices (they both used the word "neighbourly", for example, and in Redmond's argument this constitutes evidence of influence), but he is more convincing when discussing themes and tonality that Heaney may have picked up from Plath. He compares Plath's "Nick and the Candlestick" and "Berck-Plage" to Heaney's "Exposure" and "Funeral Rites".
Treglown, Jeremy. "Howard's Way." TLS. August 30, 2013: 13.
Treglown discusses the passing reference to painter Howard Rogovin in Ted Hughes' Birthday Letters poem "Portraits", the only poem in the collection on his time at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York. A fascinating article that ends with Rogovin saying "'I'm not sure how good a poem ["Portraits"] is...but it's probably better than the painting.' And then, as if momentarily speaking in Plath's voice, 'I wonder, why would anyone be interested?'" This is modesty to the nth degree, but it would be a contemporary representation of Plath during her first pregnancy at a time she was writing the the majority of the poems that would start and fill and complete her first published volume of verse. Tons of people -- and not all just "peanut-crunchers" would be interested. The potrait remains missing so far as anyone knows. A wonderful article.
There are two reviews of books about Sylvia Plath to list here, as well:
Gill, Jo. Review of Representing Sylvia Plath edited by Sally Bayley and Tracy Brain. In Modern Philology 112:1, August 2014: 133-136.
Smith, Caroline J. Review of Sylvia Plath's Fiction: A Critical Study by Luke Ferretter. In Studies in the Novel 45:2. Summer 2013: 306-307.
All links accessed 8 October 2014.
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.