13 August 2018

Sylvia Plath: Inside The Bell Jar


Fifty-five years after its first publication, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar has received a serious, respectful, and authoritative consideration in the form of Sylvia Plath: Inside The Bell Jar which features the first video interview by Frieda Hughes on her mother. And my, was she and it insightful, humble, humorous: just spectacular. The on camera reminiscences by Plath's friends: Janet Salter Rosenberg, Elinor Friedman Klein, Betsy Powley Wallingford, Laurie Glaser, Neva Nelson Sachar, Phil McCurdy, Perry Norton, and Melvin Woody were superb. Some of these friends appeared on camera, as well, for the first time ever. They offer authentic, personable, and emotional memories of their friend Sylvia Plath and what life was like in the 1950s and early 1960s. These were connected with commentary by Heather Clark, Karen V. Kukil, and Tristine Skyler.

Inside The Bell Jar was sensitivity produced. It has left me in tears (particularly Phil McCurdy and Betsy Wallingford at the end) both times I have seen it in the last 24 hours. There is very little criticize; however, there is one thing worthy mentioning in case it can be corrected. The excerpts of the letters read in the program were inconsistently identified. The one to Ann Davidow-Goodman was fully dated; the one to Aurelia Schober Plath, incompletely dated; and the letter to Eddie Cohen not dated at all.

Letter to Ann Davidow-Goodman, 18 February 1952

Letter to Aurelia Schober Plath, 13 June 1953

Letter to Eddie Cohen, 28 December 1953
It was nice they showed Neva Sachar's telegram from Mademoiselle, but I wonder why they did not show Plath's?

Telegram from Marybeth Little, Mademoiselle to Neva Nelson, 
6 May 1953

Telegram from Marybeth Little, Mademoiselle to Sylvia Plath,
6 May 1953

Plath's pseudonym, Victoria Lucas, was not mentioned at all; neither was an image of the first edition shown. These could have been mentioned during the segment when the reviews of the novel were discussed. Quite minor quibbles in an otherwise fine production.

The Bell Jarby Victoria Lucas,
Heinemann, 1963

Highest accolades to Yeti Media for the work done for this BBC Two documentary. The director, Teresa Griffiths and her crew of executive producers (Siân Price and Angus McQueen) and producers (Tim Kendall and Clive Flowers), consultant (Heather Clark), and all others deserve our praise for their work. Declan Smith provided archival research and he worked with me and a number of others in obtaining video, photograph and other material in the program. It was an honor to participate behind the scenes and particularly neat to recognize the pieces that either I supplied directly or with which I provided assistance in obtaining and am sincerely thankful to be listed in the credits.

The plaque at Wellesley High School installed  in November 2000
for the 50th anniversary of the class of 1950.
All links accessed 13 August 2018.

07 August 2018

Letters of Sylvia Plath Event in London



With the impending publication on 4 September in England of The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume II: 1956-1963 I was hopeful that events would pop up similar to those that took place for Volume I last year. Happily, an event is in the works for Tuesday, 23 October 2018 at the British Library featuring the book's co-editors (that's me, Peter K. Steinberg, and Karen V. Kukil) along with Heather Clark and Mark Ford.

More details should be available shortly as we are still finalizing things. But I just wanted to do a little blog post to put the information out there.

A reminder that the volume will be published in the US by HarperCollins on 30 October.

The book can be purchased in hardback or Kindle via Amazon UK, Amazon US, direct from the respective publisher, and other fine booksellers.

All links accessed 25 July 2018.

01 August 2018

David's Sylvia Plath Table

Two days ago, a piece written by poet, editor, and writer David Trinidad was published on the Poetry Foundation website. Entitled "Sylvia's Table", it recounts his rather exciting and unique experience with the Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes auction held by Bonhams in March. The story of how he came to acquire it is wonderful and I hope you all read it.

The table in the auction room.
Photograph ©Gail Crowther
The timing worked out brilliantly in the end as he received it just a few days prior to my arrival in Chicago for a talk at Columbia College, where David teaches. After checking into my hotel, walking around for a while and going over the final pages of the proof for the second volume of The Letters of Sylvia Plath I met David outside his building on S. Michigan Avenue and we drove to his place so I could see the table first hand.

Table with Plath books.
Photograph ©Peter K. Steinberg
He had it set up with Plath's Collected Poems and Ariel on top, along with the January 1963 issue of London Magazine, which published Plath's poems "The Applicant" and "Stopped Dead". We both like to imagine, I'm sure, that Plath's own copy of London Magazine rested on this very table in her living room in Fitzroy Road.

The base of the table.
Photograph ©Peter K. Steinberg
Seeing the table in person was a wonderful experience and set the few days I was in Chicago going on a strong Plathian note like a fat smartwatch.

Photograph of table from the auction house ©Gail Crowther and used with her permission. All other photographs ©Peter K. Steinberg.

All links accessed: 1 August 2018

20 July 2018

Sylvia Plath Collections: Letters to Melvin Woody


At almost the eleventh hour in working on Volume 1 of The Letters of Sylvia Plath (above) I received PDF's of the letters Plath wrote to Melvin Woody. There was a mad scramble to get the letters transcribed, proofed, annotated, and integrated into the volume before we reached the point of no returns (a.k.a. Indexing). But, they made it. And in my correspondence with Mr. Woody, he let it be known that he planned to give his original letters to Smith College. I got him in touch with Karen Kukil, and later in the year, Karen visited Mr. Woody in New Haven to officially acquire the originals for the collection at Smith College. They join other caches of letters Plath wrote to friends she made during her Smith College years (Ann Davidow-Goodman, Marcia Brown Stern, Elinor Friedman Klein, and Philip McCurdy).

This blog post is simply done to announce that the letters are now formally a part of the Sylvia Plath Collection at Smith and open to researchers. They are physically stored in box 16.1, folder 19.1.

There are 8 letters which date from 1951 to 1955:

22 June 1951, written from Swampscott, Mass.
24 March 1954, written either from Smith College or Wellesley, Mass.
5 May 1954, written from Smith College, Northampton, Mass.
7 May 1954, written from Smith College, Northampton, Mass.
circa 20 May 1954, written from Smith College, Northampton, Mass.
5 July 1954, written from Wellesley, Mass.
17 December 1954, written either from Smith College or Wellesley, Mass.
26 January 1955, written from Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

The June 1951 letter was something of a revelation to me as if I had known that he was in the Plath picture at that time I had forgotten it. In my emails with Mr. Woody he let me know that he hitchhiked up to Massachusetts that summer and that he was the inspiration for "Cal" in The Bell Jar; that that scene was inspired by that visit he made to Plath and Marcia Brown Stern in Swampscott.

Mr. Woody and Plath appear to have met for the first time slightly earlier than that summer during Plath's spring break from Smith College when Plath went with Marcia to her home in New Jersey (also visiting New York City). He appears on her calendar on 31 March 1951 as part of a double-date: Mel and Marty, Ted and Me. Not sure who Ted is. It's obviously not that Ted.

Naturally the letters are published, but the originals provide information missing from their printed siblings. At least I think seeing Plath's original handwriting and typewriting offers information, or rather, intimacy, that is unfortunately lacking in a printed book. The December 1954 letter, for example, is in a Christmas card designed by Rosalind Welcher, an artist whom Plath certainly appears to have liked as a number of letters were sent in Welcher's cards. Here is a copy of the card (edited to obscure Plath's handwriting).



I am very grateful that Mr. Woody answered my email query about the letters and believe that they add quite significantly both to The Letters of Sylvia Plath and the Sylvia Plath collection at Smith.

07 July 2018

A Book Belonging to Sylvia Plath

Lot 339 at the recent-ish Bonhams sale of the Property of Frieda Hughes was a lot that I was interested in and bid on. Unsuccessfully. When I found out that Christian White of Modern First Editions was the winner I looked forward to seeing what entire lot of 21 items included.

The biggest reason this lot interested me was the first book listed in the catalogue description:
"JENKINS (ALAN C.) White Horse and Black Bulls, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY TO SYLVIA PLATH, inscribed "For Sylvia with every good wish and in the hope that you will stay in Devonshire. Alan" on the half-title, with later ownership inscription of Frieda Hughes, 1960."
Jenkins was the step father of Plath's autumn 1962 live-in nurse Susan O'Neill-Roe Booth and who herself was the dedicatee of the poem "Cut". Susan's mother was Nancy Jenkins, who was secretary of the local bee keepers. They lived at a house called "Pear Trees" in Belstone, a village close to Corscombe, where Plath went horseback riding on a horse called Ariel. On one such meeting-up, before she moved to London, Plath and Jenkins took a walk and had plans in place for more when she returned to Court Green in the spring.

'Pear Trees' Belstone

'Pear Trees' Belstone

The church in Belstone
Belstone
Anyway, Plath visited the Jenkins' at their "Pear Trees" house on 17 November 1962 which was a busy day as she had a riding lesson that morning, welcomed Clarissa Roche that evening, and her poem "Berck-Plage" was aired on the BBC that evening. And according to her Letts Royal Office Diary tablet held by Smith College, she hosted Nancy and Alan on Saturday 24 November 1962 at Court Green, serving chicken and macaroni.

A rather touching and heartbreaking story is related in an unpublished biography/memoir by Clarissa Roche...In London on Sunday, 10 February 1963, and delayed to the point of having to stay the night in London, Alan Jenkins set off walking toward Fitzroy Road. However, he had second thoughts and decided not to just turn up, unexpectedly, at 23 Fitzroy Road. He was afraid of disturbing Plath writing or entertaining. Roche writes that Jenkins thought Plath would soon enough be back in Devon and they would go, as planned, on country hikes. In fact, this prospect led Jenkins to purchase a new pair of hiking shoes. When it was learned that Plath died, those shoes he bought remained unused and were stored in the house next to the white smock Nancy Jenkins lent to Plath at the first bee meeting (see "The Bee Meeting"). Jenkins died in 1996, out on a walk wearing his old, well-worn shoes.

Dr. White expanded the description of the book from the Bonhams catalogue. White writes:
Alan C Jenkins, White Horses and Black Bulls, 1960, Blackie. Inscribed by the Devon author to Sylvia Plath: "For Sylvia with every good wish and in the hope that you will stay in Devonshire. Alan." Jenkins was a writer and editor who lived for many years at Belstone about 3 miles from Plath and Hughes' home in North Tawton. The book is in good condition only, having been read and re-read during its time in the ownership of Plath and Ted Hughes and subsequently Frieda Hughes – clearly a family favourite. Jenkins' encouraging inscription from Jenkins to the newly arrived Sylvia Plath speaks very movingly of her brief residence in Devon that concluded with her separation from Ted Hughes and ultimately fatal return to London.





Books inscribed to Plath are exceedingly rare and given this fact it is rather meaningful to own this one. Naturally those books personally inscribed to Plath by Ted Hughes take the cake for their significance. However this was oozes sincerity in an entirely different way than Hughes' books to Plath, or even the copy of Marianne Moore's Collected Poems (held by Smith) signed and inscribed by Moore at the Glascock Poetry competition in April 1955.

It is simply unknown if Plath read this book but it is clear that it has been read and cherished. I want to believe Plath did read it and she likely could have done so in an hour or two. I like to believe, as well, that the ring-stain on the cloth is from Plath's tea mug, but this is probably fantasy. Frieda's subsequent ownership inscription adds a touching piece of history to the volume. Her own well-documented interest in animals may have been inspired, in part, from reading this book in the 1960s or early 1970s. Possibly Nicholas Hughes read this volume, or had it read to him, as well.

I imagine Jenkins handing this book to Plath at their last meeting before she departed North Tawton for London; given out of kindness and sincere hope that Plath would return in the spring.

All links accessed 15 May 2018.

01 July 2018

Sylvia Plath at Auction

Dominic Winter, an auction house in England, recently featured a few Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes lots in their 21 June 2018 sale. In each instance the lot sold for more than the high estimate.

Lot 838 was a lot of five Ted Hughes books and one Plath limited edition (Child). This sold for £220.

Lot 866 was a very lovely first edition copy of Ariel (Faber) which sold for £500.

Lot 867 was an uncorrected proof of The Colossus (Heinemann) which from the image appears to have been a stunning copy. This sold for £1,950.

Lot 868 saw a nice looking first edition copy with a closed tear on the front of the dust jacket of Ariel (Faber) sell for £420.

On the previous day, 20 June 2018, Dominic Winter sold a 1967 copy of Plath's The Colossus as part of a general lot which also featured J. D Salinger. Lot 535 sold for £130.

It might be hard to think that any auction could ever possibly top the Bonhams event early this year selling the Property of Frieda Hughes. More than likely, we'll see smaller sales. For example, recently Nate D. Sanders flipped two lots: Plath's Pulitzer Prize and her Massachusetts driver's license (part of the lot that featured six additional IDs and a wallet).



Both items failed to sell with zero bid, which indicates not a lack of interest, I suspect, but that the bidding prices were unreasonable.


In the current summer issue of Fine Books & Collections, when you turn over the front cover you are confronted with Sylvia Plath's unmistakable handwriting. I know when I turned the cover I was completely arrested by it. The sample comes from a newly made-known letter. The six-page letter from Sylvia Plath to Katharine Benion was written on 3 March 1951. It will appear at auction in Bonhams New York on 6 December 2018. Estimates are $7,000 to $10,000. More information will be available later on in the year and I am already anxious about that. I suspected the letter existed as there is the incoming letter from Katharine Benion to Sylvia Plath held in Plath mss II at the the Lilly Library. Getting confirmation of the document is reassuring, but also frustrating as I am confident this would have been a fantastic letter to have in the book. It is my hope we can have a copy of it for later editions of the book.

Also in the summer issue of Fine Books & Collections is a wonderful article by Ian McKay on page 21 which is a page-long summary of the big Frieda Hughes. Bonhams sale in March. The article focuses on The Bell Jar but does make reference to several other lots. As of today I have tracked 56 lots though the ones that contained multiple items which were purchased by booksellers are now being dispersed far and wide.

All links accessed 23 June 2018.

23 June 2018

Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Book Publications

We are half way through the year just about and perhaps this blog post should have come earlier. However, with the recent publication of an important new book about Ted Hughes, let us take a look at the scheduled publications this year...

Ted Hughes in Context, edited by Terry Gifford, was published recently on 21 June 2018 by Cambridge University Press.

This collection of essays represents some of the most up-to-date explorations into Ted Hughes's work and life by leading Hughes scholars. Some names are familiar, some are new, which is exciting. It is an expensive volume, but one that I feel will be worth every single penny.

It appears as though Faber is reissuing a bunch of books this autumn and winter by Ted Hughes too including How the Whale Became and Other Tales and The Dreamfighter and Other Creation Tales on 4 October and Collected Animal Poems (four volumes) and Season Songs on 3 January 2019.

In the Sylvia Plath world, you may be living under the stones in Childs Park if you did not know that The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 2: 1956-1963, edited by Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil was being published on 6 September 2018 by Faber and 30 October 2018 by HarperCollins.



Looking ahead, it seems that Sylvia Plath Poems Chosen by Carol Ann Duffy is being reissued by Faber on 7 March 2019.

Also, we are anxious for a publication date of Heather Clark's forthcoming Plath biography and there will be a Sylvia Plath in Context volume, too, being edited by Tracy Brain. Not sure of a publication date yet but hopefully in 2019.

All links accessed 20 June 2018.

16 June 2018

Ted Hughes scrapbook at Emory

As I did last year with Sylvia Plath's High School and Smith College scrapbooks, I wanted to get a catalog of the items in Ted Hughes' publications scrapbook help at Emory University. The scrapbook was started and probably largely put together by Plath; however there are a few post-Plath entries here so it is clearly something Hughes, his sister, or possibly Assia Wevill continued for a short while.

I am grateful to the staff at the Rose Library at Emory for their assistance with this project, as well as to Amy S. Li, recommended to me by Amanda Golden, for her assistance as well.

The original scrapbook is very fragile and closed for researcher use, understandably. However, there are two sets of photocopies that are available. I worked with two sets of photographs of the scrapbook, one labelled "chronological" and the other as "facing pages". I have not (yet!) visited Emory but desperately want to so as such I feel slightly less connected to this scrapbook. However, I hope the information is as correct and accurate as possible given these limitations. So the page numbers here reflect the order of those photographs and not necessarily that of the original scrapbook.

I have tried to find as much information as I could for each item in the scrapbook. Should any information be incorrect please do not hesitate to contact me so that we can fix it.


Page 1
Letter: Henry Rago (Poetry) to Ted Hughes, 1 June 1956
Clipping: TH contributor note, Poetry (August 1956): 345
Letter: Notice of acceptance, Poetry, 1 June 1956

Page 2
Clipping: Poetry (cover), August 1956
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Bawdry Embraced", Poetry (August 1956): 295-7

Page 3
Letter: M.L. Rosenthal (The Nation) to Ted Hughes, 3 July 1956
Letter: M.L. Rosenthal (The Nation) to Ted Hughes, 17 October 1956
Clipping: The Nation, Date and volume number
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Hag", The Nation (18 August 1956): 144

Page 4
Clipping: The Nation (cover), 10 November 1956
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Wind", The Nation (10 November 1956): 408

Page 5
Letter: Robert Hatch (The Nation) to Ted Hughes, 27 November 1956
Clipping: Table of Contents, The Nation, 22 December 1956
Payment stub: The Nation, "Roarers in a Ring", $15.00
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Roarers in a Ring", The Nation (22 December 1956): 543

Page 6
Clipping: Poetry (cover), February 1957
Letter: Henry Rago (Poetry) to Ted Hughes 2 November 1956
Clipping: TH contributor note, Poetry (February 1957): 331
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Drowned Woman", Poetry (February 1957): 296-7

Page 7
Clipping: The Atlantic (cover) February 1957
Letter: Phoebe Lou Adams to Ted Hughes, 2 November 1956
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Hawk in the Storm", The Atlantic (February 1957): 53

Page 8
Clipping: "The Poet's Voice", Radio Times (14 April 1957): 33
Payment invoice: BBC, "The Martyrdom of Bishop Farrar", 15.15.2
Payment stub: BBC, "The Martyrdom of Bishop Farrar", 15.15.2
Payment stub: BBC, earning income year ending 5 April 1957

Page 9
Letter: Daniel Curley (Accent) to Ted Hughes, 2 March 1957
Letter: Daniel Curley (Accent) to Ted Hughes, 1 April 1957

Page 10
Clipping: Accent (cover), Spring 1957
Clipping: TH contributor note, Accent (Spring 1957)
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Little Boys and the Seasons" and "Billet-Doux", Accent (Spring 1957): 82-3

Page 11
Clipping: Spectator (cover), 19 July 1957
Letter: Anthony Hartley (The Spectator) to Ted Hughes, undated
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Meeting", The Spectator, 19 July 1957: 111
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Parting", The Spectator, 2 August 1957: 116
Letter: Anthony Hartley (The Spectator) to Ted Hughes, 2 [August 1957?] (date obscured)

Page 12
Letter: John Lehmann (London Magazine) to Ted Hughes, 12 April 1957
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Famous Poet" (galley proof)
Letter: James Michie (London Magazine) to Ted Hughes, 15 July 1957

Page 13
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Casualty" and "The Ancient Heroes and the Pilot", Poetry (August 1957): 279-80
Clipping: Poetry (cover), August 1957
Clipping: TH contributor note, Poetry (August 1957): 333
Letter: Henry Rago (Poetry) to Ted Hughes, 15 March 1957

Page 14
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Ancient Heroes and the Pilot", "The Jaguar", and "The Martyrdom of Bishop Ferrar", Poetry (August 1957): 281-3
Clipping: Poetry (cover), August 1957

Page 15
Clipping: The Nation (cover), 20 July 1957
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Incompatibilities", The Nation (20 July 1957): 34
Clipping: Table of Contents, The Nation (cover), 20 July 1957
Letter: M.L. Rosenthal (The Nation) to Ted Hughes (18 May 1957)

Page 16
Telegram: John Bleibtreu to Ted Hughes, 22 February 1957
Telegram: Elizabeth Lawrence to Ted Hughes, 17 September 1957

Page 17
Letter: John Bleibtreu to Ted Hughes, 11 March 1957, (page 1)

Page 18
Letter: John Bleibtreu to Ted Hughes, 11 March 1957, (page 2)

Page 19
Letter: Elizabeth Lawrence (Harper & Brothers) to Ted Hughes, 15 March 1957

Page 20
Letter: Charles Monteith (Faber) to Ted Hughes, 9 May 1957
Page 21
Telegram: Charles Monteith (Faber) to Ted Hughes, 29 June 1957
Letter: T.L. Marks (Guinness Poetry Award) to Ted Hughes, 1 September 1958

Page 22
Clipping: TH contributor note, Harper's (August 1957)
Letter: Russell Lynes (Harper's to Ted Hughes, 17 May 1957
Clipping: Table of Contents, Harper's (August 1957)
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Dove-Breeder", Harper's (August 1957): 65

Page 23
Letter: Howard Moss (The New Yorker) to Frances Lindley, 17 July 1957
Payment stub: The New Yorker, undated, $63

Page 24
Letter: Howard Moss (The New Yorker) to Ted Hughes, 30 July 1957
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Thought-Fox", The New Yorker (31 August 1957): 28
Clipping: The New Yorker (cover), 31 August 1957

Page 25
Clipping: Masthead, The Cape Codder, 15 August 1957
Clipping: "British Poet Visiting Eastham", The Cape Codder (15 August 1957)
Clipping: Ted Hughes, The Hawk in the Rain, Harper & Brothers, catalog
Clipping: New Books Published by Faber & Faber Autumn-Winter 1957-1958 (cover)
Clipping: Ted Hughes, The Hawk in the Rain, Faber & Faber, catalog

Page 26
Clipping: Masthead, The Cape Codder, 15 August 1957
Clipping: The Poetry Calendar of Events, October 1957, 92nd Street Y
Clipping: "Success of Heptonstall Poet", Yorkshire Post [? Unknown Newspaper], circa 1957
Letter: Anthony Hartley (The Spectator) to Ted Hughes, 15 August 1957
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Secretary", The Spectator, 30 August 1957: 279
Letter: The Spectator, complimentary slip, undated

Page 27
Clipping: The Hawk in the Rain, dust jacket flap
Clipping: "Achievement of Local Poet", Hebden Bridge Times (8 November 1957)
Clipping: "Mexborough Poet Acclaimed in U.S.A.", South Yorkshire Times (21 September 1957)
Clipping: "We See by the Papers", Smith Alumnae Quarterly (Fall 1957): 22; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 28
Clipping: The Hawk in the Rain (cover), Harper & Brothers
Clipping: "Prize winning poems", [Times?] Book Review (22 September 1957): 12
Clipping: "Local poet with more than local stature", Halifax Daily Courier & Guardian, 6 December 1957; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 29
Clipping: Austin Clarke, "The Western Word", The Irish Times (14 September 1957)
Clipping: Robin Skelton, "Current Verses", Manchester Guardian (4 October 1957)
Clipping: E.E., "Three Modern Poets", Oxford Times (20 September 1957)
Clipping: Edwin Muir, "Kinds of Poetry", The New Statesman (28 September 1957): 391-2 annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 30
Clipping: Kenneth Young, "Poets Telling Tales", The Daily Telegraph (6 October 1957)
Clipping: Artemesia Bryson, "Poetry Marked by Power, Sensibility", Fort Worth Star-Telegram (6 October 1957): 4
Clipping: [Patric Dickinson], "Poems of Substance", Times Literary Substance (18 October 1957): 626
Clipping: "Yuletide Checklist", Saturday Review (7 December 1957): 39; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 31
Clipping: W. S. Merwin, "Something of His Own to Say", New York Times Book Review (6 October 1957): 43; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Harry M. Meacham, "Two Poetry Volumes", Richmond News Leader (24 October 1957)
Clipping: A. Alvarez, "Tough Young Poet", The Observer (6 October 1957): 12; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Irving H. Bucher, "Praise For A New Poet", Baltimore Sun (6 October 1957): FE6

Page 32:
Clipping: John Press, "A Poet Arrives", The Sunday Times (3 November 1957): 7
Clipping: Graham Hough, "Landmarks and Turbulences", Encounter (November 1957): 83-7; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Picture of Ted Hughes, Saturday Review (9 November 1957): 42
Clipping: Philip Booth, "From a Violent World", Saturday Review (9 November 1957): 43; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Selden Rodman, "Moments in the West Indies" Saturday Review (9 November 1957): 44 ; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 33
Letter: Louis F. Haynis (Harper & Brothers) to Ted Hughes, 2 October 1957
Clipping:Judith Spink, "Poetry", The Isis (23 October 1957)
Clipping: J. C. Hall, "Drunk with Hopkins", Books and Bookmen (November 1957)

Page 34
Clipping: Vernon Watkins (ed.), Landmarks and Voyages (Christmas 1957): prints Ted Hughes, "Everyman's Odyssey"
Clipping: John Heath-Stubbs, "New Poetry", Time and Tide (19 October 1957)
Clipping: Charles Higham, "Poetic Styles", The Sydney Morning Herald (9 November 1957)

Page 35
Clipping: Robert Conquest, "Intercontinental Missiles", The Spectator (11 October 1957)
Clipping: G. J. Warnock, "Book Reviews", Oxford Magazine (22 May 1958)
Clipping: "Third Programme" [review by Elizabeth Jennings] (13 December 1957)
Clipping: Eric Gillett, [Book Review], The National and English Review (January 1958)
Clipping: Edwin Muir, "Books of the Year", The Observer (22 December 1957)
Clipping: Sir Ifor Evans, "Poets Old & New", Birmingham Post (26 November 1957)

Page 36
Clipping: Edwin Morgan, "Poetic Temptations: Varieties of Deliverance", Glasgow Herald (5 December 1957)
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "November", [unidentified newspaper], 3 January 1958
Clipping: "Worthwhile Reading", American Weave: A Poetic Quarterly (Autumn 1957)
Clipping: "The Poetry Society of Australia", Prism (February 1958)
Clipping: "London Letter", Prism (February 1958)

Page 37
Clipping: The Bookman Annual (Christmas 1957): 52
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Quest", The Grapevine 5 (February 1958): 9
Clipping: "Descend, Ye Nine! Descent and Sing", The Times (23 January 1958): 13
Clipping: Rosaleen McCoola, "Ted Hughes", The Grapevine 5, (February 1958)
Clipping: "Great Praises", The Listener (23 January 1958): 169-70

Page 38
Clipping: "Comment", Prism (January 1958):
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Crow Hill", The New Statesman (15 March 1958): 352
Letter: Janet Adam Smith (The New Statesman) to Ted Hughes, 5 February 1958

Page 39
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Thrushes", Encounter (March 1958):
Letter: Stephen Spender (Encounter) to Ted Hughes, date illegible
Payment stub: Harvard University, Morris Gray Lecture, 2 April 1958, $100.00
Clipping: "Honours and Distinctions", Pembroke College Cambridge Society: Annual Gazette (1957/8?)
Clipping: "Ted Hughes to Read Poetry at Harvard", The Boston Sunday Herald (30 March 1958): 44

Page 40
Clipping: The New Yorker (cover), 19 April 1958
Clipping: "Verse", The New Yorker (19 April 1958): 152
Broadside: "Ted Hughes" [poetry reading], 11 April 1958

Page 41
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Good Life", "Things Present", "Witches", published as ‘Four Poems’, Sewanee Review (Spring 1958): 256-7
Payment stub: The Sewanee Review, $38

Page 42
Clipping: (cont.) Ted Hughes, "Witches", and "Everyman’s Odyssey", published as ‘Four Poems’, Sewanee Review (Spring 1958): 257-8
Clipping: Sewanee Review (cover), Spring 1958
Clipping: Sewanee Review (cover), Spring 1958; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: James Dickey, "In the Presence of Anthologies", Sewanee Review (Spring 1958): 294-314; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 43
Clipping: "Three Modern Poets", Church Times (28 March 1958)
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Witches", New Statesman (9 August 1958): 173; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Missing
Clipping: Padraic Fallon, The Dublin Review; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 44
Clipping: The Beloit Poetry Review (24 January 1958)
Clipping: William Kean Seymour, "To Note & Observe", Poetry Review (January 1958) ; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 45
Clipping: "Third Programme", Radio Times (22 January 1958): 35
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Billy Hook and the Three Souvenirs, Jack and Jill (July 1958): 26
Clipping: "Of Cats" (galley proof), The New Statesman (25 October 1958); annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Of Cats", Harper's (June 1958): 30

Page 46
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Billy Hook and the Three Souvenirs, Jack and Jill (July 1958): 27
Clipping: "Work by a Local Poet to be given on B.B.C. programme" [circa 21-26 August 1958]
Clipping: "Poetry Reading" [circa 21-26 August 1958]
Clipping: "Today: Network Three" [circa 27 August 1958]
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Relic", Harper's (November 1958): 36
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Retired Colonel", The Spectator (22 August 1958): 260; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 47
Letter: Eric W. White (Poetry Book Society) to Ted Hughes, 3 July 1957
Clipping: "Poetry", The Bookseller (21 September 1957)
Telegram: T.L. Marks (Guinness Poetry Award) to Ted Hughes, 9 September 1958

Page 48
Telegram: Charles Monteith (Faber) to Ted Hughes, 28 October 1958
Clipping: Lewis Nichols, "In and Out of Books", The New York Times Book Review (9 November 1958); annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: "Ted Hughes Wins Poetry Prize", The New York Times (23 October 1958)
Clipping: "Prize Winner", Hebden Bridge Times
Clipping: "The Top Poet", Daily Express ()
Clipping: "Calder Valley born poet wins 300 award", ()
Clipping: "Poet's 300 prize", Yorkshire Post ()
Clipping: "Boston Poet Wins Award In Britain", (###). SP mentioned in article: "Mr. Hughes resides at 9 Willow st., Beacon Hill, with his American wife, poetess Sylvia Plath..."

Page 49
Letter: T.S. Eliot (Faber) to Ted Hughes, 30 October 1958
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Historian", The Nation (15 November 1958): 364; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Things Present", The Spectator (3 October 1958): 454; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 50
Telegram: Terence Kilmartin (The Observer) to Ted Hughes, 13 November 1958
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Thrushes", The Observer (23 November 1957): 7
Clipping: "Six Young Poets" [photograph of Ted Hughes], Books and Bookmen (June 1958)
Clipping: Philip Henderson, "The Spoken Word: A New Poet and a Dead Dog", The Listener (4 September 1958): 356; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: "Dialer's Guide Tonight", Christian Science Monitor (25 November 1958); annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 51
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "A Woman Unconscious", "Cat and Mouse", and "To Paint a Water-Lily", Poetry (August 1959): 296-7; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Historian", Encounter (July 1959): 43; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Wilfred Owen's Photographs", The Spectator (2 January 1959): 22; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 52
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "To Paint a Water-Lily" and "Lupercalia", Poetry (August 1959): 298-300
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Crow Hill", Paris Review (Summer 1959): 71; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 53
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Thrushes", "The Bull Moses", "The Voyage", Audience (Summer 1959): 55-7; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Bullfrog", The New Yorker (8 August 1959): 26; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 54
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Nicholas Ferrer", Audience (Summer 1959): 58–9; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Relic", Encounter (September 1959): 32; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Sunstroke", The Observer (17 May 1959): 21; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 55
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Pike", Audience (Summer 1959): 60-1; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Crag Jack's Apostasy" and "The Good Life", The Spectator (4 July 1958): 19; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Payment stub: Boston University, 5 March 1959, $35

Page 56
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Dick Straightup", Northern Broadsheet (Summer 1959); annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: "45 Guggenheim Winners Here", The Boston Herald (20 April 1959)
Payment Stub: Smith College, 8 April 1959, $50

Page 57
Ted Hughes, "Hawk Roosting", "Strawberry Hill", and "November", Critical Quarterly (Summer 1959): 124-5; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Payment stub: The New Yorker, 23 October 1957, $46
Payment stub: The New Yorker, 7 January 1958, $34

Page 58
Payment stub: The New Yorker, 3 November 1958, $63
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Groom's Dream" and "Constancy", London Magazine (August 1958): 17-18; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Roosting Hawk", Grecourt Review (May 1959): 235; annotated by Sylvia Plath

Page 59
Payment stub: Harper's, undated, $200
Letter: Katherine G. Jackson (Harper's) to Ted Hughes, 30 June 1959
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "February", London Magazine (April 1959): 47; annotated by Sylvia Plath
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Voyage, London Magazine (April 1959): 48(?)

Page 60
Clipping: "Three Speakers in Sloane Square", The Sunday Times (14 July 1963): 24
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "The Poetry of Keith Douglas", Critical Quarterly (Spring 1963):43
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "It was like this", The Guardian (8 February 1963): 8

Page 61
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Is Poetry Your Hobby?", The New Statesman (9 August 1963): 172
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Gulls Aloft", Christian Science Monitor (12 December 1959): 12
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Snails", Christian Science Monitor (15 December 1959): 8; annotated by Aurelia Schober Plath
Clipping: "Ted Hughes" (prints "Lupercalia"), [Neue Zurcher Zeitung], 21 May 1961

Page 62
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Bowled Over", New Statesman (28 September 1962): 406
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "A fable", Mademoiselle (March 1961): 204, 206
Clipping: "Ted Hughes", [photograph], Harper's Bazaar (October? 1961)
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Fishing at Dawn", New Statesman (26 May 1961): 838
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Flanders", The Spectator (26 May 1961): 768

Page 63
Clipping: "Hawthornden Prize Winner at Mexborough Speech Day", South Yorkshire
Times
(22 July 1961); prints photograph of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
Clipping: "Five Ton Phantom", New Statesman (2 June 1961): 887

Page 64
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "Last Lines", "Sugar-Loaf", "Gog", "Wino", and "Toll of Aid Raids", The Observer (16 April 1961): 31 (missing? "Flanders, 1960")
Clipping: "In the Picture", The Observer (16 April 1961): 31

Page 65
Clipping: Ted Hughes, "England’s Toughest Community", The Nation (2 July 1960): 14; a review of Clancy Sigal, Weekend in Dinlock (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960).

Page 66
Blank

Page 67
Clipping: "Poetry Readings", The Guardian (18 July 1961): 8 (misdated on page in an unidentified hand)

Page 68
Clipping: Philip Toynbee, "From Virgil to Kingsley Amis", The Observer (22 April 1962): 20

All links accessed 18 March 2018.

11 June 2018

The Covers for The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 2: 1956-1963

This morning I noticed on Amazon.co.uk that the Faber & Faber cover for The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 2: 1956-1963 was displaying. So, I guess that means it is alright to show it here and elsewhere and let you all start thinking about it, discussing it, offering opinions, and everything else we are free to do with the information.

So, here are the Faber and HarperCollins covers side by side.


And for a reminder, here are the covers for the first volume.



All links accessed: 11 June 2018

03 June 2018

The Curious History of Sylvia Plath's "Mad Girl's Love Song"

Sylvia Plath wrote her most famous villanelle on 21 February 1953 about Myron "Mike" Lotz, of Yale, whom she met over the Thanksgiving holiday in November 1952. I suspect many of us have been in that position before about a love interest; and in fact maybe some of you feel this degree of beautifully painful longing waiting for the next exciting Sylvia Plath Info Blog post? Right…

Anyway, Plath sent the poem off to The New Yorker and Harper's. A typescript copy of "Mad Girl’s Love Song" held by Lilly Library, probably sent by Plath to her mother in her letter dated the same day of composition, includes the following note typed at the top: "this one had the honor of being inspired by one myron lotz…" (Letters of Sylvia Plath, 567).

The poem has quite an interesting publication history. "Mad Girl's Love Song" was first published in the Smith Review (Spring 1953). It then appeared in the August 1953 issue of Mademoiselle.



Mademoiselle authorized "Mad Girl's Love Song" to be reprinted in at least three editions of the Boston Evening American which was then covering Plath's disappearance during her first suicide attempt. It accompanied articles with some lurid headlines. First in "Police, Kin Fear Smith Girl Suicide" (Final Edition), and then in two articles from later editions with headlines "Smith Girl in Coma At Own Home" ((Sports Charts Entries Edition) and (Sports Entries Results Edition). You can see the 256 articles on Plath suicide attempt that I have found here.

After several years off, Plath saw "Mad Girl's Love Song" published along with "Soliloquy of the Solipsist" in Granta, 4 May 1957. In a letter home written on 22 October 1956, Plath called Granta, "the 'new yorker' of Cambridge undergraduate life" (Letters of Sylvia Plath, 1322).



A decade later, after Plath's death, the Estate of Sylvia Plath allowed "Mad Girl's Love Song" to be published in the Harvard Advocate, May 1967. This appearance featured a number of other other poems Plath wrote as an undergraduate at Smith: "Danse Macabre", "Admonition" [from "Trio of Love Songs"], "Doomsday", "Dialogue en Route", and "Circus in Three Rings".


In 1971 it was printed twice. It appeared in Lois Ames' "Afterword" in the American edition of The Bell Jar and in the limited edition Crystal Gazer and Other Poems. Crystal Gazer includes poems written over a ten year period from 1952 to 1962.


After this: Nothing. The poem may have appeared in some anthologies but this is a rabbit hole down which I have no intention to go. "Mad Girl's Love Song" was not included in Plath's Pulitzer Prize winning Collected Poems, either as poem in the "Juvenilia" section or even listed as a poem she wrote in the "Uncollected Juvenilia: A complete list of poems composed before 1956" in the Index; which is thus hardly "complete". Though to be honest this is one of many pre-1956 omissions.

All links accessed 24 December 2017.
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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.

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