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Sylvia Plath's Excuses

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Sylvia Plath's Cambridge-era Prose: A Survey

"Sylvia Plath's Cambridge-era Prose: A Survey" is a talk I prepared for Emily Van Duyne's Sylvia Plath and Trans-Atlanticism Symposium held on 20 May 2022. Via Southampton where her ship the Queen Elizabeth docked, Sylvia Plath arrived in London on 20 September 1955. She left England, also at Southampton and also on the Queen Elizabeth , on 20 June 1957. That means Plath's first stint in Europe lasted 640 days. Her primary country was obviously England, but she traveled to and through France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and the principality of Monaco, where she lost $3 at a roulette table in Monte Carlo. In her first term at Newnham College, Plath did little creative writing, concentrating at the time on writing letters---she wrote at least 240 of them during those 640 days---and having experiences such as joining up with the Amateur Dramatics Club and much socializing, including vigorous dating. It was during these first months in Cambridge that she started writi

Sylvia Plath's Valentine from Elly

I meant to post this back in February but it slipped through the cracks.  On Monday, 17 February 1958, Sylvia Plath recorded in her journal about receiving in the mail a homemade Valentine from her friend Elinor Friedman Klein. Plath wrote: "then a black & white valentine from Elly with a photo-montage of lovers, of three men behind barbwire at a Concentration Camp clipped from the Times from a review which I read about tortures & black trains bearing victims to the furnace" (330). While it is not clear what the "photo-montage of lovers" might have been, that clipping of "three men behind barbwire at a Concentration Camp" came from the review "A Black Train Stuffed With Doom" by Frederic Morton about Jacob Presser's book Breaking Point (World Publishing). It appeared in the Book Review on 9 February 1958.  The etching was drawn by William Sharp, and appeared courtesy of the Weyhe Gallery. The etching was one of many of Sharp's u

Sylvia Plath Collections: Irene Worth papers at Boston University

Earlier this year I did a random Google search for "Sylvia Plath" and "Writer and his background". This was one of the final prose pieces Plath wrote which was published as "Ocean 1212-W". However Plath called her typescript "Landscape on Childhood" (which sold via Bonhams in 2019 ). This prose piece was the subject of intense research back circa 2008-2010 and was the subject of two papers I co-wrote, and later revised as two chapters in 2017's book These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath  ( Amazon ).  The results of the Google search led me to a collection that was kind of surprising: the Irene Worth Collection held by Boston University. If you search for Plath you see that in Box 12, Folder 14, there are two interesting items: 1) "The Writer and His Background," by Sylvia Plath, 9 p.  2) "Poems by Sylvia Plath," TS and holograph, 4 p.  Initially it was the typescript and holograph poems that excited me. H

These Ghostly Archives Turns Five

These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath was published in the UK five years ago today, 11 May 2017!!!!! Thank you to all who have purchased it, and particularly to those who have both purchased it and read it! If you have not done so, please consider buying the book  from Amazon.com ! Or,  buy it from Amazon.co.uk ! All proceeds from royalties will go towards the purchasing of ice cream.  The book can also be found for sale on eBay, ABE Books, and elsewhere. All links accessed 1 May 2022. If you benefited from this post or any content on the Sylvia Plath Info Blog, my website for Sylvia Plath ( A celebration, this is ), and @sylviaplathinfo on Twitter, then please consider sending me a tip via PayPal . Thank you for at least considering! All funds will be put towards my Sylvia Plath research.

Faber to reissue Sylvia Plath: Drawings in September

On 15 September 2022, Faber and Faber is reissuing a paperback edition of Sylvia Plath: Drawings . The description from Amazon.co.uk's website reads, "In 1956 Sylvia Plath wrote to her mother, Aurelia Plath: 'I feel I'm developing a kind of primitive style of my own which I am very fond of. Wait til you see. The Cambridge sketch was nothing compared to these.' "Sylvia Plath cited art as her deepest source of inspiration but, while her poetry is celebrated around the world, her drawings are little known. This volume brings together drawings from 1955 to 1957, the period she spent on a Fulbright scholarship from the US at Newnham College, Cambridge. During this time she married Ted Hughes and travelled with him to Paris and Spain. "First published as a catalogue for an exhibition at the Mayor Gallery, the tiny drawings in pen and ink are exquisitely observed. They include Parisian rooftops, trees and churches." Sylvia Plath: Drawings has been translat

Sylvia Plath Collections: Siv Arb

I am extremely grateful to Eva Stenskar for sharing the information with me presented in this blog post. Back in November 2021, Eva wrote to me about an article she read that mentioned two letters from Plath to Siv Arb. This was news! The article, " När Sylvia Plath kom till Sverige " by Anna-Klara Bojö, was published on 8 April 2021, on the Ord & Bild website.   The letters were dated 5 May 1962---just after Arb visited Court Green---and 21 July 1962, just as Plath's marriage was crumbling down. It appears to be a good article (such as is possible to trust the Google translation...for example, "Elm" in Swedish is "Almen" but through Google translate it displays as "General".) The 5 May 1962 letter was written on the same day Plath wrote to Judith Jones, thanking her belatedly for the first copy she saw of the Knopf edition of The Colossus . In the letter to Arb, Plath enclosed a few poems (no longer with the letter) and mentions by titl