30 April 2007

Plath Symposium Schedule (as of 30 April 2007)

This schedule is valid no longer.

UPDATED: Plath Symposium information

The Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium at Oxford, UK

The Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium, to be held at Oxford from October 25-29, 2007, commemorates the 75th birthday of this influential American writer with a literary conference and multi-disciplinary art programs. The event is sponsored by Oxford's Rothermere American Institute and English Faculty, and Indiana University's Department of English and Office of the Chancellor, which hosted the Sylvia Plath 70th Year Symposium (www.iub.edu/~plath70), and now extends the 2002 interdisciplinary events to include new art forms. Co-directed by Sally Bayley of Oxford and Visiting Scholar Kathleen Connors of Indiana University, the project brings together renowned international scholars, biographers and students, as well as poets, musicians, actors, and visual artists who share an interest in the works of Plath.

The central organizing theme of the Symposium is Sylvia Plath’s artistic “process and product,” a concentration that bypasses what has become a common focus on her personal tragedy. Yet in recognizing Plath’s iconic status over the last four decades, as a figure of controversy as well as inspiration, both scholarly and popular topics on the artist’s personal life and works will be addressed. The inclusion of popular musicians and actors for Plath's birthday performance on the evening of Saturday, October 27, at St. James Church in London's Piccadilly neighborhood, highlights Plath's larger public appeal and breadth of audience—including those who have acknowledged positive influence from the life and works of Sylvia Plath. Tori Amos and Alanis Morisette, two major poet/musicians, are the primary music acts being pursued for this major celebration, open to the public. Actors with special interests in Plath will also be pursued for performances or poetry readings. Preceeding the concert, a cocktail party sponsored by Plath scholar and writer Diane Middlebrook will take place in London for Symposium speakers, artists and special guests.

Fifteen renowned Plath scholars will lead the literary conference as featured speakers (www.plathsymposium2007.org), with 60 delegates giving paper topics in panel discussions, and numerous artists discussing their work in various settings. Among the first responses to the Call for Papers, in fact, are scholars from Iran, Tunisia, Norway, Macedonia, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Australia and Singapore, confirming the truly international scope of Plath studies. Approximately twenty featured artists—many well-known in the UK and US —will be showcasing their talents, representing the visual and performing arts. The Oxford Playhouse performance on the evening of Sunday, October 28 includes a reading of Plath's radio play “Three Women” at the Oxford Playhouse, performed by British actors Lynne Farleigh, Mary Nighy and Diana Quick which Phyllida Lloyd, Visiting Cameron Mackintosh Professor, Oxford University, has agreed to direct; Elisabeth Gray's short play; actor Rose Heiney's cabaret piece based on Plath's famous “Lady Lazarus” poem; opera singer Laura Mayhew's commissioned piece with Julian Drake performing a work on piano by composer Will May; Plath's "Bee Sequence" poems will be read with photo slide show of works by Adele Goodine; and Clive James, poet, journalist, essayist and broadcaster, will be writing a poem for the Symposium, as will Catherine Bowman, Director of Creative Writing at Indiana University.

Along with fine art prints by Cassandra Slone, Adele Goodine and other guest artists used to promote events, visual art offerings will include fiber artist Ann Dingsdale's series of textile visual biographies to commemorate aspects of Plath’s life, and bookmaker Enid Mark will have her mutli-medium book About Sylvia and other hand-made productions exhibited. Two films based on Plath's art by the late British filmmaker Sandra Lahire will be shown, along with a commissioned piece of animation by professional animator Suzie Hanna with sound designer Tom Simmons, will be shown at the Oxford Playhouse on Friday, October 26. A special Youth Panel will allow high school and undergraduate students to present their literary work, and student interns from Indiana, Pennsylvania and Oxford Universities will assist in all stages of planning and production. The Symposium will also be documented as a pilot model for regional, national and international collaborations on broad-reaching pedagogy and interdisciplinary initiatives. Featured speakers will be videotaped for pedagogy purposes.

Symposium Co-director Kathleen Connors, Department of English, Indiana University kdconnor@indiana.edu (812) 339-2704

28 April 2007

Anticipated 2007 Sylvia Plath publications

The following is a list of anticipated publications in 2007 about Plath. This list will be revised and updated in new posts as soon as information is available. It appears to be an active year of Plath scholarship; let's hope that the essays and longer works contribute new ideas and perspectives on Plath's writing and life.

  • The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath. Edited by Anita Helle.
    Published by University of Michigan Press, forthcoming.

  • Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath. By Stephanie Hemphill.
    Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, 13 March 2007.

  • Sylvia Plath (Bloom's Modern Critical Views). Edited by Harold Bloom.
    Published by Chelsea House, 30 March 2007.

  • Sylvia Plath's Poetry (Reader's Guides). By Linda Wagner-Martin.
    Published by Continuum International Publishing Group, 8 May 2007.

  • Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual. Edited by Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley.
    Published by Oxford University Press, Fall 2007.

The Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium

The second Sylvia Plath Symposium will be held at the University of Oxford from 25-29 October, 2007. Organized by Dr. Sally Bayley and Kathleen Connors, of Oxford and Indiana University, respectively, the Oxford event follows the successful 2002 symposium and 'Eye Rhymes' exhibition. Featured speakers include A. Alvarez, Steven Gould Axelrod, Tracy Brain, Christina Britzolakis, Lynda K. Bundtzen, Langdon Hammer, Anita Helle, Tim Kendall, Karen V. Kukil, Richard Larschan, Diane Middlebrook, Robin Peel, Anne Stevenson with Dr. Martin Schäetzle, and Linda Wagner-Martin.

The Call for Papers is open until 15 May, 2007 with notification and booking commencing the following month.

For more information, visit the web site at www.plathsymposium2007.org or check here for more updates.

To coincide, Oxford University Press will release Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual, a 320 page monograph with 32 pages of color plates and 34 of black and white half tones. Priced at only £25.00, it promises to be an excellent and long-overdue addition to Plath scholarship. Here is a description from the catalog:
  • Features art work and manuscripts new to the public, allowing a broader view of Plath's oeuvre
  • Includes 32 pages of colour plates and numerous black-and-white illustrations
    Presents new biographical materials on Plath, including her youth and college years
  • An impressive line-up of renowned and new Plath scholars: Sally Bayley, Christina Britzolakis, Kathleen Connors, Susan Gubar, Landgon Hammer, Fan Jinghua, and Diane Middlebrook
  • Written for a general audience, though maintains a scholarly focus

Eye Rhymes brings to light a side of Sylvia Plath that is scarcely known: her serious involvement in the visual arts from a very early age. She moved between art-making and writing constantly, integrating their elements with ease and pleasure. As a child she considered a poem she had written or transcribed to be complete only when illustrated by a picture. As a young teen she recorded 'technicolor' dreams that told complete stories. Her diaries, letters, and school notebooks are full of doodles and self-portraits - all revealing important truths about her. Until her junior year at Smith College, she considered her two favorite disciplines as offering equally promising choices. It was only at the age of 20 that she decided to leave fine art behind her as her chosen career, and opt for the written word.Eye Rhymes presents a magnificent range of Plath's art, most of it seen in print for the first time: childhood sketches, illustrated diaries, portraits, rich modernist and expressionist paintings, fashion images, photographs, and more. The book offers a myriad of new insights into Plath's creative energy, revealing unexpected themes and ideas that first saw light in visual form, to be re-born later in her greatest poetry. Drawing on the large collections of Indiana University's Lilly Library and Smith College's Mortimer Rare Book Room, it presents an in-depth examination of Sylvia Plath's visual art and literary studies, and their uses in her writing career. Kathleen Connors's illuminating account of Plath as artist and writer opens a rich seam of ideas developed further by distinguished Plath scholars Sally Bayley, Christina Britzolakis, Susan Gubar, Langdon Hammer, Fan Jinghua, and Diane Middlebrook. The writers contextualize approximately sixty of Plath's works within her writing oeuvre, starting with juvenilia that reveal the extensive play between her two disciplines.

The book gives special attention to Plath's unpublished teen diaries and book reports, which contain drawings and early textual experiments, created years before her famous 'I am I' diary notes of age seventeen, when critical examination of her writing usually begins. The contributors offer new critical approaches to the artist's multidimensional oeuvre, including writing that appropriates sophisticated visual and colour effects years after painting and drawing became her hobby and writing her chosen profession. Essayists demonstrate Plath's visual art interests as they relate to her early identity as a writer in Cambridge, her teen artwork and writing on war, her mid-career 'art poems' on the works of Giorgio de Chirico, her representations of womanhood within mid-century commercial culture, and her visual aesthetics in poetry.

Eye Rhymes offers exciting new material on the life and work of Sylvia Plath, designed for the general public as well as Plath specialists, on the 75th anniversary of her birth in 1932.

Readership: Plath scholars and enthusiasts; anyone with an interest in twentieth-century literature and art

Introduction, Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley
1. Living Color: The Interactive Arts of Sylvia Plath , Kathleen Connors
2. 'Plath at War', Langdon Hammer
3. 'Sylvia Plath and de Chirico', Christina Britzolakis
4. 'Plath, Hughes, and Three Caryatids', Diane Middlebrook
5. 'Sylvia Plath and the Costume of Femininity', Sally Bayley
6. 'Sylvia Plath's Visual Poetics', Fan Jinghua
Afterword: The Sister Arts of Sylvia Plath, Susan Gubar

27 April 2007

Julia Stiles' "Bell Jar" movie

from Reuters, Wednesday 25 April 2007:

Sylvia Plath novel rings "Bell" for Stiles

By Gregg Goldstein

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Julia Stiles will star in and produce an adaptation of Sylvia Plath's autobiographical novel "The Bell Jar."

The actress and her representatives at Creative Artists Agency spent two years optioning rights to the coveted project from French producers StudioCanal, and closed the deal Friday.

The 1950s-era drama centers on young book editor Esther Greenwood (Stiles), who grows troubled by the social trappings of her time and slowly descends into mental illness.Principal photography is tentatively expected to begin in early 2008. Also producing are indie firms Plum Pictures and Killer Films.

A 1979 version starred Marilyn Hassett. Since then, rights to the only novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (published around the time of her suicide in 1963) have been held by several parties. Gwyneth Paltrow starred in a 2003 biopic of Plath's life, "Sylvia."
tiles wrote and directed the dramatic short film "Raving," produced by Plum and financed by Elle magazine based on an article in the publication. The film, starring Zooey Deschanel and Bill Irwin, will premiere this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival and May 8 on the Sundance Channel. She was most recently in theaters with the 2006 remake of "The Omen."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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I am not necessarily a fan of blogs, but I cannot update my web site, www.sylviaplath.info, due to server issues. So, I hope that this will allow me to update Plath scholars and fans of happenings in the Plath world.
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