07 November 2007

Sylvia Plath collections: Atlantic Monthly Magazine records, 1969-1974

The Massachusetts Historical Society holds the Atlantic Monthly records, 1969-1974. Of course the Atlantic has been around a long time, but these records relate to the editorship of Robert Manning. The collection includes correspondence with and records that relate to 3,200 authors. The records are stored offsite, so advance notice is required if anyone seeks to consult these records. The finding aid is online here.

There is correspondence between Olwyn Hughes and the editors at the Atlantic relating to publishing some of Sylvia Plath's and Ted Hughes's poems. These can be found in carton 9.

There are two letters from February and two from May.

1) From: Olwyn Hughes, To: Robert Manning, 2 February 1970.
This letter discusses Olwyn's assembling two volumes of Plath's uncollected poetry. She offers the following Plath poems: "Last Words," "The Tour," "Submerged", and "Gigolo" as well as six Crow poems by Ted Hughes. The year of composition - 1961, 1962, 1962, and 1963, respectively - is listed next to each poem.

2) From: Robert Manning, To: Olwyn Hughes, 24 February 1970.
Rejects all the poems by both Plath and Hughes.

3) From: Olwyn Hughes, To: Peter Davison, 4 May 1970.
Sending Davison Hughes's poem "Fighting for Jerusalem".

4) From: Peter Davison, To: Olwyn Hughes, 15 May 1970.
Rejecting poem by Hughes.

Accompanying each set of letters are editorial responses to the poems submitted. There was an overwhelming dislike of the Hughes poems, including one editor saying, "The Hughes stuff, if I understand it, offers us Crow as Everyman. A damn silly idea."

The general consensus on the Plath poems submitted in February was that they all appeared "unfinished." The reviewers each liked "Last Words" and "The Tour", and found the poem "Submerged" to be "unclear, for all its ominous message, sensuous images."

Has anyone out there ever heard of a Plath poem entitled "Submerged", purportedly written in 1962? The other poems appeared throughout 1970 in periodicals, and also appeared in either Crossing the Water (1971) or Winter Trees (1971/2).

Could "Submerged" be a variant/rejected title of an Ariel poem? Not according to a review of the drafts Ariel poems housed at Smith College. One 1962 poem published around this time is "Fearful". However, it is not out of the question that there are other poems Plath wrote in 1962 that have been suppressed?

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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.
  • 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.
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil (eds.). The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 2, 1956-1963. London: Faber, 2018.
  • 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.