25 December 2007

www.sylviaplath.info fully updated

Just in time for Christmas, my website for Sylvia Plath, "A celebration, this is", online at www.sylviaplath.info, is updated. There are about a dozen (or more) new photographs of Sylvia Plath places, and all photos are given fuller captions and reference descriptions. Also, there are over 100 new book covers ranging from works by Plath to works about Plath and works not in English.

Most of the web pages are updated too, including the biography, The Bell Jar, and the pages for Ariel, The Colossus, and other poetry collections. Later this year, I hope to add more information about Plath's Letters Home.

I hope that you all enjoy it, and please feel free to send me comments.

20 December 2007

Sylvia Plath 2007: Year in review

2007 review
2007 marked the 75th anniversary of Plath's birth, and it was an interesting and exciting year for the late poet. Several books were published, including three unique compilations of essays and a work of biographical poems. One book, Linda Wagner-Martin's Sylvia Plath's Poetry, was delayed for various reasons, disappointing many, including myself. The book is now scheduled for release on 7 August 2008. Books about Sylvia Plath that were published this year include:

The Unraveling Archive: essays on Sylvia Plath edited by Anita Helle
Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual edited by Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley
Lover of Unreason: Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath's rival and Ted Hughes's doomed love by Eilat Negev and Yehuda Koren
Chapters in a mythology: the poetry of Sylvia Plath by Judith Kroll
Sylvia Plath (Bloom's Modern Critical Views) edited by Harold Bloom
Your own, Sylvia: a verse portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill
Letters of Ted Hughes edited by Christopher Reid

The Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium took over Oxford for about five days in October. There was much buzz throughout the year surrounding this event, and it proved to be hugely successful. The papers presented, as well as talks from guest and featured speakers, provided each participant with new research, fresh ideas, and collegial conversations. No doubt that the research being conducted, and the resulting papers, dissertations, essays and books will benefit from the event. The future of Plath scholarship promises to be enlightening.

Amongst all these new publications, ideas, and events, there were several notable passing's. Elaine Connell, author of Sylvia Plath: Killing the Angel in the House and moderator of the Sylvia Plath Forum, passed away on 3 October. And, on 15 December, Diane Middlebrook, author of Anne Sexton: A Biography and Her Husband: Hughes and Plath, a Marriage, passed away. Their contributions to our knowledge of the poets will live on in the work we do. I had the pleasure of meeting Elaine in 2003 and Diane in 2004 and found them both inspirational and encouraging. Paul Roche, a poet and translator, who met Plath and Hughes in the 1950s, passed away on 30 October. Lastly, Elizabeth Hardwick, the second wife of Robert Lowell, who likely met Plath and Hughes in the late 1950s, passed away on 2 December.

In all my searching, I did not find many new Plath websites this year. Aside from this blog and contributions to the Sylvia Plath Forum, there was not much content added in this area of Plath studies. I started this blog for several reasons. One reason is, I had been unable to update my website (this issue was resolved and a big update will be coming between Christmas and New Year's). Another reason is my contributions to the Sylvia Plath Forum rarely appeared on the website; and the last reason was based on a conversation in February with Eilat Negev and Yehuda Koren. The conversation was about Plath's presence on the web which, for better or worse, seemed somewhat stalled. I hope the information presented here has been, is, or will be useful to you. That being said, Google Books and WorldCat are valuable resources for Plath scholarship. Please use them. If my web site does not have images you are looking for, use the satellite feature on Google Maps to get close-ups of neighborhoods. For example, you can really get great aerial views of Court Green and Heptonstall.

Looking forward
2008 should continue a revival of interest and inspection in Plath's life and works. Forthcoming books for the US market include Sylvia Plath's Poetry by Linda Wagner-Martin (Continuum) and A Sylvia Plath / Ted Hughes Chronology by Wim Van Mierlo (Palgrave MacMillan) are two notable books. Another new book scheduled for publication is Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar and poems by Raychel Haugrud Reiff (Marshall Cavendish Benchmark). Negev and Koren's Lover of Unreason will be issued in paperback in January. This time around, the cover will feature an image only of Assia Wevill, a good decisions by the book designers.

A new journal, Plath Profiles, is scheduled to publish its first issue in the summer of 2008. I will post any information I can to keep you updated. There was some discussion about this journal at the Symposium in October. The panels were well attended and good ideas were shared.

And now, the much anticipated, highly unofficial Sylvia Plath Info Blog Awards (the SPIBAs) for 2007.

Favorite Book: The Unraveling Archive: essays on Sylvia Plath edited by Anita Helle

Most attractive book: Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's art of the visual edited by Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley

Now, for the most anticipated category of the year:

Ugliest book cover award: Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath.

This award goes not to a book published this year, but to a book published in 2000. The HarperPerennial edition of Plath's Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams. If I were to judge this book by its cover, I would hand down a life sentence. In fact, this book wins the first ever Lifetime Achievement in Ugly Plath Book Covers Award (the LAUPBCA). I realize now I will never get a book deal with HarperPerennial.

15 December 2007

Diane Middlebrook

It is with sad news that I report the passing of Diane Middlebrook, author of biographies of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

11 December 2007

Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's art of the visual

I saw a copy of Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's art of the visual at the Borders in downtown Boston this evening. The idiots shelved it under Fiction/Literature and also under editor Kathleen Connors last name, not with either The Bell Jar or with the Plath books in the poetry section. I took the liberty of moving it to the Plath books in the poetry section. They (Borders) did this for Koren and Negev's biography of Assia Wevill, A Lover of Unreason, too, shelving it under Koren rather than under Wevill, or even with the Plath and Hughes books in the poetry section. So, at any rate, the book is out there...Happy reading & viewing!

05 December 2007

Sylvia Plath collections: British Library and others...

Over the last few months, I have posted many different "Sylvia Plath Collections". In that time, I hope that any readers found the information useful to their own projects, or that the information will be useful in the future.

The following are listed "collections" in WorldCat with no library listed as owner, which is absolutely frustrating! For the sake of it, I attempted to inter-library loan one of them. This was the reply, "We have exhausted all possible sources. No library is able to supply this item. Unfortunately, according to Worldcat, zero libraries own this item. It is probably in a special collection somewhere that is unaccessible [sic.] for ILL. Sorry!"

My instincts tell me these are collections held in repositories in the United Kingdom and/or other countries. At least two of these are held by the British Museum (now the British Library). If anyone out there has any knowledge to help identify the collections, the libraries, and has worked with these materials, please post a comment!

In each entry, the title of the collection is in bold, followed by the author, the dates, and other information. For the first two collections, some sleuthing found that the British Library holds the materials.

Poems, etc. /

Ted Hughes; Sylvia Plath
Autograph & TS. Owned.

Nessie the mannerless monster by Ted Hughes, revised autograph & TS drafts
Poems published in 'Recklings' & 'Wodwo' & 4 unpublished poems by Ted Hughes
BBC scripts by Ted Hughes, autograph & TS fragments
The calm by Ted Hughes, revised TS fragments of an unpublished play
TS drafts of 2 poems by Sylvia Plath
Untitled short story by Sylvia Plath, revised TS fragments.

Date of collection: Jan 1983.
Reference: The Arts Council collection of modern literary manuscripts, 1963-1972

(What I do know: A catalogue was produced by Jenny Stratford entitled, The Arts Council collection of modern literary manuscripts, 1963-1972. The catalogue reproduces a draft of Plath's poem "Insomniac". Copies are available here or a libraries worldwide.

According to the catalogue, these items are owned by the British Museum (now the British Library).

Insomniac :
[in 'Cheltenham Festival prize poems' collection] /
Sylvia Plath
4 autograph drafts & 2 TS drafts, numbered in sequence.
The Arts Council collection of modern literary manuscripts, 1963-1972:
Owned./ With a letter from Sylvia Plath, presenting the drafts, 1961./ Date of collection: Mar 1983.

(What I do know: For this collection, I found a reference to the six drafts of Insomiac here. The National Manuscript Collection for Contemporary Poets (NMCCP) sounds absolutely fascinating. It seems to be connected to the British Library, however, I did not find an entry for this item in the British Library Catalogue. This record also refers to The Arts Council collection of modern literary manuscripts, 1963-1972. However, that still tells us nothing, really, about where these important drafts are held.)

These items are held by the British Museum (now British Library). They were written up in The Arts Council collection of modern literary manuscripts, 1963-1972. A nice facsimile reprint of a manuscript draft of "Insomniac" is produced in The Arts Council book. Another catalogue appeared in 1967. This one is by Jenny Lewis, Poetry in the Making: Catalogue of an exhibition of poetry manuscripts in the British Museum.


Poems /
Sylvia Plath
3 items, on 3 quarto sheets.
TS./ Owned./ Date of collection: Jan 1983

Three women :[a verse dialogue] by Sylvia Plath : script for production by Douglas Cleverdon, Third Programme, 9th June 1968.
16 sheets.
Duplicated TS./ Owned./ First production, also by Douglas Cleverdon, was on 19th August 1962./ Date of collection: Jan 1983.

Recordings of talks etc. by Ted Hughes.
Ted Hughes; Sylvia Plath
Owned./ Includes 'Poets in partnership', an interview of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath by Owen Leeming./ Date of collection: Mar 1987. (Two of a kind)

Recordings of talks etc. by Dannie Abse.
Dannie Abse
Archival Material

Owned./ Includes: P.E.N. Club editors' meeting - Lecture on Sylvia Plath - Item from BBC Radio 4 'Bookshelf' series./ Date of collection: Mar 1987.

Recordings of talks etc. by A. Alvarez.
A Alvarez
Archival Material
Owned./ Includes: Lecture on Sylvia Plath - Item from BBC Radio 4 'Now read on' series - 'Under pressure' [3 programmes: speakers include Lionel Trilling and W. H. Auden]./ Date of collection: Mar 1987.

03 December 2007

Sylvia Plath & WorldCat

WorldCat is beta testing an Identities search interface. This is a way to aggregate works by or about a certain author. It's very handy. I highly recommend checking it out if Plath in your favorite author or area of interest.

To see a complete listing of Sylvia Plath related books, archival material, and other formats, please click here.

02 December 2007

Eye Rhymes in USA, a review, and updates...

Amazon.com lists that Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley's Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's art of the visual is available (effective 6 November) for immediate shipping. The local Borders in Boston also lists the book as imminently available in stores. Additionally, OUP's USA site states that the book is available as well. It is clear that the 26 December release date was moved up.

Adam Philips at The Observer reviews the Letters of Ted Hughes in today's paper.

A number of my pages on my Sylvia Plath website are updated: index2.html, resources.html, and books.html. All other web pages are updated, but won't be online for several weeks yet. The image here is of a test page. I am still working on formating and content. When everything is up, there should be in excess of 350 images - both photographic images of Sylvia Plath places and scanned book covers.
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