29 April 2008

Quicktime video from Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium at Smith

Smith College has put a short, five minutes or so Quicktime video from the Symposium on their website. The video excerpts the panel of Plath's friends, and includes questions by Julia Stiles and Cornelia Pearsall. Yours truly was seated next to Ms. Stiles (look for the large, shiney scalp).

Expect more video in the short future.

27 April 2008

Links, reviews, etc. - Week ending 26 April 2007

The wrap up for last week was pretty exciting, culminating of course with the Sylvia Plath 75th Anniversary Symposium at Smith College on Friday and Saturday. Yes, Julia Stiles and Tristine Skylar were present, in part to enjoy the very good papers, and in part to do research for their forthcoming film adaptation of Sylvia Plath's novel, The Bell Jar. Plath's friends Marcia Brown Stern, Elinor Friedman Klein, and Phil McCurdy were present, as well as author's of critical and biographical works of Plath including Lynda K. Bundtzen, Susan van Dyne, Langdon Hammer, Judith Kroll, Karen Kukil, Richard Larschan, myself, and other. A fuller review of the events will be online later this week.

The Bell Jar makes the Telegraph's list of the top 50 Cult Books! Thank you VC.

Today, 27 April, also marks the first anniversary of this blog. Happy Anniversary. Thank you to all the lurkers. Thank you to those who have left comments. And thank you to those who have, in either email or in person, shown appreciation.

23 April 2008

Sylvia Plath: Did you know...

Did you know what Sylvia Plath and Flann O'Brien (née Brian O'Nolan, aka Myles na gCopaleen) had something in common?

Flann O'Brien, author of At Swim-Two-Birds, The Dalkey Archive, The Third Policeman, and so much more, had for his literary agent A. M. Heath & Co., located at 10 Dover Street, London.

Sylvia Plath also used A. M. Heath starting circa the fall of 1960 to help her sell short stories to women's magazines.

A. M. Heath were successful in finding publishers for O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds and for Plath's short story "The Perfect Place" (My Weekly, 28 October 1961).
Plath & O'Brien had different agents at A. M. Heath.

But wait, there's more!! In 1962, Plath and Hughes traveled through Dublin on their way to Cleggan to see Richard Murphy. Murphy was an acquaintance of O'Brien's, and O'Brien was friendly with Murphy's first wife, Patricia Avis.

On their way to Cleggan, Plath and Hughes stayed in Dublin, but it is not known (read: doubtful) whether or not the stopover included a meeting with O'Brien. Nevertheless, it is a fun fact that these very different writers had something in common.

19 April 2008

Links, reviews, etc. - Week ending 19 April 2008

It was a difficult week for Wim Van Mierlo's Sylvia Plath / Ted Hughes Chronology. Amazon.com flip-flopped all week between expecting the book to be in stock within a month and 'not in stock'. The book disappeared from the Palgrave website, too. Mysterious...

Carol Bere's review of Anita Helle's The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath is online at the website of Cercles.

Sylvia Plath 75 Year Symposium participant Georgiana Banita recently published the following article:
“‘The Same, Identical Woman’: Sylvia Plath in the Media.” M/MLA Journal, Special Issue High & Low Culture. Ed. Kevin J.H. Dettmar. 40.2 (Fall 2007): 38-60.

T-minus one week until they Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium at Smith College.

16 April 2008

Sylvia Plath collections: Yaddo Records, 1870-1980

The New York Public Library holds the Yaddo Records, 1870-1980. The finding aid to the collection is online here.

Materials relating to Plath and Hughes may be found in the following series:

Series V: Yaddo Corporation Records, 1926-1980

  • A. Guest Files
    • 2. 1940-1976
      • Box 276, Folder 2

I have a request out to the NYPL for more information as to the contents of Box 276, Folder 2. Will report back when I hear something!

12 April 2008

Links, reviews, etc. - Week ending 12 April 2008

Here are some interesting links from the last week or so. Additionally, some information on the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium at Smith College, on 25 and 26 April.

Molly Durham at the Emory Wheel reviews the current exhibit at Emory University, "Democratic Vistas: Exploring the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library." Part of the collection includes Anne Sexton's copy of Sylvia Plath's Ariel.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer also reports.

The New York Times also reviews the exhibit, which includes a slide show. There are two images of Ariel included.

The Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium at Smith College is in two short weeks. Judith Kroll, author of Chapters in a Mythology: The Poetry of Sylvia Plath is a recent addition to the speakers list. Aubrey Menard, the co-ordinator and also a presenter, informs that Kroll will discuss "her relationship with Aurelia Plath and read some letters that Aurelia wrote to her." The website for the Symposium can be accessed by clicking here. Session moderators include Helen Decker, Ellen Doré Watson, Luke Ferretter, Judith Glazer-Raymo, and Susan van Dyne.

Have a good week.

09 April 2008

Chronological list of Sylvia Plath periodical publications

Greetings. I'd like to post here that a new web page is present on my website for Sylvia Plath, A celebration, this is.

The new web page lists, chronologically, Plath's publications in periodicals, from her first poem in the Boston Herald in 1940 to excerpts from her Unabridged Journals in The Guardian in 2000 and more recently in 2003, excerpts of letters between Plath and Dorothea Krook in the now defunct London Magazine.

The web page is online here and is filed under, more generally, the bibliographies section of the site.

04 April 2008

The Bell Jar - Lawsuit

As Julia Stiles is producing currently a new film version of The Bell Jar, I thought immediately of the libel lawsuit that sprung as a result of the first cinematic adaption. Dr. Jane Anderson, a Boston area psychiatrist, sued for defamation of character over the films portrayal of Joan Gilling as a lesbian. Just be careful, Julia...

The current film status is pre-production.

Below are two lists of articles. The first regards the lawsuit and the second is a selection of reviews of the first adaptation of The Bell Jar. Links to articles in appearing in The New York Times are provided for your reading enjoyment. There are some instances where I was unable to obtain complete citation information. I apologise for this...

Blau, Eleanor. "Film's suicide scenes were 'ethical outrage'." The New York Times. January 31, 1987: 21.

Blau, Eleanor. "'Bell Jar' case ends in accord." The New York Times. January 30, 1987: C-13.

Blau, Eleanor. "'Bell Jar' jury told of suffering." The New York Times. January 29, 1987: C-25.

Blau, Eleanor. "Plaintiff denies 'Bell Jar' film events." The New York Times. January 28, 1987:

Blau, Eleanor. "Plaintif testifies in 'Bell Jar' trial." The New York Times. January 27, 1987: C-13.

Bremner, Charles. "Libel suit settled over Plath film." The Times of London. January 31, 1987.

"Closing accounts on Plath's 'Bell Jar'." Newsweek. February 9, 1987: 58.

Davis, Stephen and Michael Graham. "'Bell Jar' suit aims to decide writers' rights and wrongs." The Times of London. January 18, 1987.

Doherty, William F. "'Bell Jar' plaintiff says movie humiliated her." The Boston Globe. January 27, 1987: 17.

Erlanger, Steven. "Plath case kindles debate in England over impact on two literary reputations." The Boston Globe. January 24, 1987: 14.

Kaufman, Irving R. "The creative process and libel." The New York Times. April 5, 1987: 28.

Kiernan, Laura A. "'Bell Jar' suit settled; defamed psychiatrist to get $150,000." The Washington Post. January 30, 1987: C-3.

Kiernan, Laura A. "Pain and outrage emerge in Boston's 'Bell Jar' suit." The Washington Post. January 28, 1987: D-1.

Lacayo, Richard. "Of Whom the Bell Told." Time. February 9, 1987.

"Laureate is sued." The Times of London. January 19, 1987.

Mitgang, Herbert. "Defense in 'Bell Jar' trial makes opening points." The New York Times. January 22, 1987: C-21.

Mitgang, Herbert. "Plath case: A clash of rights." The New York Times. January 15, 1987: C-22.

Mitgang, Herbert. "Ramifications of literary law suits: The 'Bell Jar' and Salinger cases." The New York Times. February 3, 1987: C-17.

Mitgang, Herbert. "Suit based on portrayal in 'Bell Jar' film begins." The New York Times. January 21, 1987: C-19.

Press, Aric with Mark Starr. "From book to film: A novel case of libel." Newsweek. February 2, 1987: 63.

Quill, Ed. "Psychiatrist says movie defamed her." The Boston Globe. January 15, 1987: 25.

Quill, Ed. "'Bell Jar' Plaintiff gets $150,000 settlement." The Boston Globe. January 30, 1987: 1.

Quill, Ed. "Settlement is said near in 'Bell Jar' movie suit." The Boston Globe. January 29, 1987: 23.

Quill, Ed. "Psychiatrist testifies to 'outrage' over movies." The Boston Globe. January 28, 1987: 19.

Quill, Ed. "'Bell Jar' case lawyer says plaintiff had gay encounter." The Boston Globe. January 22, 1987: 76.

Wald, Matthew L. "Psychiatrist files a libel suit over film of Plath's 'Bell Jar'." The New York Times. January 14, 1987: A-1.

Walker, Iain. "Poetic Justics? The Trails of Ted Hughes." The Advertiser. March 7, 1987.

Wen, Patricia. "Freed from 'Bell Jar' psychiatrist says settlement brings the truth to light." The Boston Globe. February 3, 1987: 1.

Film reviews:
Arnold, Gary. "Youthful neurosis retwisted in 'The Bell Jar'." The Washington Post. March 30, 1979: B-2.

Blowen, Michael. "'Bell Jar' is a travesty." The Boston Globe. 1979.

Kroll, Jack. "A poet's crack-up." Newsweek. March 26, 1979: 77.

Martin, Judith. "This 'Bell Jar' Makes Things Look Smaller." The Washington Post. March 30, 1979: 26.

Maslin, Janet. "Film 'The Bell Jar'." The New York Times. March 21, 1979: C17.

Scott, Jay. "Jarring approach to the 'Bell Jar'." The Globe & Mail. May 19, 1979.

Taylor, Clarke. "'Bell Jar': Hollywood interprets a cult poet." The Los Angeles Times. July 16, 1977: 45.

01 April 2008

Sylvia Plath 100 calorie pack & a song

Some might say that too much Sylvia Plath is unhealthy. Do you spend too much time searching the Internet, reading and re-reading articles, books, and blogs, examining book covers, compiling bibliographies, etc. of things relating to or about Sylvia Plath? Wait, I think I'm describing myself here...anyway....

To help combat this apparent addiction, I've volunteered to test out a revolutionary diet: the Reduced Addiction Plath Intake Diet (RAPID). My wife hired scientists from Wookey Hole (England), Balzers (Liechtenstein), and Sneem (Ireland) to develop RAPID in an attempt to suppress my alleged over-indulgence of all things Sylvia Plath. (I don't have a problem, do I?) Will it work? Probably not, though my wife remains hopeful!

The first test will be to see if I can still function in, what for me is, a normal fashion on a daily basis if I "consume" smaller Plathian portions.

Following the craze that is currently sweeping an ever more dietary conscious populous in the USA, we introduce today the creation of the Sylvia Plath 100 calorie pack.*

Here's a breakdown of this remarkable new dietary-literary system works:

Scientists have calculated the caloric composition of Plath's compositions. They have determined that, for example, Plath's poem "Daddy" contains a whopping 500 calories (the equivalent of a White Chocolate Mocha with whip at Starbucks); of which there are are 7 calories from fat. If you try to maintain an intake of 2000 calories per day, this is 1/4 or your daily allowance.Doesn't leave much room for those yummy potato chips and a Guinness.

"Daddy" is 16 stanzas long. There are five lines per stanza. This means that there are approximately 31.25 calories per stanza; or, 6.25 calories per line.

The solution is simple!! Inside your Sylvia Plath 100 calorie pack, you'll find only the first 3.2 stanzas; or, the first 16 lines.

"You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time---
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off the beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town"

Hardly fulfilling, but you may just feel much better in the long run. This being said, a sudden reduction of your daily Plath intake is not without its dangers. Common
side-effects, which might indicate Plath withdrawal, include: headache, nausea, nose bleeds, memory loss, discoloration of the fingers and toes, and dizziness. In rare cases, one may experience textual frustration, because, really, who wants to read just the first 3.2 stanzas of "Daddy"? In rarer cases, patients complain about the inability to perform, from memory and without assistance, textually. If this happens to you, or you get stuck on the same poem for more than four hours, please cease RAPID and contact your physician immediately.


The following are the lyrics to a rare song by a college band, Push-ups In the Sand. The song goes to same music as Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?"

Have You Ever Seen a Man?

Esther's come to town again.
Washed my briefs so that there clean.
I want
To show her my anatomy.

Gonna sit her down today
Show her things and bits and stuff.
This will
Be a momentous weekend.

I wanna know
Have you ever seen a man?
I wanna know
Have you ever seen a man?
Not just statues in museums.

Don't you want to see me, girl?
In the future, we'll be fine
I know
I'd like to see you this way too!

Poems are pieces of dust.
Like cadavers you can trust
That I
I know what I am doing.

I wanna know
Have you ever seen a man?
I wanna know
Have you ever seen a man?

I wanna know
Have you ever seen a man?
I wanna know
Have you ever seen a man?
Not just statues in museums.

*Please note that no such calorie pack actually exists.
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