22 April 2010

Sylvia Plath's Saint Botolph's Review

The recent news of the copy of Saint Botolph's Review formerly owned by Ted Hughes being acquired by the British Library was welcome. And for the sake of this blog post, which has been in the works & in the queue since February, the timing could not have been better. For it involves the location of Sylvia Plath's copy of Saint Botolph's Review. Touché!

The Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia has eight books formerly belonging to Sylvia Plath.

Of particular note is that this repository holds Sylvia Plath's copy of the Saint Botolph's Review, of which an image is featured below.

Like Hughes' copy, there is a some kind of liquid stain on the front cover. Though we know Plath bought her copy from Bert Wyatt-Brown on or near Queens Bridge on Silver Street, did the stain happen before or after she "got drunk, very very beautifully drunk" on the evening of 25 February 1956? I have long wondered where this copy was, have you?

The note attached to the bibliographic record reads, "From the library of Sylvia Plath, with her signature on the dust jacket, and Hughes' manuscript corrections to ['Fallgrief's Girl-friends']." This title, and the seven others, forms part of their formidable Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature Collection.

The other books held at the University of Virginia are:

The Daughters of Necessity by Peter S. Feibleman
The Harvest of Tragedy by T. R. Henn
James Joyce's Ulysses: A Study [2d ed., rev.] by Stuart Gilbert
Selected Fiction by Henry James
Leaves of Grass, and Selected Prose by Walt Whitman
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

Each of the eight titles has been added to Sylvia Plath's Library on LibraryThing. There is also a listing and link on my Sylvia Plath Archival Materials page on my website. Plath's LibraryThing page features a breakdown of books by "collections" so that you easily determine if a book is held at a particular repository. There are also "collections" for books mentioned as read in her Journals and Letters Home (not yet finished). Other, additional books read but not owned are also listed. This group, like Letters Home is also not finished - actually, it is no where near finished. What the heck have I been doing with my spare time. Just wait for Plath Profiles 3...

Additional copies of Saint Botoph's Review are rare. The British papers pointed out that three additional copies are known to be held in UK libraries at Cambridge University, University College of London, and Oxford University. In addition to UVA, copies held in the US can be found at Emory University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. No copies are known to be held in Belgium.

Wyatt-Brown published "Ted, Sylvia, and St. Botolph's: A Cambridge Recollection" in The Southern Review in Spring 2004.

A very special thanks to angelictenderbutton who visited the library and facilitated obtaining of an image.


Anonymous said...

This is amazing Peter. As soon as the press started reporting the location of Hughes' copy, I wondered immediately about Plath's. How odd they both have wine stains on them!

The image here is wonderful too, thank you.

Peter K Steinberg said...

Thanks Anonymous. I felt like it was a significant find. Like I said, I had always wondered where it was.

I wonder if Luke Myers gave the copies to Bert to sell, hence the wine?


angelictenderbutton said...

you are so welcome, Peter!

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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.