14 May 2010

Victoria Lucas Bell Jar's

I love The Bell Jar. Love it. I love just about everything about it. I love reading it, I love thinking about it and talking about it, I love its publication history, I love the covers...

Anyway, not too frequently do relatively affordable Victoria Lucas (aka Sylvia Plath) editions appear. There were two editions to appear under the name Victoria Lucas: the Heinemann 1963 edition and their sub-edition, printed under the Contemporary Fiction imprint, the following year.

Browsing ABE books, there are presently twenty-something copies available of these editions. The cheapest is about $380. The most expensive? $12,500. The cheaper copies tend to be the Contemporary Fiction sub-edition, the more expensive, as one would expect, the true first. The presence of a dust jacket increases the value substantially: and if the original jacket is a fine condition you'll have to take out a loan.

There are two Contemporary Fiction editions on auction right now through eBay UK. Neither copy has the real, issued dust jacket (though one of them confusingly and contradictorily seems to include a facsimile dust jacket of the first edition. What this seller is trying to do is beyond me).

Anyway, click here (ends 16 May) | or here (ends 22 May) to bid.


George Fitzgerald said...

Update from a moment ago ... checked the mailbox and my copy of CD is here! So much for the other things I planned to do tonight!


Peter K Steinberg said...

George, truly I hope you enjoy the CD. Come back and let us know.


Anonymous said...

I've seen a photocopy of the original Bell Jar cover for sale on Ebay... weird - kim

Peter K Steinberg said...

That is weird.

According to WorldCat, 42 libraries claim to own a Victoria Lucas Bell Jar. Click here (but then sort by "just this edition") to see if you live near one. A photocoopy! Lame!

Peter K Steinberg said...

One of the auctions didn't see and the seller re-listed the Contemporary Fiction Victoria Lucas for 55 GPB. The auction ends on 3 June.

Bid here.

Anonymous said...

Hallo dear Peter, one question i have of which i cant find the answer anywhere on books google etc..so i must distutb you..maybe(well certainly) you can help me solve this mistery i have..why Victoria Lucas? I mean, ok, i know the reasons..but why this very name? Is there a precise meaning why she chose it (stupid question Alex! I know.. I dont think Sylvia was doing things random and without a meaning/sense behind) why i mean precisely Victoria and the Lucas as a lastname..? The only explanation i ve heard about it sofar is the one about meaning Victory and Light(<<Lucas in latin) was it a nonsense what i found written on the web (dont remember where now)or is it correct? Again thank u for enlighten me and my unknowledge/voids here and there about Sylvia i have..well i have MANY.and so many more i would like to ask you but simply am not cheeky enough to and i feel shy and also because i dont want to be a nuisance and disturb..but bear with me..each time i come up with my absurd silly questions-for you but not for me(but i ask them cause i really dont know them and do want to know and of which i look for the answer everywhere before coming here and disturb You)im still studying her life/person/works and i consider u like my Plath Guru sort of (no offense please) but take it as a compliment, and full connoisseur-expert and the only one i know on web and whom i admire and his knowledge, to whom i know i can address to and feel quite free to ask when i dont know something or have some doubt. Just please dont start feeling fed up with me. This is the chance/risk i take. Again thank u for everything and all the Symposium updates and everything Peter Thank u for having shared the whole with us! Have a nice weekend. And thank u for the patience with my voids any time ;-)
Oh btw today,i just saw on the calendar hanging on my wall, while cooking, today the saint of the day is Sylvia! ;-) i wanted to remember to tell u. And yes..poor thing, she actually was a real saint. (<<Ted bla bla bla)

Sincere and dearest greetings,
Alessandra (well,who else? ;-) with neverending questions/comments and absurdities and horrific english?)

Peter K Steinberg said...


No worries at all! I think the general opinion on Plath's choice of pseudonym is that Victoria is named after a cousin of Ted Hughes whom Plath liked, Vicki Farrar. And Lucas, after Hughes' friend E. Lucas Myers.

There may be other reasons of course...


Anonymous said...

Uh. Interesting. As if she wanted to pay tribute to them. Thank you very much 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. Forthcoming.
  • 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.