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Showing posts from May, 2012

Sylvia Plath's Tragedy Paper

One more brief post about Sylvia Plath and Cambridge that has grabbed my attention since the recent story about the skeletal remains of a woman, mouse & shrew to be back on exhibit in Cambridge after a long storage away from the public's eye. Sylvia Plath is considered a " Cambridge Author. " It is on the website just linked to where we find something quite interesting about Plath's course in Tragedy. What you will find is "an examination of her work in the light of her academic experience in Cambridge. She studied the Tragedy paper - a cornerstone of the course from the very start - and resonances with the material she read for it can be identified in her writing." The site is broken into different parts, one being " Sylvia Plath and the Tragedy Paper. " One of the more interesting pages and links appears in the section " The Tragedy Paper: Continuity and Change. " It is here that a link is included to a PDF of the actual ex

Did you know...Sylvia Plath, Valerie Pitt, and Pierre de Ronsard

One of the reviews of the first Faber edition of The Bell Jar , the first edition to appear in print with Sylvia Plath's name as author, was by Valerie Pitt, in The Sunday Telegraph , 25 September 1966. Pitt's review, titled "Isolated Case," praises the novel story as being told with "controlling definiteness" and "disciplined clarity," remarking that these are also qualities of Plath's poetry. Very true. Pitt's review ends, "It is a book to make one regret, increasingly, the early death not only of so brilliant a writer but of so uncommon a personality." Valerie Pitt evidently was a reader of Plath's poetry at the time of the review, commenting that "Not surprisingly, the publishers have have followed the success of Sylvia Plath's 'Ariel'" by issuing her novel under her own name. It is Pitt's comment about Plath being so "uncommon a personality" that strikes me as interesting. It is pos

Sylvia Plath's "antique museum-cased lady" on Display

Maev Kennedy at The Guardian  just rocked my world with her news article, " Gnawed Roman skeleton that inspired Sylvia Plath poem goes on display ." I'm so glad Kennedy mentioned that six years after penning the poem Plath killed herself because it is entirely relevant to the exhibit. Sarcasm aside, the embedded video is interesting, for video of the woman, the mouse, and the shrew, see about 4 minutes 22 seconds into it; though the whole video is well done.

Sylvia Plath Collections: Olwyn Hughes Correspondence, British Library

Although I received notice in February, it is only now that I realized I never posted about this archival update. The collection of Olwyn Hughes Correspondence is now open for research at the British Library. Back in September 2010, the British Library issued this press release about the acquisition. This blog made reference, too. Additional papers of Olwyn Hughes' are held at Emory University; visit the Archival Materials page over at A celebration, this is , for more information. You can access the full catalog descriptions of the collection via the British Library's website. To read the description of the collection, please go to the British Library search page , type in Add MS 88948, and you will see all the records which are applicable. The "details" option gives very good information on what is contained in each series/fonds. In addition to letters and poems sent from Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes to Hughes' sister, which are bound to garner the most atte

Full Moon and Assia Wevill

Biographically, 50 years ago this weekend was a significant one for Sylvia Plath. It was that weekend that David and Assia Wevill visited Court Green. According to Plath's 1962 Letts Royal Office Tablet Diary, the Wevill's arrived on Friday 18 May. She made gingerbread and beef stew. At 6:40, Plath also had a note that there was a German program on the BBC.  Saturday, 19 May, there was a full moon; and the day is clean from responsibilities save for Plath making a note about Nancy [Axworthy]. Sunday 20 May, the only note is that there was an Italian broadcast on at 3:10. And, of course, on Monday 21 May, Plath grabbed sheets of her typescript draft of The Bell Jar , turned the pages over, and wrote "The Rabbit Catcher" (originally titled "Snares") and "Event" (originally titled "Quarrel") because something went seriously wrong.

The 50th of Sylvia Plath's First American Colossus

Fifty years ago today, Sylvia Plath's The Colossus was published by Alfred A. Knopf in the United States. A small notice of the publication appeared in that day's New York Times , on page 26. On 1 May 1961, a year before publication, Plath headed her letter to her mother, published in Letters Home : "GOOD NEWS GOOD NEWS GOOD NEWS!" (417). Plath admitted, "After all the fiddlings and discouragements from the little publishers, it is an immense joy to have what I consider THE publisher accept my book for America with such enthusiasm. They 'sincerely doubt a better first volume will be published this year.'" (417-418). At the end of the letter Plath tells her mother that "I have been writing seven mornings a week at the Merwins' study and have done better things than ever before, so it is obvious this American acceptance is a great tonic" (418). The poems Plath wrote at this time were "In Plaster," "Tulips," &qu

Sylvia Plath eats "Mad Men" like air

Last Sunday's episode (6 May) of Mad Men was called "Lady Lazarus" which has lead to about 1,000,000 news stories online making a connection to Sylvia Plath. Thanks to Jamie Hood for this link to a interview " Sylvia Plath in Mad Men " by Julia Taylor.

Sylvia Plath's Cornucopia

Julie Buckles has published recently an article in the Ashland Current titled " In Pen and Ink, Poet Plath Captures Cornucopia Harbor. " The article, a great one, greatly benefited from information provided by a deep friend in Plath, poet and author David Trinidad, whose Plath Profiles 4 essay " On the Road with Sylvia and Ted: Plath and Hughes's 1959 Trip Across America " explores Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes' cross country trip in the summer of 1959, which included their brief stay in Wisconsin. The article looks at Cornucopia today and considers Plath's pen and ink sketch of the harbor, as was recently seen and sold at the Mayor Gallery's 2011 exhibit "Sylvia Plath: Her Drawings."

Review: Critical Insights: The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

Published earlier this year is a collection of essays on The Bell Jar edited by Janet McCann of Texas A&M University. The material includes eight new essays on The Bell Jar and reprints ten essays from the past. This is a valuable book on a book that receives far less critical attention than its cousins, the poems. Let's look at what's in the book and I will continue blithering below. "Biography of Sylvia Plath" by Jane Satterfield " The Paris Review Perspective" by Emma Straub for The Paris Review "The Domesticated Wilderness": Patriarchal Oppression in The Bell Jar by Allison Wilkins "Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar : Understanding Cultural and Historical Context in an Iconic Text" by Iris Jamahl Dunkle "Interruptions in a Patriarchal World: Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted " by Kim Bridgford "Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar : Critical Reception" by Ell

Sylvia Plath's "queer and sultry summer"

The Guardian recently ran " The 10 best first lines in fiction. " The first lines of Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar made the list, coming in at number 8. Of course the blurb under the quote has it a little wrong: Plath died about a month after it was published, not the month before, but whatever...It's only the details, right? At some point, The American Book Review ran the top 100 lines , and The Bell Jar finished 67th.

Sylvia Plath's Ariel: How Swede it is...

A new translation of Plath's Ariel (as in the manuscript she prepared in late 1962 and that was subsequently, finally published in 2004) has been published in Sweden by Ellerströms . The translation was undertaken by Jenny Tunedal and Jonas Ellerström. For those who speak and read Swedish, there are two reviews of this new book that might be of interest to you. The first appeared in the newspaper Jönköpings-Posten, and is by Björn Kohlström , and another in Svenska dagbladet , which is one of Sweden's biggest newspapers If you are interested in reading them in English, try Google Translate but keep in mind it will be imperfect. While the main part of the text adheres to Plath's ordering of poems (the book ends with "Wintering"), there is an appendix of fifteen poems, including "Words" and "Edge." The book is attractively designed by Clara Möller. Thanks to both Björn Kohlström and Florian Flur for information on this title.