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Showing posts from June, 2012

Plath Profiles 5 Preview: Guest Post

The following is a guest post by Bridget Anna Lowe, who contributes "Burning Free: Sylvia Plath's Summer 1962 Bonfires and the Strange Case of the Surviving Christmas Card" to Plath Profiles 5, due out sometime in the near future. Devon, England: Summer, 1962 It was a hellish summer for Sylvia Plath. In the early summer of 1962 her husband of six years, the poet Ted Hughes, began an adulterous love affair with another man's wife; in July, a furious and unforgiving Plath discovered the affair. Shortly after her discovery of Hughes's infidelity, and with a rage fueled by her well-honed direct access to heightened emotion, Plath created a succession of three retaliatory bonfires in the backyard of the thatch-roofed home she and Hughes shared with their two young children in Devon, England. In her violent trio of bonfires—one fire each to burn her own, her mother's, and Hughes's important and irreplaceable papers—a manic and vehement Plath incinerated sh

Plath Profiles 5: Another Preview

Gail Crowther and I have written a fourth conversation of archival our adventures. In "These Ghostly Archives 4: Looking for New England" we pick up where " These Ghostly Archives 3 " left off, with Gail sailing to America for her first visit to Sylvia Plath's home country, conquering New York City and much of Massachusetts from the Cape to the Pioneer Valley.  In "TGA4" we challenge the traditional notion of the archive as a bricks and mortal repository for documents, and we assert the archive lives in a community like Northampton and the Smith College campus, in which Plath's presence can be felt just as much as on a manuscript of her poetry. From our paper, "We would also like to introduce to you the notion that the boundaries which contain the contents of an archive can at times become a little blurry. In fact, sometimes, especially when dealing with Plath and Smith College, it can feel like the archive is everywhere – not just simply pap

Plath Profiles 5 Preview

Some of you may have guessed that Plath Profiles 5 is nearly ready to be published... One of the papers in the issue is authored by me and is titled "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." I wrote this paper because in reading Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar at least twice a year for the last 15 or so years, and in reading both British and American editions, the text became familiar but I could not reconcile why it read differently, depending on the edition read. Primarily I read a later printing of the first American edition from 1971 against a 1980s Faber paperback. Eventually I obtained a photocopy of the first Heinemann edition and read that, too. But, the two editions of the book that set me on the three-year task were the uncorrected proof of The Bell Jar printed by Heinemann in 1962 and the 1996, 25th Anniversary edition published in America. These two especially are very different from one another. Mind you it is not as though the texts drast

Sylvia Plath related question?

What is 11 inches tall, 8.5 inches wide, 522 pages long and has 21 essays, 20 poems, translations, artwork, some reviews (for a total of 48 contributions), and will be coming soon to a web browser near you??

Forget Summer: Sylvia Plath Books in Winter 2013

Is it too early to look at 2013? It is now officially summer, which means the countdown to winter and 2013 has begun. We will lose daylight like I am losing hair... But, while it might indeed be early, the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Colossus in America has me thinking again about the 50th anniversary of two major Sylvia Plath events that occurred in 1963. The first was the publication of The Bell Jar in England on January 14, 1963; and the second - you might have guessed - was her death on February 11. Keep in mind since it is so far out, the dates below might change. On 3 January 2013, Faber will publish a new edition of The Bell Jar . I have been dreaming that Faber can or will re-use the original cover . And as you might imagine, Plath will be the subject of dozens of articles, but also a few monographs. Below is a list of what's expected so far. Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson (Simon & Schuster Ltd) 3

Two Reviews of Poet and Critic: The Letters of Ted Hughes and Keith Sagar

The British Library's recent publication, Poet and Critic: The Letters of Ted Hughes and Keith Sagar (ISBN: 9780712358620, 320 pages, purchase ) gives a more complete run of the letters from Hughes to Sagar than were published in the Letters of Ted Hughes (2007). And we should be thankful for that, as the letters provide a rare look a unique friendship. The letters, held in the British Library and previously only available to researchers traveling to and through London, cover nearly 30 years (1969-1998) and explore a fascinating range of topics. While only a handful of Sagar's letters to Hughes are included, when present they provide that even more unique aspect of letter writing: a conversation. Because Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath both have supporters and detractors in equal measure; and because these two camps have historically sparred, I have decided to write two reviews of Poet and Critic: The Letters of Ted Hughes and Keith Sagar . Consider it a kind of "choose yo

Sylvia Plath: $1200 Jeopardy

Who was Sylvia Plath was the $1200 question on Jeopardy today. Of course, that 2005 drawing is no longer the only known drawing of Ted Hughes by Sylvia Plath. There are at least three known drawings of Ted Hughes, drawn by Plath, as I wrote about last November in my catalogue review of Sylvia Plath: Her Drawings . And speaking of three's, especially since Plath loved things in three's, this is the third time, at least, in three years that Plath has been on Jeopardy! The sketch in question (or answer) can be seen here .

A double Sylvia Plath did you know...

Did you know that in The Bell Jar , Esther Greenwood & her fellow guest editors do not work at/for Ladies’ Day ? The name of the magazine where they did work was never actually named. The most we are told is that, "We had all won a fashion magazine contest...and as prizes they gave us jobs in New York for a month" (1971, 3). And, in the text of the novel, whenever Ladies’ Day is named, it is actually quite clear that the guest editors are visitors there, or that they are visiting a separate location. The first mention of Ladies' Day comes in Chapter Three. From the way Greenwood describes it, Ladies' Day is "the big women's magazine that features lush double-page spreads of Technicolor meals..." (27-28). Then, on page 30, Greenwood says, "None of our magazine editors or the Ladies' Day staff members..." which further illustrates the point. Lastly, when recovering from ptomaine poisoning, "Those dodos on Ladies Day "

"There is no life higher than the grasstops": A Walk to Withens

The following is a guest blog post by Gail Crowther on visiting Haworth and Top Withens, Yorks, England. Thank you Gail! Haworth and Top Withens feature in a number of Plath's poems, letters and journal entries along with pieces of published and unpublished prose. Most of her writing stresses the lonely and blustering nature of the place – blackened gravestones paving the ground in front of the Brontë Parsonage, withered trees, open moors of heather and sheep, a tumble-down building clinging to the moor side at Top Withens. In an account of a Withens walk published in The Christian Science Monitor on 6 June 1959 (12), Plath describes there being "as many ways to get to Withens as there are compass points" (12). Yet she had just tried two approaches – one from the town of Haworth and another across the moors from Heptonstall. Last weekend, I walked to Withens from Haworth. No dour skies or lonely howling winds accompanied us as we trecked from town to moor, but rather

The Battle over Sylvia Plath's Colossus

A small battle was waged twenty years ago in the spring of 1992 over the selling of the a copy of a first edition Knopf The Colossus , signed and inscribed by Sylvia Plath to Ted Hughes. On June 3, 1992, a letter was published in The Times called "War-Plath" (p. 14). The article quotes expresses the concern of the "Sylvia Plath Society" that this one sale might be "the first of a tranche of Plath's books and papers Hughes might sell." The article quotes Elizabeth Sigmund as saying, ''I think it is amazing that he is selling this book, which should go to the family. If he does not want it he should give it to the children, Frieda and Nicholas, or to one of Britain's libraries.'' It also says Sigmund is the president of the Society! It was then stated that, "[t]he next volume to reach the market would be Plath's annotated version of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets *." Hughes and his wife Carol responded, "This vol

British Library Exhibit features Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes

Two poems by Plath - "Hardcastle Crags" and "Wuthering Heights" (the latter read by Ted Hughes) are part of the current British Library exhibition "Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands." The exhibit list is posted online here ; and you can read a little bit about the exhibit here, too . Archival materials from Hughes's River and the Elmet books are included as well, and the exhibit runs until 25 September 2012. A thoroughly modern sounding exhibit that features a plethora of different information formats including "sound recordings, videos, letters, photographs, maps, song lyrics and drawings - as well as manuscripts and printed editions." Thanks to ~VC for the information. And... Plath Profiles 5 is in the final stages of production. Who's ready for it?