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Showing posts from September, 2014

Sylvia Plath's Arrival in England, 20 September 1955

The first poem in Ted Hughes' 1998 collection Birthday Letters is "Fulbright Scholars" which begins: Where was it, in the Strand? A display Of news items, in photographs. For some reason I noticed it. A picture of that year’s intake Of Fulbright Scholars. Just arriving - Or arrived. Or some of them. Were you among them? I studied it. … No doubt I scanned particularly The girls. Maybe I noticed you… Yet I remember The picture: the Fulbright Scholars. (Faber, 3) Sylvia Plath sailed from New York City on 14 September 1955, arriving in Southampton, England, 6 days later on the 20th. She was one of many on board the Queen Elizabeth travelling to universities spread across the United Kingdom to a destination in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, and maybe beyond. The Queen Elizabeth made a brief stop in Cherbourg, France, before arriving early in the morning of the 20th. Plath's pocket diary, held by the Lilly Library at Indiana University, notes t

Sylvia Plath, Bell Jars and Bowen

The following is a special guest post by Dr. Gail Crowther. Thank you, Dr. Crowther. Recently, I have taken to reading Elizabeth Bowen. I don't know why I have never read her before now, but anyway, about two years ago I bought an old penguin copy of The Death of the Heart from a second hand book store. It lay on my 'to-read' pile since then, until a couple of months ago during a sleepless night I started to read it. Now I am currently enjoying a Bowen-fest, working my way chronologically through her novels and stories. Needless to say, I am smitten. I knew, of course, that there was a Plath connection. A young Sylvia Plath while working for Mademoiselle had interviewed Elizabeth Bowen in the home of May Sarton at 14 Wright Street, Cambridge, Mass on 26th May 1953 . It was famously captured in a series of photographs by a Mademoiselle photographer. They show a smiling and slightly adoring looking Plath interviewing and engaged in discussion with the older writer.