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Showing posts from March, 2015

Four Days at the Lilly Library with Sylvia Plath Archives

The Lilly Library From 16-19 March, I was at the Lilly Library, Indiana University at Bloomington, working with the Sylvia Plath archives there doing reference leg work and inquiry for the Letters of Sylvia Plath project. In the past, I have made nightly updates on the materials with which I worked, but I found this too time consuming for the kind of work I was doing this time around. In the process of being there, I was able to look through the majority of all the boxes and folders in Plath mss II; as well as dabbling a little in other, smaller collections  such as the Lameyer mss; Plath mss IV; Plath mss VI; and one book from her library, Christopher Fry's 1950 play The Lady's Not for Burning . The trip was very successful and rewarding, and the staff, from the Curator of Manuscripts Cherry Williams to Reference Librarian David K. Frasier and Public Services Assistant Zach Downey, and all the additional library staff who paged materials, brought them to me, took them aw

Sylvia Plath Event: Gail Crowther at Tony Cockayne at Blackburn

As I work on a blog post discussing my recent four-days visit to work with the Sylvia Plath materials at the Lilly Library, here is an announcement about an upcoming Sylvia Plath related event. Author Gail Crowther and artist Tony Cockayne will be presenting on Gail and Elizabeth Sigmund's recent Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning  this Thursday, 26 March 2015 at 1:30 Blackburn University Centre, The John Thomas Lecture Theatre ( map ). The author's will discuss the story of the book, show slides, answer questions, and sign books. Further talks are in the works in locations like Falmouth. More information and details will be forthcoming.

Sylvia Plath's Ariel Anomaly

To be sung to the tune of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back": I like rare books and I cannot lie! The mass market paperback can just die... Rare books can sometimes be like watching sports. In sports, on any given day you may see something that has never been done before. In the case of books, you might suddenly see a copy of something that you did not know existed. In December, while browsing around , this very thing happened. One of the more memorable and famous books from the 20th century, which is celebrating 50 years of publication this coming March, was Sylvia Plath's Ariel . A copy of Plath's Ariel , a Faber first edition, second impression, recently came across my view. But it was unusual. The dust wrapper was different. The first editions that I have seen and held have three bands of color on the face and spine. Blue at the top taking up the majority of the space with the words ARIEL  in yellow, as if cut out; then that yellow in the middl

A Major Literary Event: Ariel by [Sylvia Plath], 50 years later

Sylvia Plath has a reputation. In fact, she has many reputations. Sylvia Plath is most widely known for her life and her death; her novel The Bell Jar , and her poems, most notably those in Ariel but also for those works published in 1981 in The Collected Poems for which Plath did, after all, win the Pulitzer Prize. In recent years -- say since 1987 -- Plath's life has been the focus of attention as a number biographies have been published: and most of those with some drama or contention surrounding it. And in 2000, with the publication of her full journals, again the focus was displaced somewhat from her creative writing and onto her life. In some strange and perverse way, Plath's reputation --poetic and otherwise -- is because of Hughes, just as Hughes' own fast ascent as a poet of world-renowned can be credited to Plath who effectively and efficiently got his poems first in a wide array of reputable and international magazines, but also in book form. Fifty years a

Sylvia Plath: Two Films

On Sunday 2 March 1958, Sylvia Plath wrote a letter to . . . her mother! I know! #Shocking. Wholly omitted from Letters Home  but available to read at the Lilly Library, the typed letter was written on the now famous pink Smith College Memorandum paper. Among other things, Plath writes that the night before --1 March-- was spent lazily seeing two films: one on Goya and another on a documentary on a bullfighter. The film on Spanish painter Francisco De Goya ( info ) was The Glory of Goya  (1950) and featured music by Andres Segovia, a musician Plath saw perform at Smith College as an undergraduate on 10 April 1954. The documentary on the bullfighter was the 1956 Mexican film Torero!  ( YouTube ) about the Mexican bullfighter Luis Procuna ( info ). The film on Goya is interesting as within three weeks Plath was on Spring Break, writing nearly a poem a day and all largely influenced by art, specifically modern art. Also this creative outbreak was inspired by both her auditing of Pri