20 November 2015

"'Viciousness in the Kitchen': The Backstory of Sylvia Plath's 'Lesbos'" by David Trinidad

Poet and writer David Trinidad has a new essay on Sylvia Plath: "'Viciousness in the Kitchen': The Backstory of Sylvia Plath's 'Lesbos'" published today on Blackbird out of Virginia Commonwealth University.

For various reasons, the piece had to be published without the images that David intended. So as a complement to the piece, I have agreed to publish the photographs here on the Sylvia Plath Info Blog.

Sylvia Plath and her children at Court Green, spring 1962

Marvin Kane, circa 1961

Cadbury House, 2010. ©Derek Harper

"Lesbos" beach: "the most heavenly gold sands by emerald sea."

Beyond the stone arch, the only cottage in Hicks Court with
"a sort of cement well." Could this be "Quaintways"? 2010, ©Gail Crowther

Lane to "Lesbos" beach, 2010, ©Gail Crowther

"Lesbos" beach, 2010, ©Gail Crowther

"Lesbos" beach, 2010, ©Gail Crowther

Memorial plaque for Kathy Kane

Memorial plaque for Marvin Kane

11 November 2015

Sales Results: Two Sylvia Plath Lots at Bonhams Knightsbridge

As reported on 10 October 2015 in this blog post, there were two Sylvia Plath lots at the Fine Books, Maps and Manuscripts auction via Bonhams Knightsbridge auction today in London. The two Sylvia Plath lots just finished.

Lot 120 featured an autograph manuscript of Plath's early short story "The Mummy's Tomb".

Lot 121 featured annotated typescripts of five poems written when Plath was a student in high school and at Smith College: "acquatic nocturne", "Terminal", "Van Winkle's Village", "The Dark River (P.N.)", and "The Invalid".

Lot 120 sold for £5,000 ($7,559)  also blowing passed the high estimate. Price includes buyers premium.

Lot 121 sold for £13,750 ($20,789) annihilating the high estimate. Price includes buyers premium. Go Plath.

That was intense and interesting bidding to watch online!

All links accessed 10 November 2015.

06 November 2015

A Penny for Sylvia Plath's Thoughts...

In February 1955, Mademoiselle published a special "twentieth anniversary issue". One of the sections of this issue did a year-by-year review of highlights and Sylvia Plath was mentioned as one for 1952. This was the year in which her short story "Sunday at the Mintons'" was published and won first prize in the College Fiction Contest.

Mademoiselle, March 1955
We know Plath read this February 1955 issue for two reasons. One is that Cyrilly Abels sent Plath a telegram (held by the Lilly Library) on 1 March 1955 saying "Thanks for your fine words about February and also for the stories". It is possible this is in reference to three stories Plath sent to Abels on 30 January 1955: "The Day Mr. Prescott Died", "Tongues of Stone", and "Superman and Paula Brown's New Snowsuit". The second reason we know Plath read the February 1955 issue is because in their March 1955 issue, Mademoiselle printed Plath's brief accolade referred to in Abels' telegram in the "A Penny for your thoughts…" section.

Appearing on page 64, this brief but previously unknown periodical appearance for Plath has not been recorded in any previous bibliography. Printed under a heading of "Many happy returns", Plath's text reads:
Page 64 of Mademoiselle,
March 1955 
Never have I read such a plump, magnificent issue as your February one! A very happy twentieth birthday to you.

At Smith, my friends and I were especially enchanted by the gay, lilting love poem by Donald Hall and the winsome, whimsical Peynet sketches. I reveled in the superb story by Bryan McMahon and you can imagine how I welcomed Dylan Thomas! To tell the other features I enjoyed would be to run through the contents of the whole magazine. Congratulations on the most wonderful MLLE yet -- a delight and challenge to the eye and to the mind.

S. P., Smith College, Northampton, Mass.
The February 1955 issue of Mademoiselle, as Plath mentions, printed the following works: Donald Hall's "Valentine" (p. 121), French artist Raymond Peynet's sketches under the collective title "The Path of Love" (pp. 144-145), Bryan MacMahon's "O, Lonely Moon!" (pp. 164-165, 211-216), and Dylan Thomas' short, short story "The Vest" (pp. 142-143), among other features. Here is a photograph of the Table of Contents which Plath so enthusiastically enjoyed:

And here are the Peynet sketches:

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