01 June 2016

The Letters of Sylvia Plath

As you know, I have been co-editing Sylvia Plath's letters with Karen V. Kukil of Smith College. It gives me great pleasure to let you know that recently we submitted the manuscript for The Letters of Sylvia Plath to Faber & Faber in London.

This has been an incredible journey. I have learned so much about Sylvia Plath (and Ted Hughes). About their lives and publications, as well as events in Massachusetts, England, and other places. About culture and history. And so much more.

I will give any updates I can on this blog, so for now please no questions regarding publication though I am sure you have many. Thank you all for your patience and support during this project.  My efforts were greatly enhanced by my best friends sugar and caffeine. The number of people that contributed to this project and their enthusiasm, support, and information has been extraordinary. Several people went above and beyond the call. You know who you are.

It was a privilege of the highest order to be entrusted by Frieda Hughes with the task of locating, reading, transcribing, and annotating all the known, extant letters written by Sylvia Plath. Every letter found, read, transcribed, and annotated has had you, the reader of Sylvia Plath, in mind. I cannot wait for you to read what this book. I hope this will be a building block for and a significant contribution to Plath scholarship.

Here are some pictures:

Editing the Index, mind the glare off my de Chirico-esque darning-egg head

Folders for each year

Photocopies of letters to people Not Named Aurelia Plath

Photocopies of letters to Aurelia Plath

The letters in open boxes

The boxes are closed

The letters all printed out,
next to a 1954 Royal HH typewriter, just like Plath's


Amy Rea said...

{applauds} {standing ovation}

Anonymous said...

Rock on Peter!

Peter K Steinberg said...

Thank you Amy & Anonymous. Plenty of work still to do I'm sure. Just know it's all for you and you and you and you and you and you and everyone else.


A Piece of Plathery said...

YAYYYYYYYYY just too too exciting Peter and HURRAH on a mammoth job.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Peter! So proud of you and happy to hear this news! Kim

Eva Stenskar said...

Impressive! And so exciting. Thanks for doing this.

Anonymous said...

Peter, this is wonderful news. Have always been an admirer of your work on Sylvia Plath and this edition of Plath's letters is well overdue. Thank you. Looking forward to updates. ~tim

Julia Gordon-Bramer said...

Exciting! And I like your t-shirt. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Great News! Can't wait to read.

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited about this. I've been a reader of Plath for many years now and, like many, have mourned the loss of Plath's own account of her life after the period of the surviving journals ends. Letters Home offers a brief, manipulated glance into these years...but I'm thrilled to have a far-fuller opportunity to experience Plath in her own uncensored words. Thank you for all that you've done, PKS.

Peter K Steinberg said...

Thank you multiple Anonymous people & Julia, Tim & Eva, Your enthusiasm is so wonderful. I know a lot of people have read the letters in various archives so not everything will be 'new', but seeing all the letters and reading them as a more or less complete story is fascinating. I truly cannot express how excited I am for you all to read this book.


Peter K Steinberg said...

Sorry, Kim & Melanie, I didn't meant to leave you out. I am grateful for your cheers!!! Thank you.


boston12855 said...

Peter - you have become an invaluable component of keeping SP's writing alive. All of us will be forever grateful to your enduring passion to get this most worthy project off the ground and running.

Peter K Steinberg said...

Shaun! Thank you so much for your comment, too. Your sentiment is very much appreciated, thank you. It is exactly why I spent so many hours, morning, noon, and night for so many years working, working, working on the manuscript and editing and annotating all those letters. Thank you again and again and again!


Hélène said...

Congratulations! Not much to add to what the others have said, but thank you. I cannot wait to read the book.

Anonymous said...

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your work within this blog has already given me more knowledge than I could have ever found on my own. Knowing that this collection is coming is just one more joyshout you may hear all the way from Northampton.

With Gratitude,
Richard Marsh

Jessica McCort said...

So very, very exciting (and long overdue). This is just wonderful! Good luck with the final edits, etc. Jess

Katarzyna Maicher said...

Peter, I just can't wait when I see these letters published. Do you have any news about the release date? I'm a big fan of your blog and always find so many interesting things here. Congratulations on your work! It's really impressive.

Peter K Steinberg said...

Hi Katarzyna,

Thank you very much for your comment and your kind words. Much appreciated! I do not know anything yet, so I share your anxiousness to know specifics. Believe me, though, as soon as I find anything out and am given permission to disclose information on a world-wide scale, I will blog & tweet that out. In the meantime, keep Plathing. I will too!


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Publications & Acknowledgements

  • BBC Four.A Poet's Guide to Britain: Sylvia Plath. London: BBC Four, 2009. (Acknowledged in)
  • Biography: Sylvia Plath. New York: A & E Television Networks, 2005. (Photographs used)
  • Connell, Elaine. Sylvia Plath: Killing the angel in the house. 2d ed. Hebden Bridge: Pennine Pens, 1998. (Acknowledged in)
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives." Plath Profiles 2. Summer 2009: 183-208.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives, Redux." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 232-246.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 3." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 119-138.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 4: Looking for New England." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012: 11-56.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past." Plath Profiles 6. Summer 2013: 27-62.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath. Oxford: Fonthill, 2017.
  • Death Be Not Proud: The Graves of Poets. New York: Poets.org. (Photographs used)
  • Doel, Irralie, Lena Friesen and Peter K. Steinberg. "An Unacknowledged Publication by Sylvia Plath." Notes & Queries 56:3. September 2009: 428-430.
  • Elements of Literature, Third Course. Austin, Tex. : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2009. (Photograph used)
  • Gill, Jo. "Sylvia Plath in the South West." University of Exeter Centre for South West Writing, 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Helle, Anita Plath. The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. (Photographs used, acknowledged in)
  • Helle, Anita. "Lessons from the Archive: Sylvia Plath and the Politics of Memory". Feminist Studies 31:3. Fall 2005: 631-652.. (Acknowledged in)
  • Holden, Constance. "Sad Poets' Society." Science Magazine. 27 July 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women, Motion Picture. Directed by Rachel Talbot. Brookline (Mass.): Jewish Women's Archive, 2007. (Photograph used)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Karen V. Kukil. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962. New York: Anchor Books, 2000. (Acknowledged in)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil (eds.). The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 1, 1940-1956. London: Faber, 2017. Forthcoming.
  • Plath, Sylvia. Glassklokken. Oslo: De norske Bokklubbene, 2004. (Photograph used on cover)
  • Reiff, Raychel Haugrud. Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar and Poems (Writers and Their Works). Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, 2008.. (Images provided)
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'A Fetish: Somehow': A Sylvia Plath Bookmark." Court Green 13. 2017.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'I Should Be Loving This': Sylvia Plath's 'The Perfect Place' and The Bell Jar." Plath Profiles 1. Summer 2008: 253-262.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'They Had to Call and Call': The Search for Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 106-132.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "A Perfectly Beautiful Time: Sylvia Plath at Camp Helen Storrow." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 149-166.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Proof of Plath." Fine Books & Collections 9:2. Spring 2011: 11-12.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Sylvia Plath." The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath. London: British Library, 2010.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "The Persistence of Plath." Fine Books & Collections. Autumn 2017: 24-29
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "This is a Celebration: A Festschrift for The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3 Supplement. Fall 2010: 3-14.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Writing Life" [Introduction]. Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning. Stroud, Eng.: Fonthill Media, 2014.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. Sylvia Plath (Great Writers). Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.