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Showing posts from 2017

Sylvia Plath Year in Review 2017

2017 is rapidly coming to a close. As of right now this is supposed to be the last Sylvia Plath Info Blogpost of the year. There was, it seems, a buzz about Sylvia Plath and 2017. Don't you think? As with years passed, this blog posts looks seeks to review the year that was in Sylvia Plath. Largely from my perspective, which is limited admittedly, but I hope as always it refreshes our memories at what was undoubtedly a packed, memorable year. Sadly early in the year, Plath's friend Elizabeth Sigmund passed away. I began communicating with Elizabeth after a 2009 Guardian article ran on "Three Women" that I was interviewed for and she sought me out. We became good friends and I was thrilled to introduce her and Gail Crowther and they became even better friends. I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth and her husband William in person, with Gail, in March 2013 when presenting a paper at Plymouth University. Elizabeth was --and still is-- a lovely person. There may b

It's Apparently Sylvia Plath Gift Giving Season

So, I hope many of you are giving or receiving, as gifts, copies of The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 1: 1940-1956 and These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath . As the Belfast conference approached I took advantage of Gail Crowther's coming and had a few things sent to her to save on overseas shipping to me in the US. So, thank you Gail for being a courier! Please accept my gratitude: it is genuine… The first one is a July 1961 copy of Vogue , the British edition as it had an article in it I wanted to see by John Wain and featured a photograph of Ted Hughes taken by David Bailey. The article mentions the Poetry at the Mermaid Festival event but does not mention Plath. The above and this item were gifts to myself. The second thing that I had sent to her was a somewhat rare copy of Trevor Thomas's 1989 self-published memoir Sylvia Plath: Last Encounters . There are two copies for sale right now on ABE books for, respectively, $659 and $902. These appear to

The Education of Sylvia Plath, Smith College, 1954-1955

Sylvia Plath's final year at Smith College was tremendously successful. She lived in Lawrence House "with" Nancy Hunter (later Steiner) in what was then room 4 on the second floor (present day room number 217). Walking into the room from the main door, one is presented with a vestibule like area. On each end is a closet and there are two separate, small rooms for the residents. The windows overlooked a small tree-filled, green lawn and visit is Green Street. The main door to Plath's room The closet door The room Plath's door View to the right View to the left You can read more about this room in These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath by Gail Crowther and myself. And you can read more about Plath's time at Harvard Summer School and her relationship with Nancy Hunter Steiner in Steiner's A Closer Look at Ariel: A Memory of Sylvia Plath (Harper's Magazine Press, 1973; Faber and Faber 1974). Plath strung Go

The Education of Sylvia Plath, Smith College and Harvard, 1954

This post looks at the Education of Sylvia Plath for the spring semester, 1954, and at the courses she took at Harvard Summer School, 1954. Sylvia Plath returned to Smith College for the second semester of the 1953-1954 academic year. She resumed living in Lawrence House and during the spring had her own room (it was the same room she lived in the previous year, 1952-1953, but she had no roommate). It is unknown what courses Plath had signed up to take when decisions were made in the spring of 1953. It might be that the courses she took in the Spring of 1954 were among them; but it might also be that she was experimental. Plath officially took three courses: English 321b, American Fiction 1830-1900 : Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, and James. M T W 9. Newton Arvin. Russian 35b,Tolstoy and Dostoevsky : M T W 12. George Gibian. History 38b, Intellectual History of Europe in the Nineteenth Century : Main trends of thought in their relation to the political, social, and economic backg

Art at Sylvia Plath Conference in Belfast

In each of the four Sylvia Plath conferences, art has been a major component of the events. Art, as in art inspired by Sylvia Plath. Several musical compositions have been featured as well. The Sylvia Plath Conference in Belfast, from 10-11 November, continued this tradition. Bella Biddle wowed us with her a choral composition of "Nick and the Candlestick" which I mentioned in my day one review of the conference. But unintentionally omitted from the previous recap-posts were a more detailed exploration of Christine Walde's exhibit, and, as well, artwork sent to the conference from Macedonia by Kristina Zimbakova. One the first day, in the first panel, speaker Christine Walde spoke on "<maniacs.>: Exploring marginalia and materiality in library copies of Sylvia Plath's catalogue" which was a fascinating discussion on how we are readers interact with Plath's texts. From Christine's abstract: For many years, I have been fascinated by the