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Showing posts from March, 2017

Sylvia Plath's Yale Colossus

In addition to a typescript copy of Sylvia Plath's Circus in Three Rings that she compiled in Spring 1955 as she was preparing to graduate from Smith College, the Lilly Library of Indiana University, Bloomington, has a typescript copy of Plath's The Colossus and other poems in Box 8, Folder 8, that she submitted, like other collections, to the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Plath considered marketing a book to the Yale Series of Younger Poets starting in 1955, around the time she assembled her Circus in Three Rings . Also, she intended to send something to them in June 1956. Whether these first two happened or not I am not sure. Plath did submit Two Lovers and a Beachcomber on 16 February 1957 (rejected 8 August 1957) and The Bull of Bendylaw and other Poems circa late February or early March 1959 (rejected 6 June 1959). If she missed 1958 who can really be surprised because of her teaching workload. Plath appears to have submitted the Colossus manuscript to the Yale S

The Harriet Rosenstein Sylvia Plath Archive

Western Massachusetts bookseller, Ken Lopez, is selling a major collection of Sylvia Plath materials. The Harriet Rosenstein Sylvia Plath Archive is listed on his website with a sale price of $875,000. A hefty sum for, frankly, a hefty amount of important Plath and Plath-related documents. The news has me feeling like a kind outside of candy store. I can see inside, but cannot get it. The highlight of the collections are the letters and other papers that originated with Plath's "psychiatrist" Dr Ruth Beuscher Barnhouse. Included here are 14 letters from Plath to Beuscher (as was her then surname), from 18 February 1960 to 4 February 1963. Lopez estimates the 45 pages of letters consists of "about 18,000 words". In addition to the letters, there are files related to Plath's treatment at McLean Hospital from 1953-1954. Normally off-limits, these documents may reveal quite a bit about Plath's decision to attempt suicide in 1953, as well as perhaps di

Sylvia Plath's Circus Three Rings

One of the most fascinating aspects of studying Sylvia Plath's poems, particularly the late poems, is considering them through the lens of their creation date. That is one way to read them, and in doing so you can sometimes see her using words and images in a consistent fashion, but also seeing how she progresses through her subjects. For example, if you read the October 1962 poems in chronological order you can see Plath reshaping her self, if you will, in her "Bee" poems written from 3 to 9 October. After reestablishing that self (a poetic selfie?), she turns to shed external, familial subjects (burdens) like her father and mother "Daddy" and "Medusa" respectively, written back-to-back as it were on 12 and 16 October. (Plath had spent the weekend after writing "Daddy" out of town in Cornwall.) But yet the poems read quite differently when done so in the published book format. Though written second, "Medusa" appears first in Ariel: