24 August 2017

Call for Sylvia Plath Help

If you have been visiting the Sylvia Plath Info Blog for any amount of time, you know that 24 August usually features something relating to Plath's first suicide attempt on that day in 1953. There are many posts "tagged" with "First Suicide Attempt". I'd encourage you all to click through these posts to see a history of the work I did on building a full bibliography of the articles that I have located.

The post I had long intended for this year's anniversary was the announcement that I had transcribed all the articles that I had found to date. But I decided to post that on 1 January as I could not see sitting on that for most of the year.

In the past, I have asked for help from readers of this blog to search through their local library's and university's microfilms to see if they can find missing articles. To date, no one has heeded the call. So... I am asking now, again, for some helping in building on the bibliography. 

If you have any interest in what the house at 26 Elmwood Road is like, please do read the section of Chapter 4 "'A house redolent with ghosts...': Plath’s domestic and creative spaces" (pp. 93-99) in my book with Gail Crowther, These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath, published earlier this year by Fonthill. (Book Depository).

All links accessed 17 August 2017.


Anonymous said...

Hi, i thought first suicide attempt was at 10 ys old. Also Sylvia herself tells it in "Lady Lazarus" poem. So now i feel confused.. and then (but just my opinion!) all her suicide attempts ,last one included, were not real attempts at all, i m firmly sure that all of them were clear and very evident cries for help , ways to sort yes to gamble with death but clearly not serious intention to put an end to her life, but a way to try to and at the same time to ask for attention/cry for help/ to be then saved.. then why also in the last suicide did she write that note to call Dr.Horder? If she was so sure she was going to put an end to her life she wouldnt have surely left that kind of sentence. But this is only my opinion. You know more without doubt (and things that still not can be unveiled yet, alas, i think) Cheers, Peter! And thank u very much for the AMAZING work u re doing about SP and for your latest book of letters. Neverending thankyous. Alba.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, i was so focused/concentrated in writing my comment that i forgot to add to say that in her last suicide attempt which, according to me was a mere and only cry for help , and not clearly a serious intention of killing herself, something went wrong and she managedit ,without wanting. That's then i think the reason/the explanation of/for the note she left. And sorry also for having left a comment more about the last suicide then about the second one, of the one u are today talking about,and the one we all should talk about since/hence the dates (24-2y august) Alba

Peter K Steinberg said...

Thank you, Alba, for your comments. As a poem, "Lady Lazarus" does make the claim that the speaker attempted suicide at 10. But there is no evidence for this. Although I think it was Philip McCurdy, a Wellesley boy/friend, who claimed that Plath tried to cut her throat at 10? But again, there's no evidence. The 1953 pill overdose is the first suicide attempt.

We're all allowed and encouraged to have our own opinions on whether or not SP was serious, or the degrees of seriousness, of SP's suicide attempts. The note for Doctor Horder may have served for a couple of purposes: to get help for SP if she was found in time and/or to get him there if too late to save SP for the children.

Thank you above all for your kind words about my work on Plath. Thank you very very much. ~pks

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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.