15 October 2018

Sylvia Plath: Film Buff

One cannot read and work with Sylvia Plath's letters, diaries, scrapbooks, or pocket calendars without noticing a trend. She loved movies, plays, and late in her life, the opera. She took in a film whenever and wherever she could in Wellesley, Boston, the Cape, Northampton, Cambridge (US and UK), London, and New York, to name several cities she cultivated in her quest for culture.

When I was working on the Letters of Sylvia Plath, I included the cinema or theater name for the films, plays, etc. that she attended. I did this for a couple of reasons, one of which was this kind of information interested me and so I felt compelled to record it in case there are other like minded Plath readers out there. I wrote a little about this recently on Gail Crowther's website in a piece called "The Archival Stretch".

After a while of repeatedly seeing reference to these events, I decided to compile a list of all the films, plays, and what not that Plath took in using all the resources that I had available to me. I kept a list of them (and other noteworthy notes) on a folder and the worked on transcribing that into a Word document.


This is not a fully comprehensive list because, for example, there are no pocket (or personal) calendars for 1957-1961 that we know of. Plath did see a film with Susan O'Neill-Roe and her then boyfriend, Corin Stanton-Hughes in January 1963. She wrote on 16 January 1963, "Sue & her sweet boyfriend Corin took me out to a movie the other night" (Letters Vol 2, 958). However, the film is not named. One can see what films were on at the time but one can at the moment only guess which it was.

After this long pre-amble, this blog post is to simply announce that the bibliography of films, plays, etc. that Plath saw is now available as a PDF on A celebration, this is, my website for Sylvia Plath. I had to wait to post this until both volumes of Plath's letters were published as the information in them was under strict embargo by the publisher.

Here are some of the listings for events Plath took in: Janie Gets Married; a concert on the Esplanade in Boston; The Cabinet of Dr Caligari; Galileo; and Through a Glass Darkly!





If I ever learn of new things to add I will do so; and of course if you spot any errors please do let me know.

All links accessed: 27 August 2018.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Peter,thank u for this AMAZING HUGE work u've done, I don't wanna know how long it took to u to do it, it surely took so long to gather all these infos to get this complete list. Being a passionate of cinema/theatre/opera and Sylvia Plath myself u cannot even imagine the gift u've just made to me and am gonna save the pdf document and print it and gonna soon want to catch up with all the movies she saw and the ones I missed in my life sofar. Thank u so much Peter for this further great job u did and thank u so much for sharing it.
Sincerely, with all my best greetings, Alina.

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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.

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