26 January 2020

Sylvia Plath Collections: More from the New Haul at Emory

There is no experience like the experience of working with he actual papers in the archive. But this is not practical with these papers at this point in time. But I can safely safe archives fever can get a grip virtually, through surrogate researchers. This is what I am experiencing at the moment. The brain will not shut off; it keeps me up at night as if I were in the library itself during the day. And the anticipation stirs me before sunrise. Winter nights are long; but fortunately they are growing shorter.

Emily has done so many kindnesses for me---and by extension you---with the work she had done with this collection. There are a few folders I have asked her not to photograph and sometimes I think this might have been a mistake. (But the materials are there now and in the future perhaps the part of me that is a completest will want them.) Anyway, boxes 2 and 3 have been thoroughly gone through and now it is a process of reading through these files. (Boxes 1 and 4 will be seen to next.)

Picture the scene last Friday... I've take a couple of modes of transportation to get to New York City to see Gail Crowther on her visit to the US. She is meeting with her editor going over some chapters of her new book manuscript. I have some minutes to kill, so I take advantage of free wifi at a place that specializes in selling expensively priced burnt-tasting coffee to see if there are new files for downloading. There were. These were from Box 3, folders 7 through 14 (folder 10 was previously done; folder 11 skipped, those this one is really gnawing at me).

Anyway... so I start downloading. Emily is great and sends me a file count each night so that I can be certain to have downloaded everything. So going into this, around 3:30 in the afternoon, I realize not all the files may have synced up. But folder 9 has me so impatient; I was itching like a rash to see what is in it. I downloaded that one first. I saw many new letters that are not in The Letters of Sylvia Plath. I thought how unfortunate it took so long for these papers to find a home; and how sad it was the Rosenstein refused to help us with the project when I first requested help in 2013. Well, no use in crying over spilled soy milk...

In looking through the letters, the new recipients were familiar names: David Freeman (two letters); Anthony Thwaite (five letters); those letters to the Macedos (four letters); and then letters that I had seen already to Marcia Brown Stern (Volume I) and to Michael Frayn and Wilbury Crockett (both in Volume II). There are two letter excerpts from 1954 and 1955 sent by Claiborne Philips Handleman...all pieces of the Plath puzzle. But there was one letter that instantly swelled my heart when I saw it and lead my eyes to water and to also slam my laptop shut.


Amy Rea said...


Peter K Steinberg said...

That's easy, Amy! It was from Plath! It was from Plath to... oh, I gotta go...


Amy Rea said...

Stinker. :)

Jett W Whitehead said...

Peter is having so much fun, as are we who are reading on the sidelines.

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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.
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil (eds.). The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 2, 1956-1963. London: Faber, 2018.
  • 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.