Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2020

Sylvia Plath's Postcards: 29 June 1961, Rouen, France

Sylvia Plath sent three picture postcards to her mother when she and Ted Hughes visited France in June and July 1961. The purpose was a holiday, but also to go to the farmhouse of Dido and W. S. Merwin in Lacan de Loubressac. This post is about the first card; the other two will be highlighted in a bit. These are the last three picture postcards that we know Plath sent. Meaning, she might have sent others, but if she did we did not have access to them for The Letters of Sylvia Plath project. The first picture postcard that Plath sent to her mother depicted "ROUEN (Seine-Maritime) Le Gros Horloge (1389) L'Arcade (1151)." Dated Thursday, 29 June 1961, the postmark was from Rouen, Seine Maritime, France, on the same day. The postcard was published by Les Editions d'Art, 15 rue Martel, in the 10th Arrondissement. The stamp was .30 Francs and depicted Jean Nicot designed by J. Combet. The postcard is numbered "1" in pencil in the top right corner above th

Reading Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

In 2019, Faber and Faber issued two new editions of The Bell Jar . They were discussed in this September 2019 blog post . As some of you may know, I read Sylvia Plath's lone published novel twice a year and have done so since 1995. I read it in June because that's the month that Plath was a guest editor for Mademoiselle in 1953 and it is also the month in which a lot of the setting of the novel takes place. And I read it in December, because that is the month in which I first read it in 1994. This blog post is drawn from my most recent read, and that is of the 90th Anniversary edition, pictured left, and published last year. It is the first time that I have read a modern (post-1990s) edition in well more than a decade. Why? Because before then, Faber had used the same typesetting of the novel that Heinemann used and thus it would have been the exact text that Plath herself saw when she received her copy of her novel in December 1962. I spotted two typographical errors

Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar: Esther and Doreen and Men and Bloody Cheeks

When I read  The Bell Jar  it is my hope to see something new. To make a connection within the novel itself or perhaps some connection to Plath's own lived life and experiences. In this particular read in June 2020, I was giddy when I noticed the parallels between Doreen's first meeting with Lenny Shepherd and Esther Greenwood's decidedly different first meeting with Marco. In fact, Esther's "I felt myself melting into the shadows like the negative of a person I'd never seen before in my life" feels like foreshadowing. So, let us begin... Doreen is dressed in white. She is so white "she looked silver". Esther dresses in black. Lenny approaches Doreen (and Esther) in the cab; Esther is brought to Marco by Doreen. Lenny's skeevy friends laugh from their safe distance under the awning of a bar. Laughter is heard through the door when Esther arrives to meet Marco; and someone laughs when Marco suggests he might "perform some small

Sylvia Plath OTD: 18 June 1953

This was going to be a simple tweet about what happened "On this day" in Sylvia Plath's life, but it soon unraveled to be too much for a tweet... On this day, 18 June 1953, Sylvia Plath was more than half-way through her stint as a Guest Editor at Mademoiselle magazine. She was just a day or so through her traumatic ptomaine poisoning which wiped out her schedule for a day or so. This post includes some of the information I acquired and used during the project to publish The Letters of Sylvia Plath . On that particular Thursday, Plath toured the United Nations and had lunch and coffee there with Gary Karmiloff, whom she met through the Norton family. In the afternoon, Plath was scheduled to tour John Frederics Hats (then at 29 E. 48th Street, New York) but opted to, in stead, attend the UN trusteeship session. Here is an article from the Wellesley Townsman showing that Karmiloff stayed with the Nortons. Kamirloff at the time lived on the 12th floor at 95 Christo

The Sylvia Plath Zoomposiums I & II

When Gail Crowther and I starting planning for the Sylvia Plath Zoomposiums I think it is safe to say we were nervous. What if no one signed up? We figured an audience of five was better than nothing, and so we tried to line up solid groups of presenters that might attract a decent group of listeners. I am not sure I can speak for Gail, but strangely enough the more people that registered the less nervous I truly was. How would the technology work? The thought that things could go weird or horribly wrong were more prevalent than that they might just go smoothly. Happily, the events went relatively well. It all felt warm and collegiate and supportive. Though I know some people had connectivity issues and could not stay logged in for which I am sorry. However, this is why we recorded it and why we are very happy to make both available on the Sylvia Plath Info YouTube channel. Zoomposium I (recorded 30 May 2020) featuring: Mona Arsi, Heather Clark, Sarah Corbett, Amanda Golden, Jul

Sylvia Plath Zoomposium II Schedule

The Sylvia Plath Zoomposium II, to be held Saturday, 6 June 2020, will start at 10 am NY Time (3 PM London time). Thank you so much for registering and for your attention throughout the hours you will spend in front of your computer or other device. The interest in these Zoom events has been so wonderful. Very warm. We are working to schedule additional Zoomposiums and have a number of speakers interested. So look for more on that in the future. The following shows the order of speakers. As with the first Zomposium two days ago, we will plan to start at 10 am EDT/3PM BST sharp and proceed straight through each speaker with no breaks. Di Beddow Gail Crowther Eva Stenskar Peter Fylder Peter K. Steinberg Julie Irigaray Dorka Tamas Emily Van Duyne Giulia de Gregorio Listo Kitty Shaw Carl Rollyson