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Showing posts from 2021

Dr Maeve O’Brien's "Everything you ever wanted to know about Sylvia Plath (but were afraid to ask)"

Online Class Event - Everything you ever wanted to know about Sylvia Plath (but were afraid to ask) Get your new year off to a Plath-filled start with scholar and Plath aficionado, Dr Maeve O'Brien who is running a six-week online course all about Sylvia Plath, starting 13th January 2022! Maeve's credentials speak for themselves – she wrote her PhD (2017) on Plath, has published many articles on this subject and is also co-editor of the forthcoming Bloomsbury Handbook to Sylvia Plath. But really - Maeve is also just a massive fangirl who loves the work of Plath and has had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with her words, visit her archives and see the places she's lived. This course is borne out of a love for Sylvia Plath and Maeve's belief in feminist community learning – you do not need to have an academic knowledge of Sylvia Plath: you just have to have an interest and show up! Join a global classroom and meet people from all over the world who want to lea

"A very large charge": Sylvia Plath Year in Review 2021

The back-to-back auctions in June and July hosted by, respectively, Bonhams and Sotheby's , of items belonging to Frieda Hughes, and formerly belonging to either her mother Sylvia Plath, or father, Ted Hughes, were the focal points of this year in Sylvia Plath. The auctions featured very different items for each sale. The first was largely books published after Plath's death, both commercial books as well as remaining stock of limited editions. However there were some exceptions to that as there were items definitely owned by Plath in her lifetime. The ability to watch the auction live---and to bid---was something that is a truly magical experience. Nerve-wracking, too. The results of the Bonhams auction can be revisited here . From my point of view, the 24 total copies split between three lots of A Winter Ship , published by the Tragara Press in 1960, were the highlight here. (A 25th copy sold earlier this month via Bonhams, which was inadvertently left out of the June auctio

Heritage sells a copy of Sylvia Plath's A Winter Ship (1960)

Heritage Auctions has sold a copy of Sylvia Plath's A Winter Ship (Tragara Press, 1960). This just 8 days following Bonhams selling one. But there is a difference. While the Bonhams copy was a 25th originating from Plath and her Estate, Heritage sold one of the 22 copies from the very large lot ( Lot 141 ) of copies that sold at Bonhams last June. That sentence is confusing! The winner of that big June lot appears to be Nate D Sanders. In addition to selling this one via Heritage, he is offering two copies on eBay for $15,000 each. Copy 1 is here  and  Copy 2 is here . Sanders formerly had a copy of the publication on his website for $6,000 . Sanders was active in the 2018 Bonhams auction, too.   Lot 45118 of the Heritage Auction, which closed yesterday, the 9th, sold for $3,750 (including buyer's premium). The wrappers for all these copies have different marbled patterns, which makes each one in its own way a rather unique item. There appear to have been a total of twenty-fi

Bonhams sells Sylvia Plath's A Winter Ship

On 1 December 2021, Bonhams in Knightsbridge sold a twenty-fifth unique copy of Sylvia Plath's A Winter Ship (1960) in Lot 159 their Fine Books & Manuscripts sale (26775). The final sale price was £2,167 (US$ 2,891) inc. premium, which for this edition may be an auction record. Earlier in the year, in June, an individual copy sold for £1,402 . So, a considerable amount more of money was needed this time around to win the limited edition pamphlet produced by Alan Anderson of the Tragara Press.  All links accessed 1 December 2021.

Did you know... Assia Wevill reading Sylvia Plath's works

Assia Wevill read Sylvia Plath's writings in the weeks and months and years after Plath's death on 11 February 1963. Wevill's recently published Collected Writings reveals as much, as well as her comments to Nathaniel Tarn which he faithfully recorded and are held by Stanford University. On 12 March 1963, Wevill met Tarn who noted the following: "T.H. wants to get her poems out as quickly as possible. There is also a question of a novel. Under the name of Victoria Lucas she had brought out an autobiographical novel “The Bell Jar”. The 2nd novel includes the Wevills, under the name of the Goof-Hoppers; and shocked Assia by its portrait of David who is presented as detestable & contemptible. A. is of course the icy barren woman. In the novel, apart from SP who is full of poems, kicks & kids, there are only saints and miserable sinners. She hopes TH will destroy this." Around this time, Ted Hughes gave David Machin, Plath's new editor at Heinemann, permi

Sylvia Plath's Empty Calendar Boxes

Plath's 1950-1953 journal Entry 118 in Sylvia Plath's journals shows her using some of her own primary source materials that she used in her active daily life which are held now in her archives.  Of course, the journal is an object we all know of, and a document with which some have even worked. But she references her wall calendar which she had with her that year at Smith College, in Wellesley, and in Swampscott, at the least.   Plath writes in her journal: "Suddenly, I stopped dead. I had opened my calendar to the month of August as usual, to write in the neat white box labeled with day and date, a scant summary of the activities completed in the last 12 hours. Sickened, I saw that I had unwittingly completed the last day of August. Tomorrow would be September. God!" (93). Because Plath's archives are dispersed all over the place, sometimes it can only be through visiting multiple archives, multiple times, before things really crystallize and make sense. Thi

Sylvia Plath and Man at Yale

This blog has highlighted the Amherst young men that Sylvia Plath knew and mentioned in her letters. And, as well, a "who's who" at Smith College from Plath's time, looking specifically at the administrators and teachers circa 1957-8. This blog post looks at Yale students. You have the letters and journals, by now, so I will leave you to work with the notes and index to read the ways in which Plath mentions and interacted with these fellows. The list of men here is from the Letters and is in the order of their appearance. Frustratingly, not all of the players in Plath's life had usable photographs in digitized editions of Yale's yearbook. So I did the best that I could in finding them and even had to go to other resources for a few. For many that was their high school yearbook and even digitized newspapers. I was unable to find a photograph of Joze Kostelec (1930–2014). Vol I. Charles Perry Norton (1932– ) Richard Allen Norton (1929– ) Oliver Trull Ca

Published Today: The Collected Writings of Assia Wevill

Published today by the LSU Press is The Collected Writings of Assia Wevill , co-edited by Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick and Peter K. Steinberg. ISBN: 9780807171356. The book is available directly from the  LSU website , and, as well, via  Amazon  and other book websites. Please consider buying from local, independent bookstores. If you live outside of the US you can order it from Book Depository or from the press directly. Thank you for considering buying our book. Please join us this Saturday for a Zoom book launch! 1 p.m. New York time. The description of the book: " The Collected Writings of Assia Wevill marks a significant development in literary recovery efforts related to Assia Wevill (1927–1969), who remains a critically important figure in the life and work of the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Sylvia Plath and the British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. Editors Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick and Peter K. Steinberg located over 150 texts authored by Assia Wevill and curated them into a coll

Bonhams to sell a copy of Sylvia Plath's A Winter Ship

On 1 December 2021, Bonhams is offering in Auction 26775 a copy of Sylvia Plath's A Winter Ship , printed by the Tragara Press in 1960. 24 copies sold in three separate lots in their June auction, and this is a 25th copy with provenance to Plath, the Estate of Sylvia Plath, and Frieda Hughes.  The Lot is 159 , and the estimated price is £800-1,200/US$1,100-1,600. Happy bidding and good luck!   All links accessed 5 November 2021.

Another Reversed Sylvia Plath Photograph

Earlier this year in May, I did a blog post on a reversed photograph  of Sylvia Plath that was printed in the Cambridge newspaper Varsity . In that post, I alluded to having found another one. Well, here you go. This one appeared first in Bitter Fame . This is the photograph that appeared in the book... Plath was right handed and like most righties, she wore her watch on her left hand. (Though there are some freaks out there, such as myself, who are right-handed and wear their watch on their right wrist!) But in the image above you can see the watch appears on her "right" wrist.  Below the photograph has been flipped horizontally. Now the watch appears on her left wrist and the squirmy-looking baby Frieda Hughes is primarily nestled in her right arm, her baby-bum supported by Plath's probably stronger hand, the right one.  The first post on reversed images, Parting Ways with Sylvia Plath , appeared in 2013. I hope that you find these posts useful, helpful, and interesting

Book Launch: The Collected Writings of Assia Wevill

Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick and I would like to invite any and all interested in our book, The   Collected Writings of Assia Wevill, to join us on Zoom for a celebratory book launch. We plan to each read a letter, a journal entry, a poem, and discuss a bit why the book was important to us to bring out. Time permitting we can field some questions.  Date: Saturday, 13 November 2021 Time: 1 pm, Eastern US time Duration: 30-45 minutes Click here to register!!    Remember to use discount code 04GIFT when you order direct from the LSU Press .  All links accessed 30 October and 1 November 2021.

Two Unattributed Published Sylvia Plath Poems

On the first of this year, I was going through some paperwork and computer files for a book-in-progress (more about this in my Year in Review post in December), and I stumbled upon two poems Sylvia Plath published towards the end of her sophomore year at Smith College.  I tweeted about it , drafted this blog post, and then forgot all about posting it because other things made it up on the blog first.  I knew as far back as 2015 that  Plath had published something in the Commencement, 1952, issue of Campus Cat , but the humor magazine lists contributors but anonymizes the work therein by not including by-lines. Campus Cat  does not appear in Plath's hand on extant typescripts of the poems that I have seen...but it is certain I have not seen all of Plath's this might not be news to some... On page 1 of the issue, Plath's poem "Virus TV: (We Don't Have a Set Either)" appears under the title "T.V. Or Not T.V.", and there is a prose parag

Famous Quotes of Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath inspires us all in various and wonderful ways. She is in many respects a form of comfort to us, which is something that Esther Greenwood expresses in The Bell Jar , about a bath: "There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them. Whenever I'm sad I'm going to die, or so nervous I can't sleep, or in love with somebody I won't be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: 'I'll go take a hot bath.'" We read and remember Sylvia Plath for many reasons, many of them deeply personal and private. But we commemorate her, too, in very public ways, as Anna of the long-standing Tumblr Loving Sylvia Plath , has been tracking, in the form of tattoos. (Anna's on Instagram with it too, as SylviaPlathInk .) The above bath quote is among Sylvia Plath's most famous. It often appears here and there and it is stripped of its context. But I think most people will know it is from her nove