Sylvia Plath Collections: The Rosenstein Tapes

Earlier this spring, which is when I meant to post this, I received an update email from Sarah Quigley, an archivist at Emory. She let me know some of the changes and updates I provided last year to their Rosenstein tapes finding aid (and The Keep, their digital repository) had been made. (I blogged about this information on 9 November and again on 16 November.) And, also, Sarah wanted to let me know that a tape previously, erroneously skipped from being digitized, was now available. 

The tape is v5xt9 (Side A) and v5xs5 (Side B) and is attributed to Suzette Macedo.  Listening to both sides of the tape, each about 32 minutes and change, was rewarding and baffling and disturbing in unequal measures. 

Side A features Rosenstein and a man going over how to use the tape recorder. After about 1 minute 25 seconds, it picks up the conversation with Suzette Macedo which that can be found on tape v8ggs. Then, at about 10:40 and for the rest of the side, speaking are two men, one or both possibly stoned out of their heads talking about, well, I do not want to write what they are talking about. Their chatter continues onto Side B for about ten minutes. There is silence for a very long time, some gibberish, and the silence again. 

Emory's finding aid is online here.

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All links accessed 28 April 2021.


Comments

  1. Is the gibberish Plath-related? Very odd.

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    1. No. The last bits that are gibberish aren't Plath related. It's clear to me that periodically Rosenstein used the same time to record over something else. Which is regrettable as that means there is much content lost forever.

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  2. Clear that Harriet didn’t listen to all of it before submitting. There’s one section where, after interviewing a fellow student of Sylvia’s from Cambridge, Harriet breaks in to say it is a couple months later and sounding upset, says she hates herself for being a spy.
    She has nothing to be ashamed of, these tapes are the best secondary resource in the literature. I came away thinking Marcia Brown held back a lot, Patricia Pratson knew Sylvia incredibly well, Susan Roe made sure not to volunteer anything more than the minimum she was asked, Mallory Wober still hadn’t gotten over Sylvia. Dr Horder’s admissions of his mistakes and why he made them are chiling. Better than any of the bios so far.


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