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 collected scholarly edition of her letters, journals, poems, and other creative writings. These documents chronicle her personal and professional lives, her experiences as a single working mother in 1960s London, her domestic life with Hughes, and her celebrated translations of poetry by Yehuda Amichai. The Collected Writings of Assia Wevill offers an invaluable documentary resource for understanding a woman whose life continues to captivate readers and scholars."

One thing I hope this book reveals to its readers is that there are some similarities between Sylvia Plath and Assia Wevill that have never heretofore been realized. What is lost in the drama of the infamous affair and the suicide(s) is that initially they got along and were, indeed, friendly and met for social occasions before Plath and Hughes jettisoned for North Tawton. It was a privilege to be asked to work on this book with Julie. I learned a lot about Wevill and am proud to help restore her largely silenced voice.

When I was transcribing the letters, I paused for a few moments on Wevill's 30 January 1944 letter to Keith Gems. She writes, "makes one regret having been born a girl" (20). That, of course, reminded me of Plath's own sentiment recorded in her journal entry 93 written on circa 17-18 July 1951, "Being born a woman is my awful tragedy" (77).

Thank you all for your support during the project, which started around May 2018, just as I was finishing up the final proofing of The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume II. It felt wonderful to move straight into another editorial project, and to have the opportunity to work with Julie. After our investigation into the whole Ted Hughes trunk situation at Emory, I know that Julie would be a tireless, ideal co-editor, who gave at least 200% of herself, if not more, to the project. I am in awe of her. From then to now has been a fulfilling project, though it was not always easy as several trying and significant life events took place in the intervening months. But, we did it. The book is published. 

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All links accessed 31 July and 9 November 2021.