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Showing posts from April, 2022

Ex-libris Sylvia Plath book on the market

Raptis Rare Books has recently listed for sale a copy of Alice Turner Curtis's A Little Maid of Vermont formerly belonging to Sylvia Plath. The book was given to Plath by her mother Aurelia Schober Plath with an inscription date of 10 February 1941, when the Plaths were still living in Winthrop, Massachusetts. The price is $12,500 . The book comes with a four-page handwritten letter of provenance by Wellesley neighbor Cara Cruickshank.  The catalog description reads: "Philadelphia: The Penn Publishing Company, 1927. "First edition of the author’s children’s classic; from the library of Sylvia Plath. Octavo, original cloth, illustrated by Grace Norcross. Presentation copy, inscribed by Sylvia Plath’s mother on the front free endpaper, “Feb. 10, 1941 To my sweetheart, Sylvia from Mommy” and with her father, Otto Plath’s, embossed library stamp. Sylvia Plath was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Her mother, Aurelia Schober Plath, was a second-generation American of Austrian d

Rare photograph of and letter by Sylvia Plath

Sometimes your breath is taken away. Sometimes you wish you were filthy rich. Sometimes these things happen at the very same moment. Yesterday, a rare photograph of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes taken by James Coyne in 1958 was made available on the market by James Cummins Bookseller in New York City . Priced at $25,000, the photograph includes a note from Plath to her in-laws Edith and William Hughes.    Several other images of Plath and Hughes from this session are well known. One was included as is mentioned by Plath and in Cummins' description in the article "Four Young Poets" in  January 1959 issue of Mademoiselle .  Cummins also has for sale a copy of the limited edition Trois Poèmes Inédits , which has been featured on this blog before. I thought I wrote more than what I did and more recently. But, clearly I am mistaken. All links accessed 26 April 2022. If you benefited from this post or any content on the Sylvia Plath Info Blog, my website for Sylvia Plath ( A cel

Published Today! The Bloomsbury Handbook to Sylvia Plath

While the book was released electronically in March, today The Bloomsbury Handbook to Sylvia Plath , edited by Anita Helle, Amanada Golden, and Maeve O'Brien is officially published in hardback. Congratulations!!!! Order now from  the publisher website , or from other booksellers including  Barnes & Noble ,  Blackwells ,  Waterstones , and, of course,  Amazon .  From the website:  The Bloomsbury Handbook to Sylvia Plath covers a full range of contemporary scholarship on Plath's work, including such topics as: New insights from the publication of Plath's letters Current scholarly perspectives: feminist and gender studies, archival studies, race, disability studies, space and place Plath's poetry, her novel, The Bell Jar, and her writing for children Plath's literary contexts, from the Classics and the long poem to W.B. Yeats, Edith Sitwell, Ruth Fainlight, Carol Ann Duffy, and Ted Hughes Plath's broadcasting work for the BBC New perspectives on media and pe

A copy of Sylvia Plath's A Winter Ship

Last week, another copy of Sylvia Plath's A Winter Ship (Tragara Press, 1960) sold via eBay for $2507.75 . This originated from the stock of 22 sold last June in the Bonhams auction that saw Frieda Hughes sell off the remaining commercial and limited editions of her mother's work.  This week, that very copy of A Winter Ship appeared on eBay  (and ABE Books) for more than double at $5,500. ( The price on ABE is more, at $5,995 .) This is business, but this just feels dirty. This was bound to happen; in fact it has been happening with many titles from that Bonhams sale since it took place. You can tell it is the same as each of the copies of this poem have different covers. In this instance you can see the same blob of white to the right of the pasted on title.  The new seller appears to have even saved the original listings images and is just re-using them. This is beautifully lazy. I also love---note, please, that is sarcasm---that one can spend more than $5,000 on a book an

Sylvia Plath: For the Money

In the spring of 1958, in the waning days of her teaching year at Smith College, Sylvia Plath wrote in her journal on Sunday, 13 April: Back in Northampton - still slightly out of focus, eager, in spite of vestigial fatigue, to hear from poems sent out, from innumerable contests entered with great gullibility - the dole pineapple & heinz ketchup contests close this week, but the French's mustard, fruit-blended oatmeal & slenderella & Libby-tomato juice contests don't close till the end of May. We stand to win five cars, two weeks in Paris, a year's free food, and innumerable iceboxes & refrigerators and all our debts paid. Glory glory. I suppose nobody intelligent or poor ever wins. I suppose people named Ponter Hughes never win. (365) Here are two adverts from the Boston Globe about the "fruit-blended oatmeal" contest and the "slenderella & Libby-tomato juice" contests. If you benefited from this post or any content on the Sylvia Pl

The typescript for Sylvia Plath's Letters Home

In my previous trip to the Lilly Library in March 2015, where much of the research went into T he Letters of Sylvia Plath , I skimmed the surface of the typescript pages for Aurelia Schober Plath's Letters Home . In it were located copies of two letters that Sylvia Plath sent to Margaret Cantor, her employer for the second half of the summer of 1952. But an exhaustive search through the typescripts could not be undertaken due to more pressing research needs. Finding two letters was wonderful, and I knowingly passed on the chance to look page by page for any other letters.  On Monday and Tuesday of this week I did do such a chore. And it was a chore but it did provide a nice break from standing up and from taking photographs. The paper is ludicrously thin and hard to handle. It also does not stack nicely and neatly, which is frustrating to someone like me who prefers things orderly and squared. The paper is largely either pink in color, or green. Transcriptions of the letters to War

Update from the Sylvia Plath Archive: Day 3

My third and final day in the archive was much like the first two: inundated with the papery artefacts of Sylvia Plath's life. Yesterday I ended the day in Box 15 which has a disbound publications scrapbook that with items from 1949 to 1959. The bulk of the materials are before 1955, with a smattering of later stuff which lead me to conclude that possibly this was a scrapbook created by Aurelia Plath. The original pages on which these documents were taped do not appear to be extant, so if they were annotated (and by whom) is a mystery. There are a few examples on some of the clippings with Mrs. Plath's and Olive Higgins Prouty's handwriting (particularly 1959). Very interesting though. The scrapbook is in 66 folders (one folder per page, basically) and it has payment stubs, letters, and clippings. And that was what I intended to start today with.  However, I decided to veer off course when I was settling in for the morning and called to see a First Folio of Shakespeare. It

Update from the Sylvia Plath Archive: Day 2

Most of the evening last night I spent organizing my notes and photographs, renaming files frim IMG_9938 to something more meaningful like "Heavy_Women_original_The_Bell_Jar". This, in particular, is a reference to some papers in Plath mss., that first Plath collection the Lilly Library acquired. The finding aid for this reads, "Removed from verso of typescript fragment of The Bell Jar ." Another poem, "Small Hours" has text related to the novel, too: "verso of typescript fragment of The Bell Jar ." Looking further down the finding aid, there is a cross-reference under The Bell Jar 's entry: "'Small Hours' and 'Heavy Women' removed from versos." So I wanted to see these pages to make sense of how the poems were removed from the typescript pages.  The typescript is page 136 and there are two copies. The scene of the novel depicted is when Esther Greenwood tells her family doctor "I can't sleep. I can't re

Update from the Sylvia Plath Archive: Day 1

Today was the first in-person archival research trip in many years. My first at Indiana since March of 2015. It was a truly strange feeling to be traveling again by airplane; and to stay in a hotel. I took a walk around campus and downtown Bloomington when I arrived and enjoyed the clear skies and signs of spring.  A hill full of daffodils above Campus River This my sixth visit to the Lilly Library (2002, 2003, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2022). I began the day with Plath mss which consists of the "scrap paper" Plath herself sold to a London book dealer in 1961. She knew the papers were going to join those of Ted Hughes (Hughes mss) at Indiana University and it is a thrill to work with these papers in particular. And knowing that Plath knew where they were header---in her lifetime---makes these papers, among all the other archival documents that exist, seem more significant in some ways.  After Plath mss, I went on the Plath mss II, and looked at a few boxes I wanted to spend more time

Launching the CTRL+pks™ Sylvia Plath Info Shortcut

Today I am really excited to announce the launch of the Sylvia Plath Info desktop app shortcut for your computer. I was hoping to make it free, but the costs of developing, testing, and implementing it just ran too high. I've set the price at $4.01. Why the penny? Well, ever since I first heard Madonna sing "Only boys who save their pennies / Make my rainy day", I've been a penny saver. Once downloaded, you will need to register with a valid email. Once that has been verified, the Sylvia Plath Info™ desktop app can be accessed by clicking CTRL+pks™ on your keyboard. This will get you direct access to me to answer all your Sylvia Plath questions. No matter where I am: working, reading, sleeping, the toilet, traveling: anywhere, just click CTRL+pks and I will respond within moments. Queries will be cached and the behind the scenes algorithms will learn the kinds of answers people seek. So eventually the burden of being available 24/7/365(6) should lessen. Select files

My Own Sylvia Plath Tattoo

LovingSylviaPlath's recent talk at the Sylvia Plath Society's online conference inspired me to do something I swear I thought I would never, ever do. And that is to get a tattoo. Any not just any tattoo: but a Sylvia Plath-inspired tattoo. No, I did not get a $15 Eagle to pay homage to one of my favorite short stories. That might have been too predictable. No, I decided to honor Plath's longer prose, The Bell Jar , and get a tattoo of a turkey neck and turkey gizzards. Buddy, the most complete and fully realized character in the novel, and the one for whom we, as readers, develop the most sympathy and compassion, is a worthy fictional character to immortalize in ink. In addition, I decided to have it captioned "Poems are dust" in Olde English script, because I'm kind of classic like that. The total cost was $401. Not bad. And my doctor said the tetanus I got from it will clear up in a few months.   Editing a recent project Close-up Founded twelve years ago i