25 July 2016

Kirsten Dunst to Adapt Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

On Wednesday, 20 July, it was announced that Kirsten Dunst is set to make her directorial debut with a new adaptation of Sylvia Plath's only finished novel, The Bell Jar, starring Dakota Fanning in the lead role as Esther Greenwood. Since then, the news has gone viral which is not surprising in the least.

In 2007, word spread that a film was in the works headlined by Julia Stiles and Tristine Skyler (screenplay), but unfortunately this project did not come to fruition. In fact, a blog post about the project was the second post ever here on the Sylvia Plath Info Blog. In May 2008, I posted a letter from Julia Stiles herself on this blog about the project.

We can and should lament that the Stiles/Skyler project never happened. I witnessed them conducting research at Smith College and provided information and resources when asked. So I know first-hand the lengths to which they went in creating a screenplay that would honor Plath herself and the work she did in writing The Bell Jar. And we must hope that Dunst's adaptation will display the same level of commitment -- and be as faithful as possible -- to Plath's excellent novel. I say this with the wretched liberties* taken by the writer(s) and director of 1979 film version of The Bell Jar in mind, as well as the trend recently toward restoration. What the Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath and Ariel: The Restored Edition, published in 2000 and 2004 respectively, did was to begin a shift in the accessibility of Plath's original texts, representing her powerful and authentic voice and vision as she intended. (The forthcoming Letters of Sylvia Plath that I edited with Karen V. Kukil, of course, was guided by this very same principle.) These are, of course, textual works which are very different to adaptations of those works into film and can have a different audience. But I do not see why we should not hope the same of Hollywood as we do London and New York publishers.

There is no better homage to Plath's The Bell Jar than to cinematically represent, as closely to the original as possible, the novel that millions of people around the world -- of all ages, backgrounds, native languages and much more -- have read, loved, re-read, related to, and recommended for more than half a century.

All links accessed 22 July 2016.

*These liberties resulted, in part, in a famous, or rather infamous, lawsuit.

20 July 2016

Sylvia Plath and The Bradford, Part 3: 1949-1950

In Sylvia Plath's senior year at Bradford Senior High, 1949-1950, she was co-editor with Frank Irish of The Bradford.

As with the previous posts covering Plath's first  and second years at high school (posted on 1 July and 7 July, respectively), below is a list of those newspapers which were published during Plath's final year at high school. Here I describe the known contributions Plath made to The Bradford from the fall of 1949 to spring of 1950, as well as the instances where she was mentioned. The list of contributors for each issue appeared on page 2. If Plath's name appeared, I have listed the department and/or role. There are instances where Plath's name was not listed, which we can take to mean she contributed no content or was accidentally left off (though that seems doubtful). The departments typically were Features, News, Business, Sports, Typing, and Art. Each newspaper, excepting April 1949, was a four pages in broadsheet format.

Each newspaper features at least one editorial article, usually two. It is possible Plath authored one or both for each of the six issues while acting as co-editor. In addition, she likely wrote and/or re-wrote much of the copy for the articles too. The full extent of her contributions cannot be estimated.

27 October 1949
Poems "Question" and "White Phlox" on pages 2 and 4, both without byline. While Stephen Tabor writes in C14 of his excellent Annotated Bibliography of Sylvia Plath: "During the academic year 1949-1950 Plath was co-editor of The Bradford, her high school newspaper. She contributed no signed poems or prose, but could have written much of the copy" (104), he did not record "White Phlox" as a contribution ("Question" appears as entry C13). True, they are not signed, but they are contributions. "White Phlox" was printed in August 1952 by the Christian Science Monitor but lacks the final quatrain which appeared in the Bradford publication. As above with "City Streets", Plath included this poem, with the final four lines as appeared in The Bradford, in a letter to Hans-Joachim Neupert. The Lilly Library holds typescripts of both poems.

Mentioned on page 2 as Bradford co-editor; and probably in "Bradford Babble": "How many letters so far, Syl?"

21 December 1950
Mentioned on the following pages:
Page 1: "Scene on Stage: We Gather Today", for reading devotions on 18 November 1949.
Page 2 as Bradford co-editor.

10 February 1950
Mentioned on page 2 as Bradford co-editor.

24 March 1950
Plath's poem "Complaint" without byline, on page 3; as well as a photograph of Plath at a school dance (junior prom) paper on page 1. A copy of this photo is in Plath's high school scrapbook, page 25. The Lilly Library a typescript of the poem.

Mentioned on the following pages:
Page 1: Photograph of students dancing, SP among them, taken 18 March 1950.
Page 1: "The Senior Class Presents…"; article about the school play The Admirable Crichton in which SP played the role of Lady Agatha.
Page 2 as Bradford co-editor.
Page 3: "The Bradford Salutes…", SP named for becoming a member of the National Honor Society.

29 April 1950
Plath's poems "Family Reunion" and "The Farewell" both on page 2 and without byline."Family Reunion" is in Plath's Collected Poems though with some variation in punctuation; and she included "The Farewell" in a letter to Hans-Joachim Neupert. The Lilly Library holds a typescript of "The Farewell" and two typescripts of "Family Reunion" that also has different punctuation.

Mentioned on the following pages:
Page 1: "The Admirable Crichton -- Outstanding Success!", SP mentioned for her role as Lady Agatha.
Page 1: "Scene on Stage: March 31 --- Carnations: red and white", SP named for becoming a member of the National Honor Society.
Page 2 as Bradford co-editor.

6 June 1950
Mentioned on the following pages:
Pages 1, 4: "1950 Class Prophecy", SP appeared on page 4: "Sylvia Plath is explaining her theory of relativity to Pat O'Neil who is listening, as always, with the patience of Job." Page 1: Aurelia Plath listed as Patron of The Bradford, assisting financially to help get the issue out.
Page 2 as Bradford co-editor.
Pages 2-3: "Class Will - 1950", SP appeared on page 3: "Sylvia Plath leaves her acting ability to all those junior girls who clutter up the nurse's office."

The first pages of each of the issues:

27 October 1949

21 December 1949

10 February 1950

24 March 1950

29 April 1950

6 June 1950
These papers give a good sense of student life, academics, and sports during Plath's time at high school and as such may be a rich resource for those interested in late 1940s and early 1950s suburban (affluent) education and student writing. Plath carried her interest in journalism with her to Smith College where she participated in Press Board. She also wrote journalistic articles while a student at Newnham College, Cambridge, and later in 1959 while living in Boston, finding some success with the Christian Science Monitor. Once in England, Plath wrote several reviews of children's books and nonfiction that were published in the New Statesman, and also branched into radio reviews on the BBC. And it all started while a student in the Wellesley, Massachusetts, public school system.

To sum, this research yielded several bibliographically unrecorded publications of Plath in the genres of poetry, prose, and artwork.

All links accessed 20 July 2016.

07 July 2016

Sylvia Plath and The Bradford, Part 2: 1948-1949

This is the second post on Sylvia Plath's participation with and contributions to The Bradford. (Read the first was post.) This post looks at Plath's junior year of high school, 1948-1949. But first, a side-story.

One of the first things I found when working with the archive was that Plath was the subject of a feature article on 20 December 1977. Kathleen Offenhartz's "Bradford Remembers: Sylvia Plath" is a measured piece with some revealing information. The article appears on pages 1 and 3. Upon reading page three, among several other things ye olde Archive Fever 103° took hold as re-printed there from an earlier issue of The Bradford was Plath's poem "Fog". Like me you might be saying, "But in none of the bibliographies of Plath's work is there an entry in the 1940s for a poem entitled 'Fog'."

Well now: clearly we were mistaken.

This 1977 find sent me hurtling back to the 1940s. I quickly found all 18 issues for the period that Plath was in high school and started to photograph each page. In the process of photographing each of the pages of the newspapers I found "Fog", which was printed with a byline on 4 February 1949, page 3.

"Fog" is an unusually structured sonnet, with three uneven stanzas of five lines, six lines, and three lines. The Lilly Library holds four separate typescripts of "Fog". Each contains essentially the same words though there are variations in stanza length, line structure, and imagery in each copy. One bears the pseudonym "Sandra Peters". The copy used for publication in The Bradford features the Plath's name, age, town & state typed at the top right and above this is a handwritten year of "1948". A fifth version of "Fog" was a part of the December 2014 Sotheby's auction that failed to sell.

Back to the 4 February 1949 issue… In the contributor area for this issue, Plath is the sole name listed under Art. The only art in the issue appears on page 2 as three silhouettes in the "Who Are They???" section. "Who Are They???" printed silhouettes of students and featured information about the students and the reader had to guess the person. It is unclear if Plath (or whoever the artist responsible for the silhouettes in each issue was) wrote the content here. In this issue, the students featured were Janet Seely, Mike Moore, and Jean Woods.

Below is a list of those newspapers which were published during Plath's junior year of high school. Here I describe the known contributions Plath made to The Bradford from the fall of 1948 to spring of 1949, as well as the instances where she was mentioned. The list of contributors for each issue appeared on page 2. If Plath's name appeared, I have listed the department and/or role. There are instances where Plath's name was not listed, which we can take to mean she contributed no content or was accidentally left off (though that seems doubtful). The departments typically were Features, News, Business, Sports, Typing, and Art. Each newspaper, excepting 29 April 1949, was a four pages in broadsheet format. The 29 April 1949 was mimeographed on sixteen pages of standard copy paper and stapled twice at the top. The full extent of Plath's contributions may be unknowable as bylines were not used consistently. Certainly during her co-editorship she did a decent amount of writing and revision.


1 November 1948
Mentioned on page 2 as member of Bradford staff in Features department.

16 December 1948
Mentioned on page 2 as member of Bradford staff in Features department.

4 February 1949
"Fog" with byline and artwork without byline, discussed above. These contributions have not been acknowledged or attributed previously in any bibliography.

Mentioned on the following pages:
Page 1: "Junior Prom Jitters": mentioned for being on decorations committee.
Page 2: As member of Bradford staff in Features and Art departments.
Page 4: "Girls' Basketball Gets Under Way"; member of junior class team as a guard and as a junior varsity member, also as a guard.

28 March 1949
"April: 1949" with byline. A long poem in three parts: "1. The Storm Clouds Gather", "2. The Approach of the Horsemen", and "3.The Appeal". The first two parts are traditional 14-line sonnets comprised of three quatrains and a final couplet. The third part is longer, 24 lines that begin and end with couplets with five quatrains in between. An apocalyptic poem featuring the four horsemen. "April: 1949" expresses mid-century fears about the possibility of "The Atomic Threat", which Plath wrote about the previous year. The Lilly Library holds a typescript of this poem under the title "Youth's Appeal for Peace" and is dated by Plath March 28, 1949. This contribution has not been acknowledged or attributed previously in any bibliography.

Mentioned on the following pages:
Page 1: "Snoop 'n Scoop", mentioned for recognition in the Scholastic Magazines Art Contest.
Page 2: "We Asked You…", SP gave response to question "What simple things are you unable to do?" Her response was "Raise an eyebrow."
Page 3: "The Bradford Salutes…", mentioned for being a member of the March Devotional Committee.

29 April 1949
Most likely two drawings on page 8 as there is something quintessentially Plathian about the style… Especially if you have worked with her early diaries at the Lilly Library, her paper dolls, and read the wonderful Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual edited by Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley (see particularly pages 46 and 66, and color plates 7 and 15). This issue is not in typical newspaper format but rather printed as mimeographed (photocopied) pages. Plath is listed as a contributor to the Art department along with two other students. This contribution has not been acknowledged or attributed previously in any bibliography. Mentioned on page 2 as member of Bradford staff in Features and Art departments.

7 June 1949
Mentioned on page 1, "Bradford Announces Incoming Editors", named a co-editor; includes photograph.

The first pages of each of the issues:

1 November 1948

16 December 1948

4 February 1949

28 March 1949

29 April 1949

7 June 1949
All links accessed 7 July 2016.

01 July 2016

Sylvia Plath and The Bradford, Part 1: 1947-1948

On a day in March, I visited Wellesley High School to look through old copies of the school newspaper, The Bradford. Sylvia Plath attended the school under its former name: Gamaliel Bradford Senior High. Also in its former location as the old school was razed a few years back. As a last minute decision, according to her diary, Plath decided to try out for The Bradford and was accepted to join the staff of the school newspaper. For the next three years, Plath was a contributor in many ways to the school paper, ultimately becoming its co-editor for her senior year, 1949-1950.

The Bradford was then published six times a year. Usually around late October, right before Christmas, and then early February, late March, late April, and early June in time for graduation. Working through this archive proved very fascinating. Much of the paper is like the crummy paper in mass market paperbacks: its acidity eating it away to the point where it is very brittle and crumbly.

This is the first in a series of three blog posts on Plath and The Bradford. One for each year she was at the school and at work on the newspaper.

This research was prompted by an omission. In her fascinating and insightful high school scrapbook, now held by the Lilly Library, Plath attached a copy of the 27 October 1949 issue of The Bradford. However, in working with the scrapbook in March 2015, I noticed the issue was missing and did not appear to be elsewhere in the collection. The Lilly has an oversize box of Bradford's and Smith College has some, too. But this first issue as co-editor, published on her birthday no less, is not among them. (That I could find. Admittedly, I might have missed it or it might have been removed for some legitimate reason and/or misfiled somewhere.)

Below is a list of those newspapers which were published during Plath's first year at high school. Here I describe the known contributions Plath made to The Bradford from the fall of 1947 to spring of 1948, as well as the instances where she was mentioned. The list of contributors for each issue appeared on page 2. If Plath's name appeared, I have listed the department and/or role. There are instances where Plath's name was not listed, which we can take to mean she contributed no content or was accidentally left off (though that seems doubtful).

General observations that will apply to the entire series of posts.The departments typically were Features, News, Business, Sports, Typing, and Art. Each newspaper, excepting April 1949, was a four pages long and in broadsheet format. The full extent of Plath's contributions may be unknowable as bylines were not used consistently. Certainly during her co-editorship in the 1949-1950 academic year she would have done did a decent amount of writing and revision.

30 October 1947
"Introducin'", no byline. In this article, Plath contributes a profile of a new teacher at the high school, Mr. Coletta. There are other teachers profiled but it is unclear if Plath wrote about them or not. In her diary (24 July 1947-25 March 1948) Plath writes on 2 October 1947 about joining the newspaper. In the entry she writes about the assignment about the new school art teacher, Mr. Coletta. This contribution has not been acknowledged or attributed previously in any bibliography.

Mentioned on page 2 as member of Bradford staff in Features department.

19 December 1947
Mentioned on page 2 as member of Bradford staff in Features department.

6 February 1948
"City Streets" and "Miss Palmer's Treasures", both with bylines. The poem "City Streets" is twelve-lines and describes a dirty city scene; a very dour poem. Plath would go on to include a typed copy of the poem in a letter to her German pen pal Hans-Joachim Neupert the following year. "Miss Palmer's Treasures" is a book review Treasures by Dora E. Palmer and Dorothy Nell Knolle, the third book in their Adventures in Reading series. The book features a collection of poems, short stories and excerpts from well-known classics. These contributions have not been acknowledged or attributed previously in any bibliography.

Mentioned on page 2 as member of Bradford staff in Features department.

19 March 1948
Mentioned on page 2 as member of Bradford staff in Features department and possibly on page 4 in "Bradford Babble", a gossip column: "Sylvia likes Tom".

26 April 1948 "The Atomic Threat" with byline. A feature article comprising nearly the entire fourth column on page 1. This impressive article states firm opinions on the insanity of atomic warfare. In the article Plath writes with hope that "It has been suggested that an International Atomic Development Authority be established to make sure that atomic energy is used solely for peaceful, commercial purposes." Plath in the article seems to favor the idea of creating a world government. Writing this piece likely lead into Plath's later "Youth's Plea for World Peace", co-written with Perry Norton, published in the Christian Science Monitor and, it could be argued, her poem "Bitter Strawberries" published also by the Monitor.

Mentioned on page 2 as member of Bradford staff in Features department.

2 June 1948
SP does not appear at all.

So...the world of Sylvia Plath's contributions to periodicals has increased a little bit, no? Next time we will look at Sylvia Plath's junior year in high school. It is an understatement to say that this was the most interesting year for Plath and The Bradford.

The first pages of each of the issues:

30 October 1947
19 December 1947
6 February 1948
19 March 1948
26 April 1948
2 June 1948

25 June 2016

Researching Sylvia Plath

In addition to conducting my own research and writing on Sylvia Plath, one of the things I enjoy most is helping others with their research. I am truly flattered that so many people write to ask questions about Sylvia Plath. It means very much to me that I am a person to whom increasing numbers of scholars and readers come to for answers. However, because these reference queries take anywhere from one hour to several days, and because this is increasingly causing disruption to my own work, as of today I will charge a standard research associate rate for all Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes queries that come my way. The minimum will be for one hour's work at a fee of $30 per hour.

In the last few years, I have hired research by proxy help for various Plath-related projects. I truly appreciate this assistance from others, but I do not expect them to give their time, knowledge and research findings for free. It seems that if I am to be used for similar purposes, then I too should get recompense for my time and for the services that I am providing for others.

Thank you all for your anticipated understanding with this decision I have had to make.

In the meantime, please look forward to some new blog posts in July.

15 June 2016

Sylvia Plath auction at Bonhams: The Results

This post was revised on 17 July 2016.

Several Sylvia Plath lots of typescripts and books were offered today at Bonhams Knighstbridge as part of their Fine Books, Manuscripts, and Original Illustrations sale. I listened to the action of the auction live online and let me just say my stomach was turning somersaults and I was feeling anxious...and I was not even bidding. It is exciting and thrilling to bear witness to these sales: a true rush full of wonder.

The first five lots (167-171) were from the larger Plath archive that has been up for sale, piecemeal, after the whole archive failed to sell via Sotheby's in December 2014. Initially only one of the lots sold, however in doing some follow-up research, I learned that all five lots in the end did sell.

The second lots (172-174) are books formerly belonging to Winifred Davies, Plath's Devon midwife and friend. To sum these lots, the first two sold for above the high estimate and The Bell Jar lot sold for the high estimate exactly. Frankly I'm surprised these prices were not higher, especially for the Plath books.

Below are the lots and descriptions with the sale prices (inclusive of premiums/fees/etc.) listed in bold. If you are the winner: Oh, lucky, lucky you!

Lot 167
Sylvia Plath, Typescript draft, with autograph revisions, of her story "The Green Rock", and typescript of "Gramercy Park", with occasional annotations, 1948-9.
Sold £875 / $1,169

Lot 168
Sylvia Plath
Typescript draft with autograph revisions of her poem ʻSeek No More the Young', here with the deleted typed title "Latvian Threnody", [March 1949].
Sold for £937 / $1,330

Lot 169
Sylvia Plath
Carbon typescript of her story "Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom", with letter of rejection from Mademoiselle magazine, 11 March 1953.
Sold for £625 / $835

Lot 170
Sylvia Plath
Two draft typescripts, in successive versions, of her poem "Go Get the Goodly Squab", Smith College, April 1953; ʻSOLD TO HARPER'S – APRIL 1953' – SYLVIA PLATH RECEIVES HER ʻFIRST REAL PROFESSIONAL ACCEPTANCE' AS A POET.
Sold for £625 / $835

Lot 171
Sylvia Plath
Typescripts and carbon typescripts of six poems, comprising: "Spring Sacrament", "Eve Describes Her Birthday Party", "To Ariadne (deserted by Theseus)" with copy, "Tulips at Dawn", "Spring Again".
Sold £875 / $1,169

Lot 172
Sylvia Plath
The Colossus & Other Poems, first American edition, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED "For Winifred & Garnett with warmest good wishes - Sylvia Court Green: 1962" on the front free endpaper, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1962.
Sold for £8,750 / $12,413
Bidding for the above lot was fast and furious and the bidding easily beat the high estimate.

Lot 173
Sylvia Plath HUGHES (TED) The Hawk in the Rain, FIRST EDITION, 1957; Lupercal, first American edition, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1960; Meet My Folks!, FIRST EDITION, 1961, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPIES INSCRIBED "To Winifred [Davies] and Garnett with my best wishes from Ted, October 1962" (the second and third with addition of "North Tawton"); Wodwo, FIRST EDITION, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED "To Winifred [Davies] gratefully from Ted, April 21st 1967", AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("yours Ted H.") loosely inserted, 1967, unless otherwise stated Faber & Faber (4).
Sold for £2,125 / $3,014
Bidding for this lot also blew away the high estimate.

Lot 174
Lot 174 Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar, FIRST EDITION, Heinemann, [1963].
Sold for £2,500 / $3,546

All links accessed 6 June 2016.

01 June 2016

The Letters of Sylvia Plath

As you know, I have been co-editing Sylvia Plath's letters with Karen V. Kukil of Smith College. It gives me great pleasure to let you know that recently we submitted the manuscript for The Letters of Sylvia Plath to Faber & Faber in London.

This has been an incredible journey. I have learned so much about Sylvia Plath (and Ted Hughes). About their lives and publications, as well as events in Massachusetts, England, and other places. About culture and history. And so much more.

I will give any updates I can on this blog, so for now please no questions regarding publication though I am sure you have many. Thank you all for your patience and support during this project.  My efforts were greatly enhanced by my best friends sugar and caffeine. The number of people that contributed to this project and their enthusiasm, support, and information has been extraordinary. Several people went above and beyond the call. You know who you are.

It was a privilege of the highest order to be entrusted by Frieda Hughes with the task of locating, reading, transcribing, and annotating all the known, extant letters written by Sylvia Plath. Every letter found, read, transcribed, and annotated has had you, the reader of Sylvia Plath, in mind. I cannot wait for you to read what this book. I hope this will be a building block for and a significant contribution to Plath scholarship.

Here are some pictures:

Editing the Index, mind the glare off my de Chirico-esque darning-egg head

Folders for each year

Photocopies of letters to people Not Named Aurelia Plath

Photocopies of letters to Aurelia Plath

The letters in open boxes

The boxes are closed

The letters all printed out,
next to a 1954 Royal HH typewriter, just like Plath's

17 May 2016

Sylvia Plath in Chequer

From time to time I have tweeted and/or written about auctions on eBay for Sylvia Plath items. I recently, selfishly found out about an auction for an item that I wanted with without promoting potential competition. This was greedy of me, especially considering the item would be, if I won it, a duplicate.

Sylvia Plath published four poems in Chequer 11: "Epitaph for Fire and Flower", "On the Difficulty of Conjuring Up a Dryad", "Miss Drake Proceeds to Supper", and "November Graveyard" (Winter 1956-1957). When I saw that a copy was up for auction I decided not to tweet it out. I guess I am a bit of a hoarder? I have no idea where this copy came from, other than "England" of course. The first copy I got, as a gift, formerly belonged to Christopher Levenson, who himself is well represented in this issue of Chequer as well as Plath. An image of the cover of Levenson's copy is on the Periodicals page of my website for Sylvia Plath. Plath spent an ample amount of time with Levenson in February 1956 prior to meeting Ted Hughes.

What I love about seeing the periodicals Plath published in, besides her work, are the other articles and advertisements she herself would have seen and read. In something like Chequer, there is an added kind of intimacy to the publication as we "know" that Plath visited some of the places advertised, such as in this wonky scan of a page from Chequer advertising the Taj Mahal restaurant.


Plath frequented the Taj a lot during her first months at Cambridge, particularly with J. Mallory Wober (a lot of the letters listed in this Wober link are revised based on the work and research I did for the forthcoming edition of the Letters of Sylvia Plath).

09 May 2016

Sylvia Plath auctions at Bonhams, Knightsbridge

Bonhams Knighstbridge has done it again! They are offering several lots of Sylvia Plath typescripts and books in their 15 June 2016 auction of Fine Books, Manuscripts, and Original Illustrations. This auction is in two Plath sections. The first five are from the larger Plath archive that's been up for sale, piecemeal, after the whole lot failed to sell via Sotheby's in December 2014. The second section are books formerly belonging to Winifred Davies, Plath's Devon midwife and friend.

Lot 167
Sylvia Plath, Typescript draft, with autograph revisions, of her story "The Green Rock", and typescript of "Gramercy Park", with occasional annotations, 1948-9
£800 - 1,200 / US$ 1,200 - 1,700

Lot 168
Sylvia Plath
Typescript draft with autograph revisions of her poem ʻSeek No More the Young', here with the deleted typed title "Latvian Threnody", [March 1949]
£800 - 1,200 / US$ 1,200 - 1,700

Lot 169
Sylvia Plath
Carbon typescript of her story "Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom", with letter of rejection from Mademoiselle magazine, 11 March 1953
£1,000 - 1,500 / US$ 1,400 - 2,200

Lot 170
Sylvia Plath
Two draft typescripts, in successive versions, of her poem "Go Get the Goodly Squab", Smith College, April 1953; ʻSOLD TO HARPER'S – APRIL 1953' – SYLVIA PLATH RECEIVES HER ʻFIRST REAL PROFESSIONAL ACCEPTANCE' AS A POET.
£1,000 - 1,500 / US$ 1,400 - 2,200

Lot 171
Sylvia Plath
Typescripts and carbon typescripts of six poems, comprising: "Spring Sacrament", "Eve Describes Her Birthday Party", "To Ariadne (deserted by Theseus)" with copy, "Tulips at Dawn", "Spring Again"
£1,000 - 1,500 / US$ 1,400 - 2,200


The following three lots are not a part of the larger Plath archive that has been the focus of other major Bonhams auctions. They are from the estate of the late Winifred Davies and are so exceedingly, excruciatingly rare that I am speechless.

Lot 172
Sylvia Plath
The Colossus & Other Poems, first American edition, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED "For Winifred & Garnett with warmest good wishes - Sylvia Court Green: 1962" on the front free endpaper, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1962
£4,000 - 6,000 / US$ 5,800 - 8,700

Lot 173
Sylvia Plath HUGHES (TED) The Hawk in the Rain, FIRST EDITION, 1957; Lupercal, first American edition, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1960; Meet My Folks!, FIRST EDITION, 1961, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPIES INSCRIBED "To Winifred [Davies] and Garnett with my best wishes from Ted, October 1962" (the second and third with addition of "North Tawton"); Wodwo, FIRST EDITION, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED "To Winifred [Davies] gratefully from Ted, April 21st 1967", AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("yours Ted H.") loosely inserted, 1967, unless otherwise stated Faber & Faber (4)
£600 - 800 / US$ 870 - 1,200

Lot 174
Lot 174 Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar, FIRST EDITION, Heinemann, [1963]
£1,500 - 2,000 / US$ 2,200 - 2,900








All links accessed 9 May 2016.

29 April 2016

Call for Chapter Proposals: Sylvia Plath in Context

Call for Chapter Proposals

Sylvia Plath in Context to be published by Cambridge University Press.

Edited by Tracy Brain.

Sylvia Plath in Context will be part of Cambridge University Press’s highly regarded Literature in Context series. You can learn more about the series, and link to some of the volumes that have already appeared, from here: http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/literature/english-literature-general-interest/series/literature-context

Each chapter of Sylvia Plath in Context will focus on a key context out of which Plath’s work emerged, rather than being directly about her texts. The series’ descriptor is helpful:

Each of these volumes focuses on an individual writer, offering lively, accessible and relatively short essays, by leading scholars, on the many contexts – literary, political, intellectual, social and cultural – that have a bearing on his or her work. Biographical and literary influences on the writer, publishing history and the creative afterlife of the work are also addressed. … Each volume offers comprehensive information and comment to clarify and illuminate the life and work of the literary figure concerned.

This Call for Proposals aims to cast the net widely, to see what exciting ideas may come in. I am seeking new and fresh voices, and original pieces, for what promises to be a significant new contribution to Plath scholarship. So please do consider sending me a proposal, concentrating on an area that you think has formed Plath’s work, and which you think will enrich her readers’ ability to understand it. Please note that each 4000 word chapter will need to be written in compliance with ‘fair dealing’ and must not have been published elsewhere.

If you are interested, please send a 200-word chapter proposal as well as a 100-word biography, to: t.brain@bathspa.ac.uk

The deadline for these materials is 15 May 2016.
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Publications & Acknowledgements

  • BBC Four.A Poet's Guide to Britain: Sylvia Plath. London: BBC Four, 2009. (Acknowledged in)
  • Biography: Sylvia Plath. New York: A & E Television Networks, 2005. (Photographs used)
  • Connell, Elaine. Sylvia Plath: Killing the angel in the house. 2d ed. Hebden Bridge: Pennine Pens, 1998. (Acknowledged in)
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives." Plath Profiles 2. Summer 2009: 183-208.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives, Redux." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 232-246.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 3." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 119-138.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 4: Looking for New England." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012: 11-56.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past." Plath Profiles 6. Summer 2013: 27-62.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath. Oxford: Fonthill, 2017. Forthcoming.
  • Death Be Not Proud: The Graves of Poets. New York: Poets.org. (Photographs used)
  • Doel, Irralie, Lena Friesen and Peter K. Steinberg. "An Unacknowledged Publication by Sylvia Plath." Notes & Queries 56:3. September 2009: 428-430.
  • Gill, Jo. "Sylvia Plath in the South West." University of Exeter Centre for South West Writing, 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Elements of Literature, Third Course. Austin, Tex. : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2009. (Photograph used)
  • Helle, Anita Plath. The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. (Photographs used, acknowledged in)
  • Helle, Anita. "Lessons from the Archive: Sylvia Plath and the Politics of Memory". Feminist Studies 31:3. Fall 2005: 631-652.. (Acknowledged in)
  • Holden, Constance. "Sad Poets' Society." Science Magazine. 27 July 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women, Motion Picture. Directed by Rachel Talbot. Brookline (Mass.): Jewish Women's Archive, 2007. (Photograph used)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Karen V. Kukil. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962. New York: Anchor Books, 2000. (Acknowledged in)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil (eds.). The Letters of Sylvia Plath. London: Faber, 2017. Forthcoming.
  • Plath, Sylvia. Glassklokken. Oslo: De norske Bokklubbene, 2004. (Photograph used on cover)
  • Reiff, Raychel Haugrud. Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar and Poems (Writers and Their Works). Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, 2008.. (Images provided)
  • Steinberg, Peter K. Sylvia Plath (Great Writers). Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'I Should Be Loving This': Sylvia Plath's 'The Perfect Place' and The Bell Jar." Plath Profiles 1. Summer 2008: 253-262.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Sylvia Plath." The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath. London: British Library, 2010.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'They Had to Call and Call': The Search for Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 106-132.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "This is a Celebration: A Festschrift for The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3 Supplement. Fall 2010: 3-14.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "A Perfectly Beautiful Time: Sylvia Plath at Camp Helen Storrow." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 149-166.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Proof of Plath." Fine Books & Collections 9:2. Spring 2011: 11-12.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Writing Life" [Introduction]. Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning. Stroud, Eng.: Fonthill Media, 2014.

Interviews