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Plath's Published Journals

Sylvia Plath. The Journals of Sylvia Plath. Ted Hughes, Consulting Editor, and Frances McCullough, Editor. New York: Dial Press, 1982.

Sylvia Plath. The Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962. Transcribed from the Original Manuscripts at Smith College. Edited by Karen V. Kukil. London: Faber and Faber, 2000.

The Journals of Sylvia Plath cover

Ted Hughes inherited Plath’s manuscripts and copyrights when she died. He published Plath’s poetry (1965, 1981) and prose (1977) and a selection of her private journals (1982). While Aurelia Plath may have manipulated her daughter’s words to tell the story of a “good girl” in Letters Home, Hughes has been criticized for selectively editing his wife’s journals to create a dark, equally unbalanced and inaccurate record of her life.

The Journals of Sylvia Plath cover 2

The unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962 were published in London in April 2000 with the full support of the Plath estate. They are a complete and faithful transcription of the manuscript journals owned by Smith College. They represent the first time that Plath has been allowed to speak for herself since her death in 1963. While over a hundred biographies and critical works have been written about Sylvia Plath, no scholar has been given free license by the Plath estate to interpret and liberally quote from her unpublished manuscripts.

As a scholarly community, if we have the foresight to collect important documents about women’s lives and if we properly preserve these original manuscripts, the extraordinary story that they hold will one day be told. Copyrights protecting unpublished manuscripts currently lapse seventy years after the author's death.

Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College

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