Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
News Release

October 28, 2003

Spotlighting Sylvia

Nov. 13 Event Will Highlight Smith's Role in Two New and Noted Books About Sylvia Plath

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- With the recent release of a feature film about her life, Sylvia Plath, Smith College's most famous poet, is back in the public eye.

At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, in Neilson Library Browsing Room, two noted authors of new works about Plath will read from and sign their books.

Kate Moses' novel "Wintering" focuses on the last months of Plath's life, during which she created the poems of "Ariel," considered by many scholars her most powerful collection. In moving, evocative prose, Moses envisions Plath as she cares for her young children during one of London's harshest winters, rages at her husband's infidelities and defection and struggles to write what would be her last poems. Compellingly blending fact and fiction, Moses creates a portrait in which, as one critic put it, "her habitation of Plath's body and mind feels complete."

Diane Middlebrook's biography, "Her Husband: Hughes & Plath, a Marriage," provides a portrait of the poet Ted Hughes and reveals how his life and art were shaped by his marriage to Plath. A tumultuous relationship and an intense creative partnership, the Plath/Hughes marriage lasted less than seven years but yielded an enormous and controversial literary and critical legacy. Among her sources, Middlebrook drew on archival materials only recently made available, revealing insights that debunk several long-held theories about Plath and Hughes. Middlebrook wrote the new introduction to the 1998 edition of Plath's novel "The Bell Jar" and is the author of the bestselling "Anne Sexton: A Biography," a finalist for a National Book Award.

Both Moses and Middlebrook researched their books using Smith College's 4,000-page collection of original Plath documents. The extensive collection of Plath's literary and personal papers is the most popular holding of the college's Mortimer Rare Book Room. Plath was an undergraduate at Smith from 1950 to 1955 and an instructor in the English department from 1957 to 1958. At the heart of Plath's papers are successive drafts of her "Ariel" poems and drafts of "The Bell Jar." The collection is curated by Karen Kukil, associate curator of rare books and editor of "The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950 to 1962."

The event is free and open to the public.


For More Information

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

Smith in the News

News Releases

Contact Us

DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z