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Karen Kukil

Research Affiliate in English Language & Literature


Karen Kukil is an international authority on Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. She edited the unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath (2000) and co-edited a two-volume edition of The Letters of Sylvia Plath for Faber and Faber in London (2017–18). The Letters of Sylvia Plath: Volume II, 1956-1963 was named one of the top books of the decade by The Sunday Times of London. Karen also edited Woolf in the Real World: Selected Papers from the Thirteenth International Conference on Virginia Woolf (Clemson, 2005), a conference she co-hosted at Smith College in 2003. Her scholarly chapters and articles on Plath and Woolf appear in many publications, including The Boundaries of the Literary Archive (Ashgate, 2013), Sylvia Plath in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2019), and the Hudson Review (2019). Exhibitions curated by Kukil include “No Other Appetite”: Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and the Blood Jet of Poetry (Grolier Club, 2005) and One Life: Sylvia Plath (Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, 2017–18). The British Library (2018) and the Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival (2019) recently featured illustrated lectures by Kukil. In addition to curating literary manuscripts at Yale University and Smith College for more than 40 years, Kukil has taught courses on editing Sylvia Plath’s correspondence and poetry for Smith’s Archives Concentration program. Over the next two years, she plans to co-edit a complete, scholarly edition of The Poems of Sylvia Plath with Amanda Golden for Faber and Faber in London.

Article Highlight

In the Footsteps of Sylvia Plath (PDF)