Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dream Destination – Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College

Monday Night: March 3 [1958]: Got a queer and most overpowering urge today to write, or typewrite, my whole novel on the pink, stiff, lovely-textured Smith memorandum pads of 100 sheets each.…Bought a rose bulb for the bedroom light today & have already robbed enough notebooks from the supply closet for one & 1/2 drafts of a 350 page novel.
-- Sylvia Plath

Ever since reading The Bell Jar in high school I have had an obsession with Syliva Plath. In college I poured over various Plath biographies, immediately signed up for an introductory poetry class and curled up with Ariel in my dorm room. I longed to write poems as haunting as Plath’s and I found myself dissecting each line of her poetry trying to figure out what she was saying. Growing up, and even today, a perfect evening for me can be staying up late with my laptop or journal in hand trying to make sense of life. 

The Mortimer Rare Book Room at Smith College is home to 4,000 pages of Plath’s work. Plath attended Smith College and even wrote The Bell Jar on Smith memo paper! Drafts of Ariel and The Bell Jar can be seen here in addition to drawings and correspondence.
pages from her writing
Her dictionary with underlined words is on display, and just to have a glimpse at her writing process would be such an intimate experience. Other authors featured at The Mortimer Rare Book Room includes Virgina Woolf, Mary Shelley, Ernest Hemingway, and Lewis Carroll, just to name a few.

There’s something so cool to me about seeing the actually pages from drafts of Plath’s writing. I still hand write quite a bit and snail mail letters to various pen pals, but with everything done electronically these days, what will be left in future archives of great authors? An iPad?

I also want to visit Smith College’s beautiful campus in Northhampton, MA. Home to many decorated female writers; I think winter would be a dreamy time of the year to walk the same streets as many literary greats.
Smith College
With the 50th anniversary of Plath’s death just a few days ago, she is fresh in many of our minds. I constantly see new books being released about her summer in New York City, or her relationship with Ted Hughes and sometimes I just feel like she needs to be left alone. Of course as new generations continue to discover Plath there will inevitably always be more to say. 
one of the latest books on Plath

1 comment:

  1. How to write like Plath: Get bipolar disorder and undergo ECT. Then again, ECT was a bit more ghastly in her day.