Houghton Mifflin Company collection on Bitter Fame
Scope and Contents
The papers begin with the correspondence of Peter Davison, which includes notes about telephone conversations as well as letters to and from the principal people involved in the project: Olwyn Hughes, Ted Hughes, and Anne Stevenson, among others. A draft of Anne Stevenson's poem, "Homage to Sylvia Plath" is housed in Box 1, folder 14. Olwyn Hughes's correspondence with Penguin Books is arranged separately in Box 1, folder 15. A few letters between Anne Stevenson (or her husband Peter Lucas) and Olwyn Hughes are housed in Box 1, folder 18. Four other letters by Anne Stevenson ask for information or request permission to quote.
The rest of the collection relates to the writing, editing, and publishing of Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath (Boston, 1989). The original proposal for the project is in Box 1, folder 21, along with contracts and other business papers. Press clippings about Sylvia Plath: A Biography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987) by Linda Wagner-Martin are filed with articles about Plath (Box 2, folder 22). Dido and W. S. Merwin's correspondence with Linda Wagner-Martin is also part of the research section of the collection, along with notes about interviews with Jillian Becker, James Michie, Suzette de Macedo, and Nicola Tyrer. Fourteen photocopies of letters to and from Aurelia Plath and Sylvia Plath complete the research section of the papers.
Five separate drafts of the book are arranged in chronological order. A second copy of draft B (Box 4, folders 42-54) is heavily annotated by Peter Davison, who edited the biography. Later corrections by Davison may be found in Box 8, folders 88-89. Draft D (Box 6, folders 66-78) has been annotated by the copy editor and includes a second copy of Appendix I, with corrections by Lucas Myers (Box 6, folder 73). Draft E (Box 7, folders 79-87) includes Olwyn Hughes's changes, which are marked. Her suggested revisions are filed together in Box 8 (folders 90-99) and are arranged roughly by chapters. Additional suggestions may also be found in her correspondence with Peter Davison and Anne Stevenson. Ted Hughes, Dido Merwin and Anne Stevenson also submitted corrections which are filed separately.
At the end of the Bitter Fame series are photocopies of illustrations used in the book, copy for the jacket cover, and press clippings.
Dates of Materials
- Houghton Mifflin Company (collector) (Organization)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
3.729 linear feet (9 containers)
- I. Correspondence (1963-1991)
- II. Bitter Fame (1954-1990)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Houghton Mifflin Company collection on Bitter Fame
- Finding Aid
- Compiled by Karen V. Kukil
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2005-09-23: manoscmr3 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
Part of the Mortimer Rare Book Collection Repository
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063