Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Personal musings and Plath popularity.

I'm back at my desk at Uni after a quiet but pleasant weekend where far too much sitting in front of the fire was done and not enough writing up! It was great to have my friends visit me last week as well, we had a great time chatting, eating (and drinking!) as well as watching every single episode of the BBC Pride and Prejudice tv series (with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle). I'm a lucky person to have such geeky friends! ;) I took a few photos of the surrounding area of where I now live so thought it might be nice to share them here.

On a personal level, people often wonder why I chose to come to the University I am currently studying in to do my PhD. My alma-mater was at Queen's University in Belfast and my MLitt was earned at the University of Glasgow. I think it's true to say that I have never really been a city girl at heart. Indeed, when I finished my undergrad I had vague dreams of moving to a deserted island off the Irish coast and working in a grocery shop/writing poetry half in half! The days of me writing poetry are long gone I think! But it's great to be able to live in the countryside and study. I was worried at the start that I wouldn't fit in, I would know no-one and it would be difficult to settle into a new University for postgrad study, but it has been just the opposite. My tutors and supervisors are really encouraging and book requests from the British Library are almost instantaneous. If I ever get stressed, I can just take a walk around the beautiful countryside:) So far, so good, I guess!!

Now, back to the Plath-world. A friend of mine forwarded me a Call for Papers she saw - from the Ted Hughes Society. I would definitely think about subscribing to such a publication because I am very interested in looking at how Plath and Hughes influenced each other in their writing. Although the two didn't believe they had much impact in any obvious way, I think even the way that they organised writing schedules and wrote on the back of paper the other had used: is so interesting. Especially for Sylvia, the influence of the Cambirdge education (more Classical texts studied) and Ted's more nature-themed work definitely resonates throughout 'The Colossus'.

However - the existence of the Ted Hughes Society did make me stop a little and think. Not that there should be a competition between the two but I wonder: why isn't there something like this for Sylvia. Indeed, I believe that a Centre for Sylvia Plath Studies would be a very worthwhile group to have in existence! The University of Exeter has a Centre for South-West Studies which I think could be the perfect grounds for Plath study in the UK, because of the historical background - however, any institution could get something like this up and running. I am very ill-informed when it comes to acquiring grants and money but when I'm finished my PhD and if nothing has yet been established, it's something I would very much like to look into.

The most popular Sylvia Plath Facebook page has over 43,000 members and there are other smaller groups with members in their thousands. Plath conferences and Journals have contributors and interested parties from all over the world - in education or not, which is the brilliant feature about Plath: and I don't believe it is capitalised on enough. The brilliant Plath Profiles Journal is really the only 'alive' resource Plath fans have. More should be done! If Virigina Woolf can have her own Centre, why not Sylvia?


Sophie said...

I know this is a silly question, but are those pictures anywher near Donegal? I saw your location was Ireland and I visited Donegal last October. We went to a beach just like this! I know most beaches in Ireland are probs them same haha. Just being nosy!
Thanks for your kind blog comment :)

The Plath Diaries said...

Hi! You're totally fine - and you're 100% correct! Donegal is just across the bay from where the photos have been taken! The images are of Portstewart Strand in Co. Derry:)

Thank-you for stopping by!!


Helen said...

Gooorgeous photos! Do you know Mr Bingley in P&P? Crispin Bonham carter? Well, my friend is training to be a teacher in London and he is an English teacher at her current placement school! How ace!
p.s Just started following you on twitter too Maeve :)

The Plath Diaries said...

Thanks for following me Helen! I think I already follow you but if not, certainly will!

That's CRAZY about Crispin Bonham Carter?? What happens when he shows the dvd of P&P as part of GCSE English and he's in it?! Aww I have such a soft sport for Mr Bingley ;)

Morgane said...

I think the idea of creating a Sylvia Plath society is brilliant ! I had never thought about that. I do think you would be perfect for the job. I know I would like to join it !

Rehan Qayoom said...

Since you are an initiate into the 'dwindling groves of academe' now. Why don't you start a Sylvia Plath Society?! And thanks for bringing it up -