|Sylvia Plath Chronology Part I, 1932-1952|
|Part II, 1953-1963
Available Spring, 2000
|Sylvia Plath @ CBA|
When Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was eight she had a poem published in the Boston Herald newspaper. It was the start of a very precocious literary career. She graduated high school and received a scholarship to the exclusive and expensive Smith College. After college she won a Fullbright scholarship to study at Cambridge, England.
Plath is identified with the "confessional" school of American poetry and her work (for example, Ariel, 1965) is intensely introspective and feminine. Her novel The Bell Jar which describes a teenage girl's nervous breakdown (Plath had one in 1953) is the female companion to J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.
One commentator has written that to read Plath is "to read the story of the symptom named perfect." (Tamise van Pelt). Unable to negotiate a truce between the world and her sensitivities, Plath committed suicide in 1963. She left behind two children and an estranged husband, British poet, Ted Hughes.
Plath's Collected Poems published in 1981 won a Pulitzer Prize. Her Journals were published in 1982. These publications and numerous academic and biographical studies have helped maintain an on-going fascination with Plath's short and tragic life and work.
Interest in Plath continues to grow and may crest shortly. Ted Hughes, who became England's poet laureate in 1984, published Birthday Poems shortly before his death in 1998 . Long silent on the details of his relationship with Plath, the poems in the new book are mostly a meditation on that subject. Film producer Alison Owen is reportedly making Ted & Sylvia starring Gwynneth Paltrow as the star-crossed Sylvia.
Precocious and very highly strung (the two characteristics commonly travel together), Plath probed her female soul within the context she found herself in: the United States in the middle of the 20th century. Confused and critical of the differing standards for men and women in the arts and in society, Plath's introspective and perilous battle is a lesson for today as we start across this so-called bridge to the 21st century. Plath fell into the gap before the bridge was built. She is an early warning of our age's great disruption: the fear of the not forever.
At the age of seven, Sylvia Plath wrote a poem for her mother:
When mother goes away from me
I miss her as much, as much can be.
And when I go away from mother
She misses me, and so does brother.
Sylvia Plath ChronologyPart I
|1932||January 4, 1932 Sylvia Plath's parents, Otto Emil Plath and Aurelia Schober get married in Nevada. |
October 27, 1932 Sylvia Plath is born in the Robinson Memorial Hospital in Jamaica Plain (near Boston) Massachusetts. She is the Plath's first child.
|1935||April 17, 1935 Warren Plath, Sylvia's brother, is born.|
|1936||October, 1936 Plath Family moves from Jamaica Plain to Johnson Avenue in Winthrop, Massachusetts.|
October 12, 1940 Otto Plath's leg is amputated.|
November 5, 1940 Otto Plath dies from an embolism in the lung.
|1942||October 26, 1940 Aurelia, Sylvia and Warren Plath move to 26 Elmwood Road in Wellesley from Winthrop. Sylvia attends sixth grade at Marshall Livingston Grammar School, part of the public school system in Wellesley.|
|1946||September, 1946 Sylvia enters Gamaliel Bradford High School in Wellesley.|
Gamaliel Bradford (1863-1932) was an American biographer born in Boston. He wrote numerous biographical books including Lee The American (1912), Portraits of Women (1916) and Damaged Souls (1923). The school is now called Wellesley High School but the student newspaper is still called The Bradford.
|1947||September, 1947 As a sophomore in high school, Sylvia begins a three year course of study in literature with english teacher Wilbury Crockett. For sophomores, Crockett's focus is on American literature.|
|1948||September, 1948 Sylvia begins her junior year in high school. Crockett's literary course focuses on English literature.|
|1949||September, 1949 Sylvia begins her senior year in high school. Crockett's literature class focuses on world literature. During her senior year Sylvia is a co-editor of the student newspaper, The Bradford in which she publishes poems and other articles. She is also a member of the staff of the The Wellesleyan, Bradford's yearbook. Sylvia plays the part of Lady Agatha in the senior class production of The Admirable Crichton.|
J. M. Barrie's turn of the century play is a tale of shipwrecked aristocracy. Stranded on an island, the family of the Earl of Loam undergoes a social transformation which is at the end undermined when the "castaways" are rescued. Lady Agatha is one of the Earl's daughters who initially has a great deal of difficulty adjusting to island life.
July, 1950 Sylvia, with her brother, works at Lookout Farm in Dover, MA. (A section of Plath's published journal is called "Lookout Farm.")
Summer, 1950 Sylvia's story "And Summer Will Not Come Again" is published in the August issue of Seventeen Magazine.
August 3, 1950 Eddie Cohen, a college student from Chicago sends Sylvia a letter after reading her story in Seventeen Magazine. This is the beginning of a relationship that lasts until 1954.
August 6, 1950 Sylvia sends her reply letter to Eddie Cohen.
August, 1950 Sylvia gets an unexpected kiss from Ilo, a worker at Lookout Farm.
Founded in 1871 by Sophia Smith, Smith College in the 1950s was a relatively exclusive all-women college in Northampton, Massachusetts.
December, 1950 Dick Norton invites Syliva to a weekend dance at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Their romance begins. (Dick Norton is Buddy Willard in The Bell Jar)
|1951||March, 1951 Eddie Cohen, impulsively and without warning drives from Chicago to Northampton to see Sylvia who is surprised but disconcerted.|
June, 1951 Sylvia (with college friend Marcia Brown) gets a summer job as a "mother's helper" with the Mayo family of Swampscott, Massachusetts. (A section of Plath's published journals is called "Swampscott.")
September 1, 1951 Sylvia writes "Sonnet: To Spring?"
September, 1951 Sylvia begins her sophomore year (2nd) at Smith College; Marcia Brown is her roommate. During this year Sylvia is appointed to the editorial board of the Smith Review.
October, 1951 Sylvia attends a party at the home of her college friend Maureen Buckley (sister of political pundit William F.) in Sharon, Connecticut.
November, 1951 Sylvia's story "As a Baby-Sitter Sees It" is published with three of her drawings in the Christian Science Monitor.
December, 1951 Writes and submits to Mademoiselle magazine the short story "Sunday at the Mintons."
April, 1952 Sylvia attends a variety of lectures and events including a poetry reading by Robert Frost and a speech by Senator Joseph McCarthy (she reportedly "hisses" at McCarthy's speech.)|
May, 1952 Sylvia completes her second year of college.
August, 1952 Sylvia takes a job as a mother's helper with the Cantor family in Chatham, Massachusetts (Cape Cod).
From Sylvia Plath's Journals [August 8, 1952]
August 9, 1952 Meets and visits with the bohemian writer Val Gendron.
November, 1952 Sylvia's boyfriend Dick Norton goes to Lake Saranac, 80 miles north of Albany in New York State, for treatment of tuberculosis.
November 4, 1952 Sylvia, a staunch liberal-thinking young citizen is despondent about Eisenhower's victory over Stevenson in the presidential elections.
November 27, 1952 Meets Myron Lotz, a Yale premed student.
[Lotz was a baseball player. Sources conflict but Sylvia thought he played baseball in the Detroit Tigers organization. The published journals include a note explaining that Lotz played minor league baseball. Anne Stevenson in her Plath biography Bitter Fame includes a footnote suggesting Lotz only played semi-professional baseball.
December, 1952 Sylvia breaks her leg skiing while visiting Dick Norton in Lake Saranac, New York.
Sylvia, Aurelia, and Warren
Sources for the Chronology
- Aird, Eileen. Sylvia Plath: Her Life and Work. 1973
- Plath, Sylvia. The Journals of Sylvia Plath. Edited by Ted Hughes and Frances McCullough. 1982.
- Stevenson, Anne. Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath. 1989.
- Sylvia Plath Forum
- Sylvia Plath Links
- Sylvia Plath Biographical Sketch
- Lucy's Sylvia Plath Page
- Online NewsHour Ted Hughes' poems about Sylvia Plath
- Joan Welz's Sylvia Plath Site
- Guide to Sylvia Plath Materials at the Lilly Library
- Tamie van Pelt, "Symptomatic Perfectionism: Ideal Ego and Ego Ideal in the Journals of Sylvia Plath
- Plath Mailing List at Egroups
- Aurelia Plath
- English Studies Leipzig - Ted Hughes Pages
- Sylvia Plath- 1996 Cosmic Player Plate
- Aurelia Plath- 1999 Cosmic Player Plate
Plath @ CBA
Sylvia Plath was drafted by the Vestal Virgins in 1996 and assigned to the pitching squad. She's been relatively successful on the mound for the Virgins.
Official Cosmic Record
YEAR TEAM ERA IP ER BB K W L 1996 Virgins 3.17 179 63 102 143 12 12 1997 Virgins 3.70 73 30 38 55 3 3 1998 Virgins 3.30 188 69 72 118 9 16 Total 3 Seasons 3.31 440 162 212 316 24 31
Plath is currently on the pitching squad of the 1999 Vestal Virgins.
Click Here for Sylvia Plath's 1996 Cosmic Player Plate.
Sylvia Plath Chronology, Part 1 (1932-1952)
Published: May 17, 1999
Copyright © 1999 by the Cosmic Baseball Association