November 1, 2018

Unpublished Sylvia Plath story to be released in 2019


A never-before-published story by Sylvia Plath will be released by Faber & Faber in January 2019. Set to be published as a stand-alone book, “Mary Venture and the Ninth Kingdom” was written in December 1952, during Plath’s junior year at Smith College. The story was described by Plath scholar Peter K. Steinberg as “an important work and different to what Plath’s readers are using to seeing.”

The story follows the title character as she is ushered through a cathedral-like station and onto a train by her parents, who proceed to abandon her in a strange, sinister carriage. There, she meets a woman who serves as her guide as the train “travels through dark tunnels and bleak landscapes.”

“I think Plath here is attempting to feminize and modify some biblical stories, as well as Dante’sDivine Comedy,’ by having Mary Ventura enact a journey by modern transport into the underworld,” Steinberg told The Guardian. “Mary in the end is presented with an opportunity to release herself from a fate she did not choose.”

The U.S. division of Faber & Faber has not confirmed whether or not the story will be made available in the states, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.




Julie Goldberg is an intern at Melville House.