An unseen short story written by Sylvia Plath will be published by Faber for the first time in January 2019. The Guardian reports that it will be part of a collection being released to celebrate the publisher’s 90th anniversary.
Image via Faber
‘Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom’ follows a young woman whose parents abandon her on a train. There Mary meets a kind woman who becomes her guide as the train journeys through nine different kingdoms.
Plath wrote the story in 1952 during her third year at Smith College. It was reportedly both an exciting and troubling time for her. Plath scholar Peter K. Steinberg believes that suicide had already been on her mind by the time she had finished the story.
Steinberg also believes that the story is unlike anything she had written before or after. “I think Plath here is attempting to feminise and modify some biblical stories, as well as Dante’s Divine Comedy, by having Mary Ventura enact a journey by modern transport into the underworld,” Steinberg said. “Mary in the end is presented with an opportunity to release herself from a fate she did not choose.”
Steinberg adds, “It’s an important work and different to what Plath’s readers are used to seeing.”
Featured Image via The Guardian