33 years on, a new book by Plath

THIRTY-THREE years after Sylvia Plath's suicide, her publishers are trumpeting a "new" book by the controversial poet. The It Doesn't Matter Suit, a children's story found among the poet's papers at the Lilly Library in Indiana University, has created a buzz of excitement among publishers around the world.

Just how much of a "discovery" it is, though, seems to be in dispute. "The book was recently discovered and brought to the attention of the Plath Estate," said Ros Edwards, of Faber's rights department. "They decided the book was worth publishing, and we were delighted to be involved."

Becky Cape of the Lilly Library, by contrast, said: "It's been known about for years. At least 200 people have looked at it. It's listed in the catalogue."

Plath wrote two books for children. The other, The Bed Book, was published by Faber & Faber in 1976 and is still in print. Like The Bed Book, The It Doesn't Matter Suit was written in 1959, but it has languished in the archives ever since.

A charming, light-hearted fable, it features the adventures of little Max Nix in the village of Winkelburg, as he hunts, fishes, skis and milks the cow in his all-purpose yellow suit.

It was written while Plath was living in Boston with Ted Hughes. On 6 October 1959, however, Plath's journal despondently records the rejection of "Max Nix", and no more is heard of it. After her death the typescript was swept up among a heap of papers and memorabilia, photos and correspondence and sold to the Lilly Library by her family.

The book was such a hit at the Bologna book fair that Faber had to organise a series of auctions for the European rights, with four or five publishers in each country competing. It is coming out in eight foreign editions.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Designer / Design Director

£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn