(9/27/02 3:10:59 pm)
| ?identify fairy tale w/ flying box|
I am corresponding with a woman who is translating The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath into Swedish. Naturally, she has many questions about usages that she is not clear on. In a passage about the childhood world of magic and fairy tales, there is the follwing sentence:
"...and the faultless illustrations--the beautiful dark-haired child (who was you) winging through the midnight sky on a star-path in her mother's box of reels."
Assuming the "reels" are spools for thread, this would be a sewing box. The passage was written in 1951, when Plath was 19, so the illustration would have to have been from about 1940 or before that. The question is, does anyone recognize what book or story this might refer to?
(9/27/02 7:52:50 pm)
Great question! I actually don't know the answer--surely someone does--but I do know that the line you quote comes from a very long passage in the Journals that references many, many different books and images--real and invented. In fact it's one of my favorite Plath passages. I used it as the epigraph for an essay collection I edited, I love it so much.
In the passage Plath also describes queens, maidens, princes, rosebushes, bears and 'Eeyorish donkeys,' magic wands, Griselda, feather-cloaks, the Cuckoo, Delight, slim-limbed flower sprites, Alice in Wonderland and Mother Goose.
Though someone will probably name the very book or story the 'box of reels' image comes from (as I said, sadly I can't, not even the story, though I am definitely going to delve into my collections and try to find it), I also want to suggest that this image *could* be an invention of Plath's. Of course, I will surely *eat my words.*
I would love to know which tale or book it's from too, so let's hope someone finds it! The whole passage reminds me not only of fairy tale collections I had as a child, but also of the tone of the b&w photographs by Toni Frissell that illustrate a stunning, haunting edition of A Child's Garden of Verses, c. 1947 or so, which I believe Plath references elsewhere in the Journals.
(9/29/02 5:13:43 pm)
| reels in Plath's star path |
Or couldn't the reels Plath remembers be film reels?