Professor Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick publishes new book on Assia Wevill

November 10, 2021
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Chancellor’s  Professor Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick is the co-editor of a new book, The Collected Writings of Assia Wevill, which marks a significant development in literary recovery efforts related to Assia Wevill (1927–1969), who remains a critically important figure in the life and work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sylvia Plath and the British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes.

Goodspeed-Chadwick and co-editor, Peter K. Steinberg, located over 150 texts authored by Assia Wevill and curated them into a collected scholarly edition of her letters, journals, poems, and other creative writings. These documents, some of which were lost at sea and later recovered, and which span the globe in terms of where the originals are located,  chronicle her personal and professional lives, her experiences as a single working mother in 1960s London, her domestic life with Hughes, and her celebrated translations of poetry by Yehuda Amichai.

Published by Louisiana State University (LSU) Press, The Collected Writings of Assia Wevill offers an invaluable documentary resource for understanding a woman whose life continues to captivate readers and scholars. “What we have compiled is incomplete; it does not represent the entirety of her—who she was, what she thought, and how she was received. But it is a giant step forward in allowing reading to start to better understand a misunderstood person and her complicated relationships,” said co-editor, Steinberg.

“It is an honor to have worked on this book: at last, we have Assia Wevill’s writing across genres in print and easily accessible in one volume for the first time. This is the very book I wished existed years ago for my own teaching and research purposes, and with the support of the Estate of Assia Wevill and the Estate of Yehuda Amichai, as well as numerous archivists and people who knew Assia, Peter and I have put together a scholarly volume that contextualizes her life and work, all of which will be appealing to general readers and scholars who work in literary, cultural, biographical, and women’s and gender studies,” said Goodspeed-Chadwick.

Luke Ferretter, author of Sylvia Plath’s Fiction: A Critical Study had this to say about the work: “With painstaking and inspired archival and biographical labor, Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick and Peter K. Steinberg have assembled the first scholarly edition of the work of Assia Gutmann Wevill. This is a groundbreaking work. The editors’ great achievement is to have allowed Assia to speak for herself, for the first time to readers and scholars of twentieth century literature.”

About the Authors

Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick is an IUPUI Chancellor’s Professor of English, IU Bicentennial Professor (2019–2021), affiliate faculty member in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, and director of the Office of Student Research at Indiana University–Purdue University Columbus.

Peter K. Steinberg is an archivist and the author of nearly two dozen essays on Sylvia Plath. He is coeditor of the two-volume Letters of Sylvia Plath.

For more information about the book: https://lsupress.org/books/detail/collected-writings-of-assia-wevill.