Emily Van Duyne teaches writing at Stockton University, where she is also affiliated faculty in Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Her current research focuses on the American poet Sylvia Plath, and the ways her biographical and literary legacy has been constructed in the wake of her 1963 suicide through editorial censorship and literary and cultural tropes, such as the unreliable narrator. Her monograph Loving Sylvia Plath (forthcoming with W.W. Norton & Co.) uses intersectional feminist theory ranging from epistemic philosophy to postcolonial criticism to better understand how the world has come to know a mythologized "Sylvia Plath." Her other work on Plath looks at the role of domestic violence and sexual assault in Plath's biography and work, and can be read in the Harvard Review, Literary Hub, and elsewhere.
As a 2021 Fulbright Scholar, Van Duyne will teach a course on Sylvia Plath at Aristotle University, in Thessaloniki, that will focus on Plath's drafting and editorial process, and will make use of archival materials from Smith College's Mortimer Rare Book Room and Emory University's Rose Library. She will also begin research about the influence of the Greek philosopher Plato on Plath's famed Ariel poems, for a new monograph, which will be the first on this particular element of Plath's work. This research combines Greek literature and the history of the Fulbright program, as Sylvia Plath first read Plato while studying at Cambridge University on a Fulbright Scholarship from 1955-1957. It was during this time that she met and married the poet Ted Hughes, who would go onto become Britain's poet laureate; their marriage and creative partnership would change 20th century poetry. Plath's annotations in her editions of Plato from her Fulbright act as footnotes to her early love affair with Hughes, while her Ariel poems, written while her marriage to Hughes collapsed, are heavily influenced by Plato's Republic and Crito, and can be read as a meditation on the end of romantic love, and on suicide. Additionally, Van Duyne will help to organize a "Sylvia Plath & Fulbright" symposium, which will take place at Aristotle University in May 2021. She hopes that these projects will expand international understanding of Plath's wide literary and philosophical influences, and continue to change our limited understanding of her from a psychological case study into the landmark writer she was.
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