The Private Life of the Diary

By Sally Bayley

From Pepys to Tweets: a history of the diary as an art form

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Sylvia Plath sculpture

Dear Unbounders,

Happy Summer! The Private Life of the Diary: from Pepys to Tweets is in the final editing stages! 

Meanwhile, I have just completed an intenstive interdisciplinary summer course at the Rothermere American Institute, Oxford University. Some of the course included diaries and diary writing: ( One of the attending, students, artist Mikaela Liottoa, pulled this exotic creature (below) from her suitcase. She has travelled all the way from the East Coast of the U.S. Sylvia is a sculptural tribute to the young Sylvia Plath, who, writing in her diary, imagined herself as a mermaid swimming around Disney's Fantasia film; or as part of the Lorelei legend, the siren-maiden from the German Rhineland Plath's mother read to her. Plath's juvenile diaries are filled with such heady mixes of fantasy and fairytale.

You will be hearing more about these fantasies early next year when my book comes out. Meanwhile, I salute the talent of Sylvia Plath and the burgeoning talent of book artist and sculptor, Mikalea Liotta. Sylvia has pride of place during the summer months on my desk as I finish my editing, surrounded by books and notebooks and my watchful wise-owl. Sylvia Plath loved the goddess Athena; Athena often took the form of an owl.

Thank you all for your support.

With best wishes,



                            Sylvia by Mikaela Liotta

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