Sally Bayley is a Teaching and Research Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford and a Lecturer in English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She has written widely on visual responses to literature, including a jointly-authored study of Sylvia Plath’s relationship to the visual arts: Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath’s Art of the Visual (OUP, 2007) and a study of Plath as a cultural icon, Representing Sylvia Plath (CUP, 2011).
In 2010 she completed a cross-media study of Emily Dickinson as a way of thinking about America’s relationship to space and place. Home on the Horizon: America’s Search for Space, from Emily Dickinson to Bob Dylan (Peter Lang, 2011) takes Dickinson as the hero for an exploration of America’s imagined relationship with ideas of home.
Sally has just completed a book of narrative non-fiction. The Private Life of the Diary: from Pepys to Tweets tells the story of the diary as a coming of age story. Beginning with teenage diarists, Sally moves through significant moments of lived experience, from the teenage years when diary writing often begins, to the years of family, professional life, old age and death. The book takes the diaries of Virginia Woolf, Samuel Pepys, Sylvia Plath and others as her starting point for a discussion of the importance of private forms of writing and self-reflection as a means of securing a personal and public identity. From Pepys to Tweets assess the loss of such an acutely private form of life-writing in an age of facebooking, blogging and tweeting.
Sally is now completing a literary memoir about growing up in an all-female charismatic household and her escape by reading.