Thoughts for Thursday – Sylvia Plath


I confess: I am one of those obssessive Sylvia Plath people. I wouldn’t call myself a “fan.” You really can’t be a fan of a suicide, can you? I am drawn by her surprising, stunning use of language and haunted by her legend — cut off at the height of her powers, made famous by the slight volume of poems. She’s sort of like the Titanic of literature.

Besides, depressives can’t help but admire brilliant depressives. Somewhere in the primal recesses of the brain stem, you applaud them at having beat the system by producing something that will outlast even themselves.

So, for those who are similarly obssessed, a note on the publication of two new books:

The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath , Anita Helle, editor

Lover of Unreason: Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath’s Rival and Ted Hughes’ Doomed Love, by Yehuda Koren and Eliat Negev

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8 Responses to Thoughts for Thursday – Sylvia Plath

  1. Anonymous says:

    Exciting! I heard Koren and Negev speak (insert nerd voice)at the International Sylvia Plath Symposium and it was very interesting. I can’t wait to read the book!

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  2. Danielle says:

    Both books sound good. I want to read more about her. I loved The Bell Jar when I was younger and have several books about her (as well as journals and poems), but I haven’t read anything in a really long time. I sort of watched the movie, Sylvia, but couldn’t quite get through it. I always wonder about the correlation between genius and madness–not that she was mad, but obviously depressive.

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  3. litlove says:

    I adore Sylvia Plath. She was one of the most adventurous, extreme and linguistically supple poets of the twentieth century. And she left her kids with milk and cookies before sticking her head in the gas oven. What more is there to say about an extraordinary woman like that, other than, go read her work? Thanks for the references, LK, I’ll be checking them out.

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  4. nova says:

    LK, thanks for getting these on my radar. I’ve had a fascination with Sylvia Plath for a long while, something draws me to her as a writer, and I hope that doesn’t sound (too) morbid. I was all tied up in that very thick book of her journals some years ago… thanks.

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  5. iliana says:

    This is perfect timing as I just finished The Bell Jar over the weekend. I loved it and can’t believe I hadn’t read it earlier. Now I want to read more of her poetry and will look into the books you mentioned.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Iliana beat me to the punch, as I was about to say: I just read The Bell Jar for the first time, and it blew me away. I’m now onto her journals which are incredible. Definitely going to be looking into her poetry and these two books.

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  7. LK says:

    Well, I just may have to do more posting on SP! I have a whole shelf of what I call Plathanalia on my bookshelf. I will do a post of reading recommendations this week…stay tuned.

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  8. bloglily says:

    oooo. That second one — the doomed love! — sounds really juicy. I’ve always wondered what was really going on with Ted Hughes and the other woman. All I know about Plath comes from her journals, and it would be interesting to hear something from a different source!

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