Sylvia

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Book Reviews
Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Its 50 years today since Sylvia Plath took her own life and interesting that the anniversary of her death is commemorated more than that of her birth. I’ve been reading ‘The Bell Jar’, her only novel unaware of this forthcoming anniversary. I’ve always read a lot but now I read novels to help me write fiction; to try and learn how successful authors do it. ‘The Bell Jar’ helped me understand the despair of depression and inspired me to learn more about the mental illness which features in my novel, ‘Revenge Ritual’. Her descriptions are so immediate and distinct.

‘Because wherever I sat – on the deck of a ship or at a street cafe in Paris or Bangkok – I would be sitting under the same bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.’

And so human and easy to identify with, ‘I am sure there are things that can’t be cured by a good bath but I can’t think of one.’

Both extracts taken from ‘The Bell Jar’ published in 1963

‘The Bell Jar’ is a poignant read knowing she ended her own life a month after it was published in the UK.

Half a century on speculation is still burning about Sylvia’s relationship with Ted Hughes and if he re-arranged her poetry published after her death.

As Hadley Freeman wrote in ‘The Guardian’ ‘Plath’s fame bloomed under the cloud of her death . . . and it’s a shadow that only darkens. Just as Marilyn Monroe is seen as the archetypal tragic Hollywood blonde, so Plath has been flattened into the prototype of the mentally tormented poet, the betrayed woman, the tragic literary blonde.’

So lets celebrate her brilliance by reading her work.

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