Sylvia Plath

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Plath, Sylvia,

1932–63, American poet, b. Boston. Educated at Smith College and Cambridge, Plath published poems even as a child and won many academic and literary awards. Her first volume of poetry, The Colossus (1960), is at once highly disciplined, well crafted, and intensely personal; these qualities are present in all her work. Ariel (1968), considered her finest book of poetry, was written in the last months of her life and published posthumously, as were Crossing the Water (1971) and Winter Trees (1972). Her late poems reveal an objective detachment from life and a growing fascination with death. They are rendered with ruthless art, describing the most extreme reaches of Plath's consciousness and passions. Her one novel, The Bell Jar (1971), originally published in England under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas in 1962, is autobiographical, a fictionalized account of a nervous breakdown she suffered when in college. Plath was married (1956–63) to the British poet Ted HughesHughes, Ted
(Edward James Hughes), 1930–98, English poet, b. Mytholmyroyd, Yorkshire, studied Cambridge. Hughes's best poetry focuses on the unsentimental within nature.
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. She committed suicide in London in Feb., 1963. Her brief life, troubled marriage, and fiercely luminous poetry have provided the raw materials for interpretation by a small army of biographers, feminists, memoirists, novelists, playwrights, scholars, and others.


See her collected poems (1981); occasional prose in Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams (1979); journals ed. by T. Hughes and F. McCullough (1983), and unabridged journals ed. by K. V. Kulil (2000); letters ed. by P. K. Steinberg and K. V. Kukil (2 vol., 2017–18); memoir by J. Becker (2004); biographies by E. Butscher (1979), A. Stevenson (1989), P. Alexander (1991), R. Hayman (1991), J. Rose (1991), L. Wagner-Martin (1987 and 1999, rev. ed. 2003), C. Rollyson (2013), and H. Clark (2020); J. Malcolm, The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes (1994), T. Hughes, Birthday Letters (1998), D. Middlebrook, Her Husband: Hughes and Plath–A Marriage (2003), and A. Wilson, Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life before Ted (2013); studies by M. Broe (1980), J. Rosenblatt (1982), L. Wagner-Martin, ed. (1988, repr. 1997; 1992), and L. Niland, ed. (2013); A. Alvarez also wrote extensively about her in his study of suicide, The Savage God (1971).

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Plath, Sylvia

(1932–63) poet; born in Boston, Mass. A graduate of Smith College, she had a Fulbright Scholarship to Oxford, where she met and married the English poet, Ted Hughes. She had written poetry since childhood; her first volume of poems, A Winter Ship (1960), was published anonymously; her next volume was The Colossus and Other Poems (1960); her autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar (1963), appeared just before her suicide (1963); other volumes of her poetry appeared posthumously. She was generally regarded as belonging to the modern "confessional school" because of the highly personal nature of her intense, often anguished poetry.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
The first two chapters highlight story of Sylvia Plath's bipolarity.
The published evidence documenting Plath's reading of Joyce's work (in The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 [hereafter Journals] and Letters Home) centers on her college years, and reveals an involved relationship.
The Poetry of Sylvia Plath: A Reader's Guide To Essential Criticism.
People think it's depressing, or a biography of Sylvia Plath, but it's not and there's so much humour in it," Fanning said.
A blend of tragicomedy and waning romance, The Lost Journals of Sylvia Plath explores uncomfortable material with biting humor.
Discussing works by Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Jorie Graham, Susan Howe, and a group of poets responding to the AIDS epidemic, Ann Keniston (Associate Professor of English, University of Nevada, Reno) draws on and critically assesses trauma theory and psychoanalysis, as well as earlier discussions of witness, elegy, lyric trope and figure, postmodernism, allusion, and performance, to define the ghosts that clearly dramatize poetics of belatedness throughout the diverse poetry of post-World War II America.
Sylvia Plath: Stages of Self-Revelation through Deixis
Many volumes have been written about poet and author Sylvia Plath (1932-62), but much of the myth surrounding her has been filtered by, and focused on the years after her marriage to, fellow poet Ted Hughes--who some blame for her suicide.
While Sylvia Plath belongs to the 20th century, Lawrence belongs to the late 19th century and 20th century and Blake to the 18th century.
Ferretter asserts in his introduction, "There are two major ways of thinking about Sylvia Plath's work in contemporary criticism": either "as a progression towards the greatest poetry of Plath's career, the poems of 1962 and 1963" or as "an investigation of 'the other Sylvia Plath'" (1), a phrase Ferretter borrows from the title of Tracy Brain's work.
There are also insights into his relationship with Sylvia Plath. Finally there are ten appendices quoting material not easily available elsewhere which shed light on both men's works.