The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962: Transcripts from the Original Manuscripts at Smith College

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The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962: Transcripts from the Original Manuscripts at Smith College

Format:  Paperback,

732 pages

Edition: Anchor Books

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: Sep 2000

ISBN-13: 9780385720250

ISBN-10: 0385720254

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
Sylvia Plath began keeping a diary as a child. By the time she was at Smith College, when this book begins, she had settled into a nearly daily routine with her journal, which was also a sourcebook for her writing. Plath once called her journal her "Sargasso", her repository of imagination, "a litany of dreams, directives and imperatives", and in fact these pages contain the germs of most of her work. Plath's ambitions as a writer were urgent and ultimately all-consuming, requiring of her a heat, a fantastic chaos, even a violence that burned straight through her. The intensity of this struggle is rendered in her journal with an unsparing clarity, revealing both the frequent desperation of her situation and the bravery with which she faced down her demons. Written in electrifying prose, the journals provide unique insight, and are essential reading for all those who have been moved and fascinated by Plath's life and work.

An abridged version of the Journals was first published in 1982, edited by Plath's husband, Ted Hughes. Now, for the first time, we have the complete journals, with all the material that had been suppressed by Hughes and by Plath's mother, Aurelia Plath, restored. What emerges is a more complete picture of the troubled poet, and especially a clearer view of the resentments she felt toward her husband and her mother. In addition, the inclusion of descriptions of her father -- a major presence in the Ariel poems -- and her parents' marriage, and of many sketches and ideas for stories and poems provide the reader with insight into the connections between Plath's life and her work.


Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Sep 2000
ISBN-13: 9780385720250
ISBN-10: 0385720254
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 732
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.55
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.0 x 8.0 x 1.6

About the author

Biography of Plath, Sylvia

Sylvia Plath's best poetry was produced, tragically, as she pondered self-destruction---in her poems as well as her life---and she eventually committed suicide. She had an extraordinary impact on British as well as American poetry in the few years before her death, and affected many poets, particularly women, in the generation after. She is a confessional poet, influenced by the approach of Robert Lowell. Born in Boston, a graduate of Smith College, Plath attended Newnham College, Cambridge University, on a Fulbright Fellowship and married the British poet Ted Hughes.

Of her first collection, The Colossus and Other Poems (1962), the Times Literary Supplement remarked, "Plath writes from phrase to phrase as well as with an eye on the larger architecture of the poem; each line, each sentence is put together with a good deal of care for the springy rhythm, the arresting image and---most of all, perhaps---the unusual word". Plath's second book of poetry, Ariel, written in 1962 in a last fever of passionate creative activity, was published posthumously in 1965 and explores dimensions of women's anger and sexuality in groundbreaking new ways.

Plath's struggles with women's issues, in the days before the second wave of American feminism, became legendary in the 1970's, when a new generation of women readers and writers turned to her life as well as her work to understand the contradictory pressures of ambitious and talented women in the 1950's. The Bell Jar---first published under a pseudonym in 1963 and later issued under Plath's own name in England in 1966---is an autobiographical novel describing an ambitious young woman's efforts to become a "real New York writer" only to sink into mental illness and despair at her inability to operate within the narrow confines of traditional feminine expectations. Plath was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1982. In recent years, there have been a number of biographies and critical evaluations of Plath's work.

Chapter outline

List of Illustrations
Publisher's Note
The Journals of Sylvia Plath
Journal July 1950 - July 1953
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts (first year)
Wellesley and Swampscott, Massachusetts (summer 1951)
Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts (sophomore)
Wellesley and Cape Cod, Massachusetts (summer 1952)
Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts (junior)
Wellesley, Massachusetts (summer 1953)
Journal 22 November 1955 - 18 April 1956
Newnham College, Cambridge, England
Journal 15 July 1956
Benidorm, Spain (honeymoon)
Journal 22 July 1956 - 26 August 1956
Benidorm, Spain
'Sketchbook of a Spanish Summer'
Journal 3 January 1957 - 11 March 1957
Cambridge, England
'Fish and Chip Shop'
Journal 15 July 1957 - 21 August 1957
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Journal 28 August 1957 - 14 October 1958
Northampton, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
Journal 12 December 1958 - 15 November 1959
Boston, Massachusetts (therapy notes)
Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, New York
Journal Fragment 17-19 October 1951, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts
Back to School Commandments
Journal Fragments 24 March 1953 - 9 Arpril 1953
Journal Fragment 19 June 1953, Mademoiselle, New York, New York
Letter June - July 1953, Wellesley, Massachusetts
Journal Fragment 31 December 1955 - 1 January 1956, Nice, France (winter vacation)
Journal 26 March 1956 - 5 April 1956, Paris, France (spring vacation)
Journal Fragment 1 April 1956
Journal Fragment 16 April 1956
Journal 26 June 1956 - 6 March 1961
'The Inmate', London, England, 1961
Journal June 1957 - June 1960
Letter 1 October 1957
Journal Fragment 5 November 1957
Hospital Notes
Journal 1962, North Tawton, Devonshire, England


Review by Library Journal (2000-09-15)

Plath's admirers should prepare themselves for another dose of her bitter medicine: Anchor Books has announced the U.S. publication of her "complete, uncensored journals". (This unabridged edition appeared first in England.) Judiciously and unobtrusively edited by curator Kukil, who oversees the Plath Collection at Smith College, the text includes the portions suppressed by Plath's husband, the poet Ted Hughes, now deceased, when he authorized an earlier American edition. About two-thirds of the writings, which cover the last years of Plath's fevered life, have not been available to the public previously.

All of the difficulties and contradictions that made Plath a literary icon are contained in these intense, confessional revelations, including her anger, egotism, frustrations, self-destructiveness, and passionate need to express herself. Certain to generate dozens of new academic papers, this is essential for anyone engaged in Plath studies. DCarol A. McAllister, Coll. of William & Mary Lib., Williamsburg, VA

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

First U.S. Publication

A major literary event--the complete, uncensored journals of Sylvia Plath, published in their entirety for the first time.

Sylvia Plath's journals were originally published in 1982 in a heavily abridged version authorized by Plath's husband, Ted Hughes. This new edition is an exact and complete transcription of the diaries Plath kept during the last twelve years of her life. Sixty percent of the book is material that has never before been made public, more fully revealing the intensity of the poet's personal and literary struggles, and providing fresh insight into both her frequent desperation and the bravery with which she faced down her demons. The complete Journals of Sylvia Plath is essential reading for all who have been moved and fascinated by Plath's life and work.

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