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Sylvia Plath - book author

Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer.

Known primarily for her poetry, Plath also wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The book's protagonist, Esther Greenwood, is a bright, ambitious student at Smith College who begins to experience a mental breakdown while interning for a fashion magazine in New York. The plot parallels Plath's experience interning at Mademoiselle magazine and subsequent mental breakdown and suicide attempt.

Along with Anne Sexton, Plath is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry initiated by Robert Lowell and W.D. Snodgrass. Despite her remarkable artistic, academic, and social success at Smith, Plath suffered from severe depression and underwent a period of psychiatric hospitalization. She graduated from Smith with highest honours in 1955 and went on to Newnham College, Cambridge, in England, on a Fulbright fellowship. Here she met and married the English poet Ted Hughes in 1956. For the following two years she was an instructor in English at Smith College.

In 1960, shortly after Plath and Hughes returned to England from America, her first collection of poems appeared as The Colossus. She also gave birth to a daughter, Frieda Rebecca. Hughes’ and Plath’s son, Nicholas Farrar, was born in 1962.

Plath took her own life on the morning of February 11, 1963. Leaving out bread and milk, she completely sealed the rooms between herself and her sleeping children with "wet towels and cloths." Plath then placed her head in the oven while the gas was turned on.

Her father was Otto Emil Plath.

Sylvia Plath is the author of books: The Bell Jar, Ariel, The Collected Poems, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, The Colossus and Other Poems, Ariel: The Restored Edition, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose and Diary Excerpts, Letters Home, Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom, Crossing the Water

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Author Books

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01
Sylvia Plath's shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity.

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.
02
Sylvia Plath's celebrated collection.

When Sylvia Plath died, she not only left behind a prolific life but also her unpublished literary masterpiece, Ariel. Her husband, Ted Hughes, brought the collection to life in 1966, and its publication garnered worldwide acclaim. This collection showcases the beloved poet’s brilliant, provoking, and always moving poems, including "Ariel" and once again shows why readers have fallen in love with her work throughout the generations.
03
The aim of the present complete edition, which contains a numbered sequence of the 224 poems written after 1956 together with a further 50 poems chosen from her pre-1956 work, is to bring Sylvia Plath's poetry together in one volume, including the various uncollected and unpublished pieces, and to set everything in as true a chronological order as is possible, so that the whole progress and achievement of this unusual poet will become accessible to readers.
04
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.
05
With this startling, exhilarating book of poems, which was first published in 1960, Sylvia Plath burst into literature with spectacular force. In such classics as "The Beekeeper's Daughter," "The Disquieting Muses," "I Want, I Want," and "Full Fathom Five," she writes about sows and skeletons, fathers and suicides, about the noisy imperatives of life and the chilly hunger for death. Graceful in their craftsmanship, wonderfully original in their imagery, and presenting layer after layer of meaning, the forty poems in The Colossus are early artifacts of genius that still possess the power to move, delight, and shock.
06
Sylvia Plath's famous collection, as she intended it.

When Sylvia Plath died, she not only left behind a prolific life but also her unpublished literary masterpiece, Ariel. When her husband, Ted Hughes, first brought this collection to life, it garnered worldwide acclaim, though it wasn't the draft Sylvia had wanted her readers to see. This facsimile edition restores, for the first time, Plath's original manuscript—including handwritten notes—and her own selection and arrangement of poems. This edition also includes in facsimile the complete working drafts of her poem "Ariel," which provide a rare glimpse into the creative process of a beloved writer. This publication introduces a truer version of Plath's works, and will no doubt alter her legacy forever.
07
"What I fear most, I think, is the death of the imagination.... If I sit still and don't do anything, the world goes on beating like a slack drum, without meaning. We must be moving, working, making dreams to run toward; the poverty of life without dreams is too horrible to imagine."-- Sylvia Plath, from "Notebooks, February 1956"Renowned for her poetry, Sylvia Plath was also a brilliant writer of prose. This collection of short stories, essays, and diary excerpts highlights her fierce concentration on craft, the vitality of her intelligence, and the yearnings of her imaginaton. Featuring an introduction by Plath's husband, the late British poet Ted Hughes, these writings also reflect themes and images she would fully realize in her poetry. "Jonny Panic and the Bible of Dreams" truly showcases the talent and genius of Sylvia Plath.
08
Letters Home represents Sylvia Plath's correspondence from her time at Smith College in the early fifties, through her meeting with, and subsequent marriage to, the poet Ted Hughes, up to her death in February 1963. The letters are addressed mainly to her mother, with whom she had an extremely close and confiding relationship, but there are also some to her brother Warren and her benefactress Mrs Prouty. Plath's energy, enthusiasm and her passionate tackling of life burst onto these pages, providing us with a vivid and intimate portrait of a woman who has come to be regarded as one of the greatest of twentieth-century poets. In addition to her capacity for domestic and writerly happiness, however, these letters also hint at Plath's potential for deep despair, which reached its crisis when she holed up in a London flat for the terrible winter of 1963.
09
Faber Stories, a landmark series of individual volumes, presents masters of the short story form at work in a range of genres and styles.

Lips the colour of blood, the sun an unprecedented orange, train wheels that sound like 'guilt, and guilt, and guilt': these are just some of the things Mary Ventura begins to notice on her journey to the ninth kingdom.

'But what is the ninth kingdom?' she asks a kind-seeming lady in her carriage. 'It is the kingdom of the frozen will,' comes the reply. 'There is no going back.'

Sylvia Plath's strange, dark tale of independence over infanticide, written not long after she herself left home, grapples with mortality in motion.

Bringing together past, present and future in our ninetieth year, Faber Stories is a celebratory compendium of collectable work.
10
Crossing the Water and Winter Trees contain the poems written during the exceptionally creative period of the last years of Sylvia Plath’s life. Published posthumously in 1971, they add a startling counterpoint to Ariel, the volume that made her reputation. Readers will recognise some of her most celebrated poems – ‘Childless Woman’, ‘Mirror’, ‘Insomniac’ – while discovering those still overlooked, including her radio play Three Women. These two extraordinary volumes find their place alongside The Colossus and Ariel in the oeuvre of a singular talent.