Over the years, Sylvia Plath has come to inhabit a contested area of cultural production with other ambiguous authors between the highbrow, the middlebrow, and the popular. Claiming Sylvia Plath is a critical and comprehensive reception study of what has been written about Plath from 1960 to 2010. Academic and popular interest in her seems incessant, verging on a public obsession. The story of Sylvia Plath is not only the story of a writer and her texts, but also of the readers who have tried to make sense of her life and work. A religious tone and a rhetoric of accountability dominate among the devoted. Questing for the real or true Sylvia, they share a sense of posessiveness towards outsiders or those who deviate from what they see as a correct approach to the poet. In order to offer a new and more nuanced perspective on Plath’s public image, the reception has been organized into interpretive communities composed of critics, feminists, biographers, psychologists, and friends. Pertinent questions are raised about how the poet functions as an excemplary figure, and how – and by whom – she is used to further theories, politics, careers, and a number of other causes. Ethical issues and rhetorical strategies consequently loom high in Claiming Sylvia Plath. The book may be employed both as a guide to the massive body of Plath literature and as a history of a changing critical doxa. Why Sylvia Plath has been serviceable to so many and open to colonization is another way of asking why she keeps on fascinating all kinds of readers worldwide. Claiming Sylvia Plath suggests a host of possible answers. It includes an extensive Plath bibliography.
Ideology in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath provides close readings of some of Plath’s transitional and late poetry that deals with the domestic and cultural ideologies prevalent in post-war America, which affected women’s lives at the time. By examining some of Plath’s manuscripts, Ikram Hili shows how these ideologies informed her writing process.
Primary research exploring why many of Sylvia Plath’s readers become so attached to her as a cultural figureAn innovative and theoretical approach to the relationship between author and readerPreviously unpublished photographsA creative exploration of ways in which fandom can manifest itself The Haunted Reader and Sylvia Plath takes an unusual approach to studies on this enigmatic literary figure, focusing on the readers rather than the historical figure herself. Working from the premise that Plath is a highly visible cultural figure, this book explores why her readers become so attached to her. Why does she have such a large and devoted following? What is it about her that attracts people and once they are drawn in, how does this fandom manifest itself? This book is based on primary research carried out by the author who has collected stories and accounts from readers of Plath and explores key areas such as the first encounter with Plath, ways in which fans feel they ‘double’ with her, pilgrimages that they make to places where she lived and worked, how they interact with her images and how they respond to objects owned by Plath. This study is unique and there is no other book that deals with this subject. As such, The Haunted Reader and Sylvia Plath offers a fascinating and original approach not only to Plath scholarship, but to the increasing body of literature on fandom studies. Illustrations: 13 black-and-white photographs
Sylvia Plath is one of the best-known and most widely-studied writers of the twentieth century. Since her death in 1963, critics have presented different images of Plath: the 'suicidal' poet, the frustrated wife and mother, the feminist precursor. In this lively and approachable introduction to the author's poetry, Susan Bassnett offers a balanced view of Plath as one of the finest contemporary poets, and shows the diversity of her work. Bassnett's refreshing perspective on the writer provides a welcome alternative to the many studies which attempt endlessly to psychoanalyse Plath posthumously. Bassnett argues that there can never be any definitive version of the Plath story, but, from close readings of her texts, readers can discover the excitement of her diverse work. Plath is not viewed as an author driven by a death wish, nor does the book focus on her suicide - instead, she is considered in the cultural context in which she wrote, and viewed as a complex writer. Now thoroughly revised and expanded in the light of recent research, the second edition of this essential text contains new chapters and more close reading of the poetry. It concludes with an analysis of Ted Hughes' Birthday Letters, a collection of poems which he wrote about his wife after her death.
Sylvia Plath is one of the most widely recognised and inspiring poets of the 20th century. With chapters written by more than 25 leading and emerging international scholars this is the most up-to-date and in-depth reference guide to 21st century scholarship on her life and work. The Bloomsbury Handbook to Sylvia Plath covers the full range of contemporary scholarship on Plath's work, including such topics as: · New insights from the publication of Plath's letters · Current scholarly perspectives: feminist and gender studies, race, medical humanities and ecocriticism · Plath's poetry, the major novel, The Bell Jar, and Plath's writing for children · Plath's literary contexts, from Ovid and Robert Lowell to Ted Hughes, Doris Lessing and Stevie Smith · Plath's broadcasting work for the BBC The book also includes a substantial annotated bibliography of key primary and secondary writing by and on the author.
This book examines the influence of American poetry on Seamus Heaneys achievement by close attention to the themes, style, and resonances of his poetry at different stages of his career, including his appointments in Berkeley and Harvard. Beginning with an examination of Heaneys education at Queens University, this study presents comparative close readings which explore the influence of five American poets he read during this period: Robert Frost, John Crowe Ransom, Theodore Roethke, Robert Lowell, and Elizabeth Bishop. Laverty demonstrates how Heaney returned to several of these poets in response to difficulty and to consolidate later aesthetic developments. Heaneys ambivalent critical treatment of Sylvia Plath is investigated, as is his partial misreading of Bishop, who is understood today more sensitively than in her lifetime. This study also probes the reasons for his elision of other prominent American writers, making this the first comprehensive assessment of American influence on Heaneys poetry. Dr Christopher Laverty is an academic researcher based at Queens University, Belfast, where he completed his PhD in 2019. His work has been published in Twentieth-century Literature, Irish Studies Review, and Estudios Irlandeses.
Sylvia Plath es una de las poetas más conocidas y controvertidas del siglo XX. Desde su muerte en 1963, el debate crítico sobre su obra ha sido animado y, en ocasiones, incluso hostil. Esta obra ilustra cómo leer a Plath desde una perspectiva alternativa, utilizando la teoría de Julia Kristeva sobre el lenguaje político, y que permite una apreciación de los poemas que va más allá de lo biográfico al hacer énfasis, en cambio, en los textos; de ese modo, se engrana con la primera persona como una herramienta heurística compleja e inestable. Al explorar los poemas en términos de su trascendencia en lugar de centrarse exclusivamente en su significado explora la manera en la que la obra de Plath produce una crisis de subjetividad oratoria y, a partir de ahí, emerge la naturaleza «revolucionaria» de la voz poética.
"Alana Massey's prose is to brutal honesty what a mandolin is to a butter knife: she's sharper; she slices thinner; she shows the cross-section of a truth so deftly--so powerfully and cannily--it's hard to look away, and hard not to feel that something has shifted in you for having read her." -- Leslie Jamison, New York Times bestselling author of The Empathy Exams From columnist and critic Alana Massey, a collection of essays examining the intersection of the personal with pop culture through the lives of pivotal female figures--from Sylvia Plath to Britney Spears--in the spirit of Chuck Klosterman, with the heart of a true fan. Mixing Didion's affected cool with moments of giddy celebrity worship, Massey examines the lives of the women who reflect our greatest aspirations and darkest fears back onto us. These essays are personal without being confessional and clever in a way that invites readers into the joke. A cultural critique and a finely wrought fan letter, interwoven with stories that are achingly personal, All the Lives I Want is also an exploration of mental illness, the sex industry, and the dangers of loving too hard. But it is, above all, a paean to the celebrities who have shaped a generation of women--from Scarlett Johansson to Amber Rose, Lil' Kim, Anjelica Huston, Lana Del Rey, Anna Nicole Smith and many more. These reflections aim to reimagine these women's legacies, and in the process, teach us new ways of forgiving ourselves.
From Sylvia Plath’s depictions of the Holocaust as a group of noncohering “bits” to AIDS elegies’ assertions that the dead posthumously persist in ghostly form and Susan Howe’s insistence that the past can be conveyed only through juxtaposed “scraps,” the condition of being too late is one that haunts post-World War II American poetry. This is a poetry saturated with temporal delay, partial recollection of the past, and the revelation that memory itself is accessible only in obstructed and manipulated ways. These postwar poems do not merely describe the condition of lateness: they enact it literally and figuratively by distorting chronology, boundary, and syntax, by referring to events indirectly, and by binding the condition of lateness to the impossibility of verifying the past. The speakers of these poems often indicate that they are too late by repetitively chronicling distorted events, refusing closure or resolution, and forging ghosts out of what once was tangible. Ghostly Figures contends that this poetics of belatedness, along with the way it is bound to questions of poetic making, is a central, if critically neglected, force in postwar American poetry. Discussing works by Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Jorie Graham, Susan Howe, and a group of poets responding to the AIDS epidemic, Ann Keniston 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.
Because wherever I sat, on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok, I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air. Readers who are familiar with Sylvia Plath's work may recognize this well-known quotation from her first and only novel, The Bell Jar, which tackles issues of depression, mental illness, and the search for individuality. This compelling volume examines Sylvia Plath's life and writings, with a specific look at key ideas related to The Bell Jar. A collection of twenty-three essays offers readers context and insight to discussions centering around the pervasive impact of illness, the novel as a search for personal identity, and the autobiographical nature of the work. The book also examines contemporary perspectives on depression, such as the sometimes deadly pressure of perfectionism on gifted teens, and the idea that depression and risk of suicide run in families.