The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath
Not a conventional biograpy, this book offers an explanation of Sylvia Plath's death in 1963. The author looks back on Plath's life in an attempt to offer an objective account of why she killed herself. It discusses her life with her husband Ted Hughes, who had control of all her copyright works, as she killed herself without making a will. This edition brings the story fu...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 24th 2003 by The History Press
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
(showing 1-30 of 468)
I read this after re-reading The Bell Jar as I wanted to learn a bit more about Sylvia Plath's life. I liked that it started with her suicide -its so sad it would be hard to end the book on it.Rather than lay out her life chronologically, the book was split into chapters to look at e.g. her relationship with female friends, relationships with boyfriends/her marriage, relationship with her mother/father etc.I am sure a lot of it is speculative but i did find it an interesting read. Her suicidal f...more
The book, The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath is a biography that tells about the life Sylvia Plath lived with by describing her hard and easy days that she and her family/peers went through. I liked that it told both the troubles Plath had and the easy and relieving days. It helps you to see how people can have good and bad days that can lead to a good or bad ending of life. I didn't like that it was very step by step and stage by stage type of book. The authors style was a play by play of Sylvi...more
I read this biography of Sylvia Plath because I'd just re-read The Bell Jar for book club, and I was curious about Sylvia's real life, family and marriage. I chose the one of four biographies at the TCL that was the thinnest... I had a limited amount of reading time!! Hayman's bio is perfectly serviceable. It starts with Sylvia's suicide and then backs up to examine her life. A bit sensationalist for my taste, but also, you know what's going to happen anyway, so why not get it out of the way up...more
A very impressive, in depth biography of Sylvia Plath. I loved gaining some valuable insight into some of my favorite Plath poems as well as learning more about her and Ted Hughes's turbulent (and rather bizarre) relationship. The first chapter, in which Hayman gives a detailed account of her suicide and the days preceding it, is gripping. As one commentator wrote on the back - the first chapter is 'worth the cover price alone.' Because of copyright problems, none of Plath's poems are actually q...more
Jul 26, 2008 Jamie rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: hardcore Plath fanatics
A worthwhile read if you're really fascinated by the Plath/Hughes relationship. Certainly not one of the best biographies I've come across about the two of them (for that, I say turn to Diane Wood Middlebrook's "Her Husband"), but it's a really quick read. The problem I think I had is that Hayman's intentions were unclear; in the introduction he says it's neither a biography nor a memoir...but what exactly is it? I don't think he knew at the time, and so his focus was difficult to decipher. That...more
An enjoyable enough read that does the best it can within both self-set and outside restrictions - somewhat flawed and occasionally repetitive, but not to any overwhelming detriment. The main criticism of this book that I've seen is that it fails to be objective, but I think for the most part Ronald Hayman balances his own interest/opinion with what is accepted as fact very well. He certainly doesn't sensationalise or vilify, and keeps his focus on Sylvia.
Wasn`t the best biography to say the least. Too lyrical and I was disappointed that it doesn`t say much about Sylvia Plath, the poet. And the tinny amount is scattered around in all these weird named chapters and you can`t really make much of it. I guess it`s a hard thing to work on her biography given the copyright and everything but this is a really bad attempt.
The book was alright....The beginning was intriguing and it was interesting to read about Sylvia's supressed life. The book made me hate Ted Hughes even more than I already did. Many parts of the book explained each of Sylvia's poems in detail and it became boring to me. The ending of the book made me believe that many details of Sylvia's life aren't fully proven...Ted Hughes tried to keep her life as secret as possible. Nobody can be sure if this book was completely accurate! The ending of the...more
This was was a fascinating read, but it didn't give me the true biographical information I wanted. Many times, I felt the writing to be too poetic, too literary, as if it was trying to compete as a literary work instead of a form of biography. I also wasn't a fan of the slanted view - I prefer not to read something that has a set Pro-Plath or Pro-Ted slant to it, and this book read pretty explicitly to be Pro-Plath. I did, however, appreciate the discussion Plath's work.
Pretty good book. Easy read, I think Hayman did a good job of not glorifying her death but just giving us an idea of how things lead up to it. It was interesting to see how her relationship with her Dad and lack of father figured played a key role in her suicide. I'd suggest it if you're just curious about Plath and want to understand more about her and her work.
I read this because of my love of Plath as a poet and author...it kind of ruined the pedestal that I had her on, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book. I still prefer to think of Plath as a tragic heroine, but after reading this book I feel like that illusion has been ruined slightly as the author divulges many of her jealous and needy tendencies.