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Sylvia Plath: A Biography
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Sylvia Plath: A Biography

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  465 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The first biography of Sylvia Plath to draw on unpublished journals and letters, Sylvia Plath provides a detailed, objective, and illuminating portrait of this talented and tortured woman who is widely recognized as one of America's foremost poets of the 20th century. 20 pages of photos.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 15th 1988 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1987)
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Pretty interesting. Very clearly written and obviously well researched. Wagner-Martin especially makes Plath's time as a single mother, and what a struggle that was for her, very real and palpable. At times, though, she engages in pop-pyschology analysis of Plath, and that's a bit annoying. Also, sometimes she makes claims and there is no support. And I wanted to have much more about the dissolution of the Plath-Hughes marriage. However, Wagner-Martin notes in the preface that the Hughes' limite ...more
Ann Marie
The author certainly researched her subject, but that may be part of the problem. Many facts are presented, but as Leanna mentioned in her review, the pop psychology gets annoying. While Sylvia Plath's writing about her own depression is vivid, in this book I feel her spirit is somewhat lost in a mountain of details. She doesn't quite come alive for me here, and that is disappointing.
Linda Wagner-Martin’s biography of Sylva Plath was published in 1987, many years before the new wave of Plath biographies. This is not the book for Plath aficionados who already know a great deal about Plath’s life and work. In fact, this biography is rather superficial; it doesn’t delve into the intricacies of Plath’s life and death. There are many other good biographies of Plath that focus on very specific moments in her life (Elizabeth Winder’s “Pain, Parties, Work” is a great chronicle of Pl ...more
Reading about Sylvia delivers a sensation like drinking coarse, bitter hot chocolate. I was left gesturing out for 'A Tulip' that I could pluck from the fields we passed, myself peering out of the window of the train car of her intense, and sometimes disturbing train of thought. It kept brewing that I should read at least one account of Sylvia's life story, and my fascination with her work has only increased in volumes. She will shine on for many more generations to be enchanted and enamored wit ...more
This was a good informative biography about Sylvia Plath who had a very colourful life. I enjoyed finding out more about her and particularly liked the analysis of her poetry and journal entries. However I thought the beginning was a bit slow and I thought some details were skimmed over such as the aftermath of her suicide and how it affected her children and Ted Hughes. I also thought Ted Hughes came off quite lightly but maybe that's what happened! I'd be intrigued to read another biography wh ...more
Reena Ribalow Ben-Ephraim
I don't share in the enthusiasm for this book. I couldn't recommend it to anyone who knows Plath's work and the basics of her life; it offers nothing beyond these parameters. This is a basic and shallow look at Plath, using feminist cliches at their most basic. It is not particularly well-researched or written, and is a sort of Cliff Notes of Plath's life. Look elsewhere if you really want depth.
LOVED this book! I have always admired plath though she was not an easy person to "like". The author strikes a great balance between the facts of plath's life and her writing. The text serves as a great introduction to Plath. The book causes me to want to re-read The Bell Jar and dust off the poetry collections I have. WOULD GIVE 10 stars if I could. It also makes me want to read Ted Hughes and Anne Sexton and all those who influenced Plath. Did not discover until I read this book that she was i ...more
Endeavour Press
This book is published by Endeavour Press.
Also, das ist jetzt mittlerweile mein dritter Versuch eine Biographie über Sylvia zu mögen, aber auch diese hier hat es nicht geschafft.
Es kommt mir so vor als würden alle Biographen versuchen, Sylvia immer negativ darzustellen, aber Ted (ihr Ehemann) immer als den "Guten".
Nein, so gefällt mir das nicht. Da lese ich lieber die Briefe an ihre Mutter und ihre Tagebücher. Da kommen die Informationen von der Quelle und werden nicht durch die Verblendung und voreingenommene Meinung der Biographen ver
Joe Mossa

this is a great book about a great,sad lady. whatever happened to her kids ? this book made me want to buy a book of her poems. i tried to buy one at but after purchasing it,my wife said our account is too low for such a purchase. when i wrote to them to cancel the order,they had already written an e mail to me saying that the order had been canceled due to the book s unavailability. is that a bad omen ?im going to see if i can print some of her poems from a free website. happy readi
ends abruptly with her suicide, not a single subsequent paragraph about her posthumous literary life and growth in reputation which seems a bit odd. Also obviously was subject to Ted Hughes approval as mention of his affair, desertion etc. is v. minimal. Even has his mistress mentioned as a good friend of Sylvia's , loaning her furniture after Ted left her (for her...hmmm). There are much better biographies. Good although brief analysis of some poems.
As the first biography I have read on Sylvia Plath, this was completely amazing. It reads like a novel but with so much information based on her journals, letters, poems, stories, and other research the author is done, it is packed with information.
This was a well written biography that made you feel like you really did know and understand the real Sylvia.
One of the best biographies on her I ever found. Sadly it was destroyed in Katrina and I have yet to replace it.
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Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible: A Reader's Guide Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald: An American Women's Life Sylvia Plath: A Literary Life (Literary Lives) The Bell Jar, a Novel of the Fifties The Oxford Book of Women's Writing in the United States

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“Life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter — they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship — but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.” 0 likes
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