Gary 's Reviews > The Journals of Sylvia Plath

The Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath
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's review
Nov 18, 11

bookshelves: sylvia-plath, own, favorites
Read in November, 2011

This is the book that introduced me to Sylvia Plath. Her poetry and 'The Bell Jar' would follow. I came to appreciate her love for just writing. She can make the most mundane interesting. To truly have a complete picture of Sylvia Plath, 'The Journals' are integral. One of my great thrills was to visit Smith College, and meet Karen Kukil and actually pick up and read the actual journals. In the Mortimer rare book room, I was also able to see the drafts of her poems written on the pink Smith College stationary. To read the Journals for me was to get closer to the real Sylvia Plath, and away from the sensationalized version. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Sylvia Plath.
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Quotes Gary Liked

Sylvia Plath
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath
“Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.”
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath
“I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between.”
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath
“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Kellen (new) - added it

Kellen I really enjoyed the link to the photos. I too feel that the Journals bring us closer to who she really was. I am not quite finished but I am enjoying each page. However, knowing the ending, I find myself wishing it was a work of fiction.

message 2: by Gary (last edited Jun 23, 2012 07:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary hi kellen - I know just how you feel. I wish I could have "saved" her. yet depression is a horrible disease, not something you can just pop out of. first hand knowledge talking here.
a. Alvarez , a friend of Sylvia's , wrote a very good book about suicide
called 'the savage god' . the forward of that book gives a first hand account of the time leading up to Sylvia's death.
with what was going on in her life at that time, the outcome is not surprising. she was a very strong lady, that she wrote her most powerful poems during this period makes me stand in awe.
here is the piece by a Alvarez:

a alvarez's piece is on page 1 chapter 1.

all the best

message 3: by Kellen (new) - added it

Kellen I appreciate you sharing that information. My life has been touched with depression as well, and the lives of my family, maybe that is why I enjoy her work so much. I could read her discription of somethnig as simple as taking a shower and be blown away.

message 4: by Gary (last edited Jun 24, 2012 09:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary haha, exactly. that is why I love her journals so much. she could be writing about something inane, and still it would be wondrous.
her book 'Letters Home' is also a great read, because it is her writing.

you can get a first edition hardcover for about 6.50 +3.99 s&h. this is less than a paper back. but that's just my preference, I like hard cover first editions.;)
here is a link for it

iI think on the second page you start to see the "very good" copies.

I would not go below very good for condition.
well I've really bent your ear there. haha
not hard to do with two of my favorite topics.
have a nice afternoon,
- gary

message 5: by Melissa (new) - added it

Melissa Palfrey I'm deducing from your review that you read the journals before her published work... Is that something you would recommend? I read some of her poetry back in high school, but never The Bell Jar. I'm trying to decide if I should read those first, or her journals.

Gary hi Melissa - I read it somewhat concurrently with her Collected Poems

I would also read her poems as they fell onto the timeline of The Journals.

those two books were a pair. I did not read The Bell Jar till after.
for me it worked well, and I feel I had a better understanding of Sylvia.

I especially stayed away from the multitude of "bio's", until I had read Sylvia's work.

as I mentioned above, her letters home are very good.

I'm sure you will enjoy getting into Plath whatever path you take.
all the best.

message 7: by Melissa (new) - added it

Melissa Palfrey Thanks!

Gary my pleasure.

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