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Ariel: The Restored Edition
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Ariel: The Restored Edition

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  4,039 Ratings  ·  309 Reviews
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When Sylvia Plath died, she not only left behind a prolific life but also her unpublished literary masterpiece, Ariel.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 t
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Harper Perennial Modern Classics (first published 2004)
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Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Since about 1980 I have probably read Ariel six times, and once again I step back from it thinking, My God! It remains for me the most powerful collection of poetry that I’ve ever read. However, I should probably scratch that word “remains,” since my previous readings had me in awe of numerous poems within the collection. But with this new edition, I am reading for the first time, Plath’s arrangement, which jacks things up considerably (How could that be possible?). I have no side in the Hughes ...more
Jun 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, poetry
I have always meant to read a book about the life of Sylvia Plath and to learn about the whole Ted Hughes adventure – but something there is that doesn’t love that kind of voyeurism and to date I have avoided it. There is a sense, however, where I think Plath’s poetry is so intensely personal that it would make sense to read it knowing more of the story of the American poet who killed herself on the bleak winter’s day in the year in which I was born.

This ‘reinstatement’ of Plath’s Ariel has a fo
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2018, poetry, reread
A reread for me, because I wanted to read a new book of poetry that is in conversation with this one. This edition has some facsimile in the back of Sylvia's drafts, and some original versions that were of course edited by her husband.

Lady Lazarus is still one of my favorite poems, with this final stanza (if I can use that for a poem):
"Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air."
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good
Final rating: 3.5 stars

Last May I went on a cruise to Alaska with my parents, brother, and grandfather. The book I was reading at the time was crap. Fortunately for me, there was this freaking cool library on the ship.

I'm going to go off on bit of a tangent here, but I think it's kinda lame how a cruise ship has a library and the island I live on hasn't had one since I was eight.

...Anyway, moving away from my general bitterness, let's go back the library. So I picked up this cool book called The
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
(view spoiler) ...more
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought her book, The Bell Jar, was much better than any of these poems. I almost wish she had been more of a novelist than a poet. Oh well. Either way, maybe two of these poems stuck out to me in a good way but then the rest were very strange and random. Honestly, I didn't connect to her poems the way I did with her novel, so that was a bummer.

Overall, they're definitely poems to check out if you have time. But don't be expecting Emily Dickinson or anything like that, because you'll be disapp
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Maybe when I first read Ariel, the originally published, Ted Hughes edition of the poems, I was too young to appreciate Plath's stunning vision; however, I'm inclined to think that her own layout of her swansong collection was the decisive factor in my recent reading of the work, which blew me away.

So much substance - the words 'dark matter' come to mind - from a poet so young, it's rare, it's humbling. Being Greek, I can only think of Karyotakis's last collection, though Plath is a clearly sep
Sep 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
There are two adjectives commonly applied to this book by people who haven't read it: it is often said to be a "feminist" book, and a "depressing" one. I think these two not-quite-accurate labels arise so frequently because Sylvia Plath is, unfortunately, better-known to the general public for being female and psychologically troubled than for being an accomplished poet.

This is not an agenda-driven book, it is not a book aimed at only a select audience, and it is, above all, not a depressing boo
Tess Taylor
5- I'm so glad I chose to read The Restored Edition of Ariel. I loved the versatility of this collection! There are two copies of each poem; The first contains some annotations via Ted Hughes, the second were reproductions taken directly from Plath's typewritten editions. There is also a lot of extra content, like notes Sylvia made on some of the more well-known poems in Ariel. This made for a very interactive read! I found myself moving backward and forward through the book, reading each poem m ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
2017 reread:
I studied this book in my junior year in high school for a Dual Enrollment English class. That was in 2014. I've been reading it again over this year in bits and pieces without actually adding it here. So here we go. I loved studying Sylvia Plath and I have a great appreciation for her work.
Lucas Sierra
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Esta ha sido una lectura dolorosa. Llegué al libro empujado por la obra de teatro del Matacandelas, "La chica que quería ser dios", y lo primero que me encontré, en las palabras previas de Frieda Hughes, fue un cansancio infinito expresado con rabia acerca de aquellos que convertían la muerte de su madre en un becerro de oro. Para ella, como lectora de poesía y como hija, la figura de Sylvia Plath es mucho más que el día infausto de la llave de gas.

Así, entonces, presenta Hughes la edición resta
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: women, poetry
I gave it my all, but Plath's masterpiece just isn't for me. And, like Plath's poetry, it's a personal problem. The poems in Ariel are too obscure, too heady, too veiled—no one could ever accuse Plath of being too conscious of her audience. A woman always thinks she'll see her own pain in the words of another. The idea of Sylvia Plath is a perversely nice one to mull over, to play "I-saw-it-coming," to diminish her entire life to those few hours in her kitchen. Frieda Hughes' insightful forward ...more
The poems in this collection are seething and uncompromising. Plath's use of color fascinates me, and reading these sparkling, corrosive poems aloud makes your tongue and ear dance. But being completely honest, I found a lot of them impenetrable without research. I just had absolutely no idea what was going on, and so couldn't remember most of them after I'd turned the page (with some notable exceptions like "Lady Lazarus"). I'm left with a lot of internal questions about the place of biography, ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don't begin to pretend I understood all of these poems, or all of any one of them. But I love them...the sounds, the images. The fierceness often takes my breath away. Her images of the ordinary life of a mother contrasts with the violence, the hooks, the hisses, the shrieks, the worms. More than this, tho, THIS edition has restored Plath's original plan for her collection. Her suicide meant Ted Hughes controlled the editorial decisions for publication and he did not follow her wishes. Another ...more
Jeremy Ra
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If all poetry strives to defy expectations, Plath certainly is the nemesis of clichés. The readers of her work incessantly find themselves in breathless astonishment because of the explosive language, the surprising imageries, and the immense honesty with which she unveils her personal events and emotions (though I cannot stress enough the importance of not letting what you might have already heard about her life constrain your interpretation of her poems).

This collection shows Plath at her bes
Wes Zickau
Jul 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
I've been having trouble organizing my thoughts and reactions to Plath, so here's a list in no particular order of some things that I wondered while reading Ariel. To all you Plathers: please understand that I respect Plath as a poet, that my rating reflects my limited perception of her work, and that I'm well aware of the subjectivity of taste. However...

1. What exactly is so great about Sylvia Plath? I don't mean that sarcastically, I mean what are Sylvia Plath's literary innovations, her cred
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Love it ♥ Sylvia's poetry just speaks to me :)
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, poetry
- ̗̀kippen ̖́-  (uponthepages)
3.5??? I’m kind of disappointed
I can hardly contain in words my adoration of this book. Plath brought me to poetry--both the reading and the writing of it, so I will always carry that debt to her. I have to say up front that I'm rather weary of hearing how 'dark' and 'melodramatic' this collection is--there's a pathologization of Plath and her readers that seems almost presupposed in any discussion of her work. It's an easy way to make dismissals--but I think far fewer people realize what an incredibly precise, metaphorically ...more
May 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Plath did some nice stuff with words. But she was a bit of a drama queen. It was pretty nifty to see her original manuscript and get her daughter's perspective on both it and her drama-queen-ness (and a defense of the husband who re-arranged the original manuscript).

So: overall interesting insight into Plath and Plath family drama. And many of the poems are clever and interesting and carefully-constructed to sound and look a particular Plath-y way. But reading the whole book of poetry inspired s
Julia Gordon-Bramer
I laughed at Goodreads' comment, "Date I finished this book," as I am never finished with it. Ariel and Ariel: The Restored Edition mean so much to me that I have devoted the last eight years to studying it, as I discovered its correlation to tarot and the Qabalah. It became Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath (2015, Stephen F. Austin State U Press). You can read the introduction and first chapter here: or, visit ...more
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ariel... what we lost when we lost Sylvia Plath. That ferocity. She wrote these poems in a frenzy of creativity, a firestorm of the need to be understood, the need to explicate personal truth, here about the horror of existence--which can be a stronger urge than the urge to live. Ariel is not only the spirit in The Tempest, but a horse who ran away with her. What is that plunging power that is beyond her control? Beautiful, chilling, unarguable.
I'm not a big fan of reading poetry but I find Sylvia Plath endlessly fascinating so I picked this up. I was surprised to find that I found reading it incredibly enjoyable. I intend to purchase it for my own collection because these are poems that make you want to read them again and again. It has even inspired me to branch out into reading work from other poets as well.
M. Sarki
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In this "Restored Edition" of Sylvia Plath's most famous work there is a foreword by her daughter Frieda Hughes that kindly takes the view that her father was not at all that bad, but that her mother's poems in their original order and verse were somewhat better. Having not read the original Ariel, I am not one to compare, but it makes complete sense to me, and something that should have been done long ago. The idea that Ted Hughes edited and arranged the
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Reading poetry has always felt like futile detective work for me, so I was pleasantly surprised by the impact this collection had on me!

“Ariel”, Sylvia Plath’s most famous poetry collection, was written in a “blood jet” of creativity shortly before she committed suicide in 1963. The collection charts her emotional turmoil in the wake of her disintegrating marriage, the claustrophobic effects of domesticity, the salve of motherhood, and her conflicting attractions to both rebirth and self-destru
Natália B
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Elaine Mullane
Tuesday was World Poetry Day and in its honour I took out one of my favourite collections of poetry: Ariel by Sylvia Plath.

"Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well".

The poems in this collection are largely dominated by the themes of sadness, suicide and death, which doesn't make for happy reading by any means, but I am always blown away by the sheer power and haunting nature of Plath's words. With poetry being one of the (if not the) most personal forms of expression,
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What more can be said of the boundless, endless, spacious kind of universe that Sylvia leaves us breadcrumbs to? Her soaring, biting language, immersed with redness of either tulips, a sunrise, or flames, or hair.
Ariel represents power that emerges through mythology, history, implicitly through a woman that wrote every morning during the later cold months of 1962, and through any female today that is looking for a deeper look into her own consciousness. I marvel at the possible ideas and influen
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
"You say I should drown my girl.
She'll cut her throat at ten if she's mad at two." --Lesbos

"I do not want much of a present, anyway, this year.
After all, I am alive only by accident." --A Birthday Present

"I could not run without having to run forever." --The Bee Meeting

Having only read The Bell Jar years ago, this was my first experience with Plath's poetry, and I loved it. A lot of it I found very cryptic, but all these great lines would cut through the fog and jump out at me periodically. The
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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 paralle
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“If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
Of something beautiful, but annihilating.”
“Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
and I eat men like air.”
More quotes…