Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Journals of Sylvia Plath” as Want to Read:
The Journals of Sylvia Plath
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Journals of Sylvia Plath

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  14,883 Ratings  ·  557 Reviews
No other major contemporary American writer has inspired such intense curiosity about her life as Sylvia Plath. Now the intimate and eloquent personal diaries of the twentieth century's most important female poet reveal for the first time the true story behind "The Bell Jar" and her tragic suicide at thirty. They paint, as well, a revealing portrait of the Pulitzer Prize-w ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 1st 1982 by Doubleday Books (first published 1982)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Journals of Sylvia Plath, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Michael Yes, very much so. The unabridged journals have, I think I read, four hundred pages of more material.
Sylvia Absolutely. What makes it intense and maybe disturbing is the fact that we know Sylvia has commited suicide which makes reading this different than…moreAbsolutely. What makes it intense and maybe disturbing is the fact that we know Sylvia has commited suicide which makes reading this different than other books.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Tammy Marie Jacintho
The Problem of Sylvia Plath, Her Poetry, and the Necessity of Her Journals

Because of her suicide at the age of 30, many critics have labeled her either immature or hysterical--while other critics have taken it upon themselves to defend her integrity. Those who have championed her work find they do so at personal cost. Unfortunately, her personal life, and the circumstances surrounding her death have had an adverse effect on how she is read.

Quite instinctively, one knows the implications that may
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: excellent
I decided I was going to read this for two reasons: Sylvia Plath intrigued me; and I need to write better journal entries.

It is sometimes hard to wrap your head around the fact that she was so young when she wrote those journals, and constantly I had to keep reminding myself. She seemed extremely mature for her age. I found myself only reading 20, 30 pages at a time, because her words were so full of introspection, I had to continually go back and reread passages and reflect, soul-search about m
Feb 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
"So it all moves in a pageant towards the ending, it's own ending. Everywhere, imperceptibly or otherwise, things are passing, ending, going. And there will be other summers, other band concerts, but never this one, never again, never as now. Next year I will not be the self of this year now. And that is why I laugh at the transient, the ephemeral; laugh, while clutching, holding, tenderly, like a fool his toy, cracked glass, water through fingers. For all the writing, for all the invention of e ...more
Apryl Marie
Oct 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007, 2008
There were moments reading this book that I had to put it down because the feelings are so vivid you feel like an intruder.

There are quotes from her journal that decribe in dark detail the feelings that I am sure many women feel as they are on their own for the first time, falling in love, broken hearted, scared of failure, married, alone...

Loved this book.
Catherine Roehl
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's astounding how much I relate to Sylvia in these journals. I think all feminine beings need to read this. Her entries are honest and raw: revealing her sensitivities, obsessions, routines, insecurities...

More intimate than any of her poetry books, Plath's journals offer greater insight into both her personal and literary struggles.

This book is of great value to me: and I'm sure I will continue referring to it for many years.
Miss Ravi
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
اندوه و افسردگی در سفیدی میان خطوط، کلمهها و تاریخهای این کتاب رخنه کردهاند. از اولین یادداشتی که سیلویا پلات در ژوئیهی ۱۹۵۰ نوشته تا کمی قبل از خودکشیاش در ۱۹۶۳ چیزی شبیه یک افسردگی کشنده و ناتمام جریان دارد، مثل آبی گلآلود که اول آرام و راکد است اما بعد نیرو میگیرد و به سیلی ویرانکننده تبدیل میشود. سیلویا پلات بیواسطه و بدون تغییر نهچندان فاحشی همان دخترکی است که در حباب شیشه، خواننده را تا مرزی از سقوط در ظلمات میبرد پس نمیتوان در قلمرویی که خودش را عریان و عاری از هر نقابی نشان میدهد، انتظار ...more
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 Coll ...more
Giss Golabetoon
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
اين كتاب كادوى تولد نه سال پيشم بود
و امسال خوندمش
ترجمه عالى كتاب تحسين برانگيزه
اما حذف هاى زياد خواننده رو اذيت ميكنه
البته افسردگى پلات هم خوندن كتابو سخت ميكنه ولى اينكه اين همه سال خاطره نوشته و وقتى خاطراتشو ميخونى انقد بهش احساس نزديكى ميكنى انگار كه زندگى خودته خيلى قشنگه
"I love people. Everybody. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me. My love's not impersonal yet not wholly subjective either. I would like to be everyone, a cripple, a dying man, a whore, and then come back to write about my thoughts, my emotions, as that person. But I am not omniscient. I have to live my life, and it is the only one I'll ever have. And you cannot discard your own life with ob ...more
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
Dec 03, 2015 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣ by: Kat Stark
I will not rate this book.

It's too hard for me to finish reading. I feel like I'm intruding. I love memoirs, but this is not one. This is a collection of raw feelings/thoughts. Would Sylvia Plath have published her diaries, had she survived? Would she have changed them before publication?
Sarah Hosseini
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
،کتابی رو سراغ ندارم که نویسنده ش انقدر دقیق و هنرمندانه و عمیق، تمام کلام و احساساتی که همیشه می خواستم بگم ولی از ترس گرفتار شدن به دام ابتذال هیچوقت نتونستم رو به زیبایی نوشته باشه. حدود پونصد صفحه س و مسلمن جزئیات خسته کننده هم توش هست ولی بخش گسترده ای از کتاب بیان آشفتگی ها و تشویش هاییه که هر زنی -هر آدمی- با دغدغه پیشرفت و درجا نزدن و فرار از جمود و رخوت هر روزه ممکنه بهش دچار بشه. خود پلات اسم کتاب خاطراتش رو گذاشته بود: دیوان رویاها، دستورها و ضروریات. می دونم در آینده بارها و بارها می ...more
The individual is an independently acting, and responsible, conscious being--rather than what labels, roles, stereotypes, or preconceived notions the individual fits. This is what existentialists will tell you.

This year I've decided to add diaries and journals to my list of memoirs I love reading because while some prefer the philosophical observations of researched psychology, anthropology, and even social biology, I prefer examining the unalterable part of humanity that we deem the human cond
Aug 10, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
it is a chilling experience to read this. if you keep a journal of your own you probably understand how odd it is to imagine people around the world curling up with it/them. i am a self-admitted voyeur so i couldn't resist this glimpse into her mind.

as always, ted had a say in what we (and more importantly, her children) would know of her:

"I destroyed [the last of her journals] because I did not want her children to have read it (in those days I regarded forgetfulness as an essential part of su
Onaiza Khan
Sylvia captured her emotions and inner struggles beautifully and narrated everything with such impeccable honesty that it is hard not to like her. She seems to me a very evolved person and I do feel bad that she decided to leave the world so soon. This book has led me to introspect and look into myself for the emptiness and negativities that a person usually ignores. I believe it is very important to understand one's true self and this journal really helps one in doing so.
Rebecca McNutt
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suicide
Sylvia Plath has been an alluring figure in both history and pop culture for decades, both because of her dark, vivid writing and because of her mysterious suicide. These non-fiction journals are about as close to her mind as anyone will likely ever get.
I share a slightly less articulate piece of Plath's soul.
This just in: Sylvia Plath's journals? kind of a downer.

Also disorganized, vast, incredibly rich. I enjoyed the early college years the most, when she's all casually fantastic writing and cycling ecstasy and alienation. The later stuff is heavier with self-consciousness and deeply frustrating relationships with men. She's one of those people that I would be friends with and love dearly, but every year or so I would lose it and snap "oh just fucking deal with it," at her.

But man could she write.
Ruby Granger
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: before
This should be at the top of everybody's reading list...
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: half-read
ورژن epub من سه هزار صفحس، تو اين هفتصد صفحه حرفايي كه در دويست صفحه اول نوشته شده رو سه بار هر بار با تغييرات خيلي جزئي خوندم. پلات به شدت از دنيا طلبكاره، به دفعات حرفاشو تكرار ميكنه، و خيلي از تجربه هاي مشترك زنانه صحبت ميكنه، از اين منظر بسيار شبيه فروغ خودمونه به نظر من، پر از احساسات سركش، عواطف و احوالات زنانه ...
پلات از كسايي بود كه فكر ميكردم ميتونه انتخاب امروز من براي بعدها باشه، از اون نويسنده ها كه الان پيدا ميكني و تا آخرِ زندگيتو به قبل و بعد تقسيم ميكنن؛ ولي فهميدم نه، پلاتم نه!
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

0:02 Beginning theme, comforting, like her first diary entries, sounds to me like: it is, it is gonna be ok, it is, it is gonna be ok...
"...I love people. Everybody. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me...I have to live my life, it's the only one I'll ever have."

00:22 and the theme repeats, but a little stronger this time, more emotional, deeper bass, deeper her love for life:
"...I want to live and feel all the sha
Susan Katz
This is a book that would probably be best read the way it was written, a page or two at a time over a period of years. Roughly 700 pages at one gulp can be an overdose. Plath is a good writer and a perceptive and intelligent woman, but living inside her head for very long isn't comfortable even for an observer. Knowing the ending in advance, of course, gives the reader an edge on Plath and adds an unintended layer of irony to many entries and an involuntary little shiver to comments like "I des ...more
Solange te parle
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Traces d'une femme qui peine, et s'en sort bien.
I feel like an intruder reading this.

Incredibly vast and intricate, even her ordinary accounts of days are almost as eloquent and forceful as her poetry.
Robledo Cabral
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
6 estrelas, se eu pudesse. Mudou a minha vida.
Christina Bouwens
A real pot-boiler! Certainly, this is a dense collection insofar as it is highly evocative of a time, a place, a woman in crisis -- her emotions, thoughts, conflicts roar off the page into a reader's heart. Anyone curious about Sylvia Plath as not only a poet, but a woman of the 50s, and perhaps as a feminist icon or a psychological study will be sorely mistaken not to delve into this collection. Plath was a phenomenal woman of the past mid-century, and such a loss to the literary world. Her jou ...more
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this... changed the way I think. I know and understand that Plath has been over-romanticized since her tragic death, but these journals are the undeniable evidence of her poetic genius. Plath found beauty in everything, and her descriptions of internal and external experiences are absolutely stunning.

I highly recommend this to anyone interested in Plath, poetry, mental illness, women writers, etc.
"The most terrifying realization is that so many millions in the world would like to be in my place."
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
In this new edition of Sylvia Plath's Journals, edited by Karen V. Kukil, the Associate Curator of Special Collections at Smith College, ‘an exact and complete transcription of the journals kept by Sylvia Plath during the last twelve years of her life’ has been included, and ‘there are no omissions, deletions or corrections of Plath’s words in this edition’. Her journals, says Kukil, ‘are characterized by the vigorous immediacy with which she records her inner thoughts and feelings and the intri ...more
Sylvia Plath’s journals are an eye opening education. It’s a remarkable insight into a brilliant, unique mind. Her writing encourages me. Her doubts, her fears, the things that made her vulnerable and scared or soft and happy. She was intelligent and sophisticated and ahead of her years. Her mind was so complex and and yet had so much depth. I can say I’m haunted by the things she wrote and how relatable they are. It’s an absolute must read for anyone.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: يوميات

سلفيا بلاث كاتبة، شاعرة، وروائية، وقاصة . تعد واحدة من أكثر الشعراء المثيرين للاهتمام في الشعر الأمريكي. عكست أعمالها الكثير من سمات الطبيعة التدميرية التي انطوت عليها .

عاشت حياة عاطفية شائكة مع والدتها ، وبدت حانقة عليها، توفي والدها وهي في الثامنة من عمرها ما ترك أثراً عميق في داخلها . درست في جامعة كامبردج بمنحة من برنامج فولبرايت للمنح الدراسية. وتزوجت من زميلها الشاعر المثير تيد هيوز، و أنجبا طفلان : فريدا، ونيكولاس.

شخصت بالاكتئاب الذي عجل من إنهاء مسيرة حياتها في وقت مبكّر جداً، و ذلك بعد
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Quotes 1 26 Mar 13, 2016 06:09AM  
Sylvia Plath 1 13 Jun 07, 2015 11:22PM  
  • Rough Magic: A Biography of Sylvia Plath
  • Her Husband: Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath - A Marriage
  • Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath
  • Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters
  • The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age
  • Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and the Story of Birthday Letters
  • Lover of Unreason: Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath's Rival and Ted Hughes' Doomed Love
  • A Writer's Diary
  • Selected Letters, 1913-1965
  • The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
  • Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted
  • Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette
  • A Mencken Chrestomathy
  • Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness
  • Sylvia Plath: A Biography
  • The Haunting of Sylvia Plath
  • Monsieur Proust
  • Pushkin: A Biography
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
More about Sylvia Plath...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
    $8.24 $1.99
  • A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf
    $27.00 $2.99
  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
    $8.99 $1.99
  • A Room of One's Own
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Life in a Medieval City
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Too Close to Me: The Middle-Aged Consequences of Revealing A Child Called "It"
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
    $13.99 $2.99
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Christianity
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $4.09 $1.99
  • Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
    $7.24 $1.99
  • Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Decoded
    $9.99 $1.99
  • K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
    $15.99 $2.99
  • Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Come to the Edge
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Communicating
    $9.49 $2.99
  • American Jezebel
    $8.24 $1.99
“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 my life. And I am horribly limited.” 14299 likes
“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.” 6776 likes
More quotes…