The unabridged journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962

Sylvia Plath

Book - 2000

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BIOGRAPHY/Plath, Sylvia
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New York : Anchor Books 2000.
1st Anchor Books ed
Item Description
Originally published: Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962. London : Faber and Faber, 2000.
Physical Description
732 p. : ill
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Sylvia Plath (-)
Other Authors
Karen V. Kukil (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Plath kept a journal for most of her sadly shortened life, recording every nuance of feeling and thought with wit, passion, and despair, singlemindedly pursuing literary mastery. Her late husband, the poet Ted Hughes, began preparing Plath's journals, excepting those he destroyed after her suicide, for unexpurgated publication, a project now brought to fruition in a volume that enables readers to immerse themselves in Plath's gorgeous, ever-turbulent inner sea. The first journal begins in 1950, when Plath leaves home to attend Smith College, and the last covers her final months in England, and what is most striking about Plath's torrential accounting of herself is the naturalness with which she writes pointillistic yet animated descriptions of both exterior and interior worlds, describing her sensuality, extreme sensitivity, and increasing hopelessness. In early entries, Plath laments her unfulfilled sexual desire yet worries, presciently, that love, marriage, and children would interfere with her art. Life did prove too much for her, but what astonishing power coursed through her, and how much life she projected onto the page, into the future. Donna Seaman Copyright 2000 Booklist 2000

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Plath's admirers should prepare themselves for another dose of her bitter medicine: Anchor Books has announced the U.S. publication of her "complete, uncensored journals." (This unabridged edition appeared first in England.) Judiciously and unobtrusively edited by curator Kukil, who oversees the Plath Collection at Smith College, the text includes the portions suppressed by Plath's husband, the poet Ted Hughes, now deceased, when he authorized an earlier American edition. About two-thirds of the writings, which cover the last years of Plath's fevered life, have not been available to the public previously. All of the difficulties and contradictions that made Plath a literary icon are contained in these intense, confessional revelations, including her anger, egotism, frustrations, self-destructiveness, and passionate need to express herself. Certain to generate dozens of new academic papers, this is essential for anyone engaged in Plath studies. Carol A. McAllister, Coll. of William & Mary Lib., Williamsburg, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This book constitutes a literary event. Over 400 pages of never-before-published personal writings make this first comprehensive volume of Plath's journals and notes from 1950 to 1962 indispensable reading for both scholars and general readers interested in the poet. Plath's journals were previously published in 1982 and heavily censored by her husband, poet Ted Hughes. But even the diary entries that have been available to the public demand re-reading in the context of fresh materials. In the newly revealed writings, we see an even more complex, despairing psyche struggling to create in the face of powerful demons. Plath's intense bitterness towards her mother emerges in full force, particularly in her notes on her psychoanalysis by Ruth Beuscher in Boston from 1957 to 1959. Plath's writing is by turns raw, obsessive, brilliant and ironic. Her sensitivity about rejections from magazines, her struggle to establish a daily routine of reading and learning, and her ongoing attempts to ward off depression provide reminders of her drive and ambition, despite her feelings of inferiority with respect to her husband. This work constitutes an invaluable primary source as well as a thoroughly engrossing narrative whose omissions are sometimes as important as its inclusions. (There is, for example, surprisingly little on Plath's sudden marriage to Hughes.) Strong print media attention focusing on new revelations will drive early sales of this important work, and it should become a staple backlist title. Editor Kukil is assistant curator of rare books at Smith College, where Plath was an undergraduate and later a lecturer. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An uncensored collection of the late poet's complete journals as recorded during the last twelve years of her life includes previously unpublished material and chronicles her personal and literary struggles.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An uncensored collection of the late poet's complete journals as recorded during the last twelve years of her life is made up of some sixty percent previously unpublished material and chronicles her personal and literary struggles. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The complete, uncensored journals of Sylvia Plath—essential reading for anyone who has been moved and fascinated by the poet's life and work."A genuine literary event.... Plath's journals contain marvels of discovery." —The New York Times Book Review Sylvia Plath's journals were originally published in 1982 in a heavily abridged version authorized by Plath's husband, Ted Hughes. This new edition is an exact and complete transcription of the diaries Plath kept during the last twelve years of her life. Sixty percent of the book is material that has never before been made public, more fully revealing the intensity of the poet's personal and literary struggles, and providing fresh insight into both her frequent desperation and the bravery with which she faced down her demons.