The letters of Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Book - 2017

In The Letters of Sylvia Plath Volume 1, 1940-1956, we discover the art of Plath's correspondence. Most of these materials have never before been published, and are presented here unabridged and without revision--so that she can speak directly in her own words. Refreshingly candid and offering intimate details of her personal life, Plath's letters entertain a wide ranges of addressees, including family, friends, and professional contacts, with inimitable wit and verve. This selection o...f early correspondence marks the key moments of Plath's adolescence, including her childhood hobbies and high school boyfriends; her successful but turbulent undergraduate years at Smith College; her move to England and Cambridge University; and her meeting and marrying Ted Hughes, including previously unseen post-honeymoon letters that reveal the beginnings of their extraordinary creative partnership. The letters document Plath's literary development and show the genesis of many poems, short and long fiction, and works of journalism. While her endeavors to publish in a variety of genres received mixed reception, she was never dissuaded. Well-read and curious, Plath simultaneously offers a fascinating commentary on contemporary culture as well as a rare look at her writing ambitions through her correspondence. Peter K. Steinberg, leading Plath scholar, and Karen V. Kukil, editor of The Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962, provide comprehensive footnotes and an extensive index informed by their meticulous research that masterfully contextualize what these pages disclose. The letters are adorned by a selection of never-before-published photographs and Plath's own elegant line drawings. This remarkable collection, a work of immense scholarship and care, presents an exclusive look at the interior life of one of the most talented and fascinating poets of the modern age. -- Inside jacket flap.

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

811.54/Plath
vol. 2: 1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 811.54/Plath v. 2 Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Personal correspondence
Published
New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers 2017-2018.
Edition
First U.S. edition
Language
English
Item Description
"Originally published in the United Kingdom in 2017 by Faber & Faber."--Title page verso.
Physical Description
2 volumes : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780062740434
0062740431
9780571339204
0571339204
9780062740588
006274058X
Main Author
Sylvia Plath (author)
  • Volume 1. 1940-1956
  • volume 2. 1956-1963.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Letter writing was "a serious art form" for revered poet Plath, note the editors of this monumental collection, the first of two volumes containing Plath's complete and unabridged letters, most never before published. Plath was a vibrant and captivating correspondent, entertaining and confiding as well as spectacularly descriptive, analytical, intimate, and witty. Intensely ambitious, she pushed herself relentlessly, even recklessly, to succeed and reported tirelessly on both her struggles and escapades in long, newsy letters from summer camp, Smith College, New York City, Cambridge (thanks to a Fulbright), and Europe. Writing was another form of breathing for Plath, and her letters were veritable lifelines. Plath's hunger for experience and artistic expression was depthless, and though depression stalked her, she lived a dizzyingly full, demanding, and creative life. Then she collided with her own personal supernova, the English poet Ted Hughes. This scintillating and poignant autobiography in letters ends with their exultant marriage. For all of Plath's published works and myriad inquiries into her relationship with Hughes and suicide at age 30, her letters blaze with fresh and stunning revelations, with more to come. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Editors Steinberg (These Ghostly Archives) and Kukil (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath) present the first of two volumes collecting the entire available oeuvre of Plath's letters, many published here for the first time. As they note, more than 700 letters have been lost, destroyed, or kept in private hands. The collection, which includes 838 letters, provides both a fascinating window into Plath's life and a social history of the 1940s and '50s as seen through white middle-class eyes. Most letters are to Plath's mother, Aurelia, written from various summer camps, Smith College, and Cambridge, where Plath studied on a Fulbright scholarship. Almost always ecstatically upbeat, they document the extent to which Plath performed a happy role for her mother, whether she is praising an "amazing telegram" from Aurelia or exulting in the "glorious country-clubby life" she is leading at Smith. The few letters to her friend Ann Davidow-Goodman, her brother Warren, and her boyfriends offer glimpses of a different, gloomier side. Only a handful allude to her attempted suicide at age 20; most revealing is a December 28, 1953 letter to correspondent Eddie Cohen. Worshipful letters to Ted Hughes, whom Plath married in 1958, reveal her increasing abjection and dependence—"you must scold me, beat me, help me." Because they provide a largely distorted look at her troubled life, the letters deserve fuller annotation. Nevertheless, this is a valuable, significant addition to the body of Plath scholarship. (Oct.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A major literary event: the first volume in the definitive, complete collection of the letters of Sylvia Plath—most never before seen.One of the most beloved poets of the modern age, Sylvia Plath continues to inspire and fascinate the literary world. While her renown as one of the twentieth century’s most influential poets is beyond dispute, Plath was also one of its most captivating correspondents. The Letters of Sylvia Plath is the breathtaking compendium of this prolific writer’s correspondence with more than 120 people, including family, friends, contemporaries, and colleagues. The Letters of Sylvia Plath includes her correspondence from her years at Smith, her summer editorial internship in New York City, her time at Cambridge, her experiences touring Europe, and the early days of her marriage to Ted Hughes in 1956.Most of the letters are previously unseen, including sixteen letters written by Plath to Hughes when they were apart after their honeymoon. This magnificent compendium also includes twenty-seven of Plath’s own elegant line drawings taken from the letters she sent to her friends and family, as well as twenty-two previously unpublished photographs. This remarkable, collected edition of Plath’s letters is a work of immense scholarship and care, presenting a comprehensive and historically accurate text of the known and extant letters that she wrote. Intimate and revealing, this masterful compilation offers fans and scholars generous and unprecedented insight into the life of one of our most significant poets.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A major literary event: the first volume in the definitive, complete collection of the letters of Sylvia Plath'most never before seen.One of the most beloved poets of the modern age, Sylvia Plath continues to inspire and fascinate the literary world. While her renown as one of the twentieth century's most influential poets is beyond dispute, Plath was also one of its most captivating correspondents. The Letters of Sylvia Plath is the breathtaking compendium of this prolific writer's correspondence with more than 120 people, including family, friends, contemporaries, and colleagues. The Letters of Sylvia Plath includes her correspondence from her years at Smith, her summer editorial internship in New York City, her time at Cambridge, her experiences touring Europe, and the early days of her marriage to Ted Hughes in 1956.Most of the letters are previously unseen, including sixteen letters written by Plath to Hughes when they were apart after their honeymoon. This magnificent compendium also includes twenty-seven of Plath's own elegant line drawings taken from the letters she sent to her friends and family, as well as twenty-two previously unpublished photographs. This remarkable, collected edition of Plath's letters is a work of immense scholarship and care, presenting a comprehensive and historically accurate text of the known and extant letters that she wrote. Intimate and revealing, this masterful compilation offers fans and scholars generous and unprecedented insight into the life of one of our most significant poets.