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Sylvia Plath: A Biography

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The poet Sylvia Plath has been a cultural icon since 1963 when she took her own life on a cold winter morning at the age of 30. This up-to-date biography explores the nature and sources of the mythology that has surrounded the poet's life by presenting a balanced account of her own life and the many significant people and events that influenced her. This outstanding biograp The poet Sylvia Plath has been a cultural icon since 1963 when she took her own life on a cold winter morning at the age of 30. This up-to-date biography explores the nature and sources of the mythology that has surrounded the poet's life by presenting a balanced account of her own life and the many significant people and events that influenced her. This outstanding biography presents the facts of Plath's life as they are known in the 21st century. The research for this biography uitilizes the latest updated scholarship including new information released in the unabridged journals published in 2000 and the newly accessible Ted Hughes archives. In addition to this primary research, conducted in part at Smith College, Kirk also provides new insights and perspectives from original interview material with a Plath contemporary who personally knew her. Whether read for a school assignment or for personal interest, this highly readable biography offers an accessible alternative to the density of Plath scholarship. Readers who wish to pursue the topic further will find an extensive bibliography of biographical and critical sources, a full list of Plath's writings, an appendix of her own literary holdings, and another appendix of her family tree.


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The poet Sylvia Plath has been a cultural icon since 1963 when she took her own life on a cold winter morning at the age of 30. This up-to-date biography explores the nature and sources of the mythology that has surrounded the poet's life by presenting a balanced account of her own life and the many significant people and events that influenced her. This outstanding biograp The poet Sylvia Plath has been a cultural icon since 1963 when she took her own life on a cold winter morning at the age of 30. This up-to-date biography explores the nature and sources of the mythology that has surrounded the poet's life by presenting a balanced account of her own life and the many significant people and events that influenced her. This outstanding biography presents the facts of Plath's life as they are known in the 21st century. The research for this biography uitilizes the latest updated scholarship including new information released in the unabridged journals published in 2000 and the newly accessible Ted Hughes archives. In addition to this primary research, conducted in part at Smith College, Kirk also provides new insights and perspectives from original interview material with a Plath contemporary who personally knew her. Whether read for a school assignment or for personal interest, this highly readable biography offers an accessible alternative to the density of Plath scholarship. Readers who wish to pursue the topic further will find an extensive bibliography of biographical and critical sources, a full list of Plath's writings, an appendix of her own literary holdings, and another appendix of her family tree.

30 review for Sylvia Plath: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eve Kay

    Reading slump, got to page 43

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ely

    I knew most of this already, but the best thing by far was the fact this includes a list of some of the books Sylvia Plath owned. Guess who has a new reading challenge?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Elizabeth

    Before I began reading this book I did look at the reviews here. With that being said, I am surprised by the sentiments. I will review this book as the book it was designed for - YA literature as explained in the forward. Being a librarian and sometimes high school sub I was very excited to read a volume of this set of biographies for the teen student. It did not disappoint. I found the flow to be very engaging. I could not put it down. I found the intent for secondary education purposes to be aw Before I began reading this book I did look at the reviews here. With that being said, I am surprised by the sentiments. I will review this book as the book it was designed for - YA literature as explained in the forward. Being a librarian and sometimes high school sub I was very excited to read a volume of this set of biographies for the teen student. It did not disappoint. I found the flow to be very engaging. I could not put it down. I found the intent for secondary education purposes to be awesome. This book treats the teen reader like a reader. It does not pander to them. It does not whitewash anything. I love the raw facts, the interwoven era of back-then and today with regards to mental health. It has it all from family dynamics, feminism, sexuality, publishers, family interference, child care and human dynamics. The reading list is exceptional. The forward and timeline had me hooked.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aniela Wharton

    Very informative but still interesting

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    A good "intro" biography to the life of Sylvia Plath with probably a middle or high school audience in mind. The book makes a point to try and be impartial and non-judgmental throughout. A good "intro" biography to the life of Sylvia Plath with probably a middle or high school audience in mind. The book makes a point to try and be impartial and non-judgmental throughout.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Thomas

    The authors purpose in the book was to tell Sylvia's life story; to just make her storey be heard. The theme of the book is to follow your dreams and pursue hat you want to do in life; in Sylvia's case to be a poet. Which she was a very good poet in the time of 1963. She was what they called a cultural icon. She became more popular at the age of 30. The style the book was written in was a biography. Which is someon else telling someones life experience and story. My opinion of the book was good; The authors purpose in the book was to tell Sylvia's life story; to just make her storey be heard. The theme of the book is to follow your dreams and pursue hat you want to do in life; in Sylvia's case to be a poet. Which she was a very good poet in the time of 1963. She was what they called a cultural icon. She became more popular at the age of 30. The style the book was written in was a biography. Which is someon else telling someones life experience and story. My opinion of the book was good; I like biographys because I like reading about other people life expirences and what They went throught. Although at times it was boring it was a very good book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Interesting biography. There were many interesting excerpts from Plath's private journals that offered a unique look into her private turmoil, mixed with glimpses of her happiness. At times it was hard to keep up with all the names and the friends that were spoken about, and at some points parts of the chapter became a little dry. If you enjoy Plath's work, this let's you see her thoughts behind many of her poems and The Bell Jar. It's a good read, and I encourage any one who likes Plath to give Interesting biography. There were many interesting excerpts from Plath's private journals that offered a unique look into her private turmoil, mixed with glimpses of her happiness. At times it was hard to keep up with all the names and the friends that were spoken about, and at some points parts of the chapter became a little dry. If you enjoy Plath's work, this let's you see her thoughts behind many of her poems and The Bell Jar. It's a good read, and I encourage any one who likes Plath to give it a read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Britt

    Quick, factual, unbiased, relatively without frill but containing a few moments that made me wonder how wild the first draft might have been. Kirk finger-wags about getting wrapped up in the sensationalism of Plath's life, then concludes her chapters with foreboding cliffhangers. Surprisingly engaging. Quick, factual, unbiased, relatively without frill but containing a few moments that made me wonder how wild the first draft might have been. Kirk finger-wags about getting wrapped up in the sensationalism of Plath's life, then concludes her chapters with foreboding cliffhangers. Surprisingly engaging.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Easy to read short book based on the facts currently known. Very unbiased and objective look at a dramatic life

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ksenija

    A detailed account of Plath's life, written in pretty lame language. Good for the facts and not much more...but I'im fascinated with Plath's life, works and death, so I guess this is a decent start. A detailed account of Plath's life, written in pretty lame language. Good for the facts and not much more...but I'im fascinated with Plath's life, works and death, so I guess this is a decent start.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melody

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dandy

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jim Manis

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty Niven

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pix

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Kiss

  20. 5 out of 5

    Yomna Saber

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Salama

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kacey Martin

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maizue

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gayle

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cate Meredith

  28. 5 out of 5

    Estela A.Ortiz

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lora

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

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