Sylvias Lovers [with Biographical Introduction]

Carl Rollyson
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mylistinggh.com/wp-content/medical/capos-brian-porzio-dating.php My review of a worthy competitor :. The ABC of Modern Biography does not supersede these earlier books, but that is not to say you should not attend to Hamilton and Renders first. As practicing biographers and scholars of the genre, they have expanded an understanding of the range and significance of biography and approached the alphabet of the genre in an original, instructive, and entertaining way. You won't find, for example, "C is for Composition" in any other book.

The third sentence of this entry explans why biography has suffered from neglect in the literary canon as a kind of second-rate sibling of the novel: "The construction of the biography itself, as a work of craft—its shape, its framing, its narrative arc, the quality of its ingredients from archival discoveries to interviews, its style as prose or composition by the biographer—these are of scant interest to the reviewer or journalist"—and, usually, to scholars as well, except for those benighted few who try to make a go of writing about biography, which has no place in the college curriculum.

Because even great writers like Virginia Woolf and Evelyn Waugh have not put in the time on how to write biography, their own biographical productions, Hamilton and Renders point out, are disasters. I can't imagine any other book on biography having an entry as brilliant as "X is for Xanadu": "From the opening sequence—the camera panning over the Xanadu estate, with its 'No Trespassing' sign and large 'K' welded on the gate—Citizen Kane is a kind of homage to the art and process of biography, biographers today recognize, as editors in a smoky projection room watch a newsreel summary of Kane's life and are told by their boss, Mr.

Rawlston, they need to dig deeper than the myth, not only to decipher the potential meaning of Kane's last word, but to fill lin his 'character. That panning camera, I would add, mimics the phases of inquiry the reporters and views of the film have to experience in order to penetrate the elusive Kane.

The film never promises full disclosure; it is too honest to do that, for that would make biography stoop to that too eager to please genre: the novel. Only the greatest novels can match great biography, and those novels—by Nabokov and Faulkner, for example—are wise enough to leave something out, the kind of mystery that readers of biography relish. Any first biographer is required to read this book. Any experienced biographer can still profit from a refresher course that entries like "E is for Ethics," "J is for Journalism," and "T is for Theory" supply. Each entry is followed by a list of sources so that, for example, you can read more about authorized biography in articles and books by Kitty Kelley and Carl Rollyson.

The comprehensive bibliography and excellent index make the book even more useful. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem?

By This Poet

Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The first biography of Sylvia Plath to draw on unpublished journals and letters, Sylvia Plath provides a detailed, objective, and illuminating portrait of this talented and tortured woman who is widely recognized as one of America's foremost poets of the 20th century.

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Sort order. I found this biography of Sylvia Plath October 27, — February 11, to be well written and researched. Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, short-story writer, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Collected Poems awarded posthumously. My motive for reading this biography was to prepare for the reading of The Bell Jar which I understand to be a semi-autobiographical novel that recounts her own life experiences of depression, attempted suicide and recovery into a new l I found this biography of Sylvia Plath October 27, — February 11, to be well written and researched.

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Sylvia's Lovers [with Biographical Introduction] eBook: Elizabeth Gaskell: dynipalo.tk: Kindle Store. Re:sylvias lovers with biographical introduction. Frauen die nach Schinken stinken Die ungeheuerliche Geschichte von Sylvias Aufstieg und Abstieg und vom.

My motive for reading this biography was to prepare for the reading of The Bell Jar which I understand to be a semi-autobiographical novel that recounts her own life experiences of depression, attempted suicide and recovery into a new life. Plath's intent in writing The Bell Jar was to deliver an optimistic message of rebirth from depression. Unfortunately, Sylvia Plath succumbed to depression and committed suicide twenty-seven days after The Bell Jar was published in the United Kingdom.

Sylvia Plath was clearly a talented writer, and her death was a terrible loss to the world of literature. In the Preface the author notes that when she began research for this biography she had the full cooperation of Ted Hughes Sylvia's estranged husband who owns the Plath literary rights. But when it came near the time to published that cooperation ceased because he wanted editorial control which the author refused. Consequently she was unable to include quotations from interviews with Ted. At various times during this biography's account of Plath's life, the author references poems and other writings by Sylvia that reflect on those life experiences.

Since my motive for reading this book was in preparation for The Bell Jar I have included extensive quotations from the book below that make reference to The Bell Jar. What she was not writing to Aurelia, however, was even more exciting. Now called The Bell Jar, the book was written in the satirical voice of a Salinger or Roth character who uses a mixture of wry understatement and comic exaggeration. Plath wanted to do more than write autobiographical fiction. She wanted her novel to speak for the lives of countless women--women she had known--women caught in conflicting social codes who were able to laugh about their plight.

A central image of the book, the fig tree bearing ripe figs, depicts the female dilemma of the s. No woman can have it all, but choosing is also difficult. I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantine and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and off-beat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out.

I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest The protagonists comic monologue is calculated to imply that a woman does not have to make that single choice. Her dilemma is entirely artificial. Only social pressure forces the choice. Esther Greenwood, the narrator of the novel, appreciates the ridiculousness of her plight.

Her perceptions set her outside society, but they do not free her from the pressures of that world. Plath carefully sets the story of Esther in the context of a political situation not for nothing had she been reading Camus and Sartre , the controversial execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Esther's personal horror at what she finds in life is set against the horror of their executions. In The Bell Jar , Esther is a survivor: she has a sense of humor, a cool if cynical view of life that colors the grim comedy of her descriptions. She is also--at the time she writes the story--a mother, a practical woman who has made the best of her life, and who tries to learn from it.

Writing The Bell Jar was a liberating experience for Sylvia. For the first time in her life, her writing provided continuity for her. The long prose story had its own rhythm, its own demands. With poetry, when Sylvia had finished one poem, there was no reason to write any particular next poem; everything was separate, distinct.

And in writing this novel, Plath did draw on all her experiences. For example, she borrowed a sexual experience from a blind date during her freshman year at Smith, describing it as though it happened with Buddy Willard. Holden meets a sailor and a Cuban; so does Esther.

Holden walks forty-one blocks back to his New York hotel; Esther walks forty-eight. Holden looks as yellow in his mirror as Esther looking Chinese does in hers. He vomits before going to bed; in The Bell Jar Doreen does that, but then Esther and the other guest editors share in another long purge after eating bad crab. Both books have a cemetery scene. Holden Caulfield wants to go West because he thinks that part of the country will save him.

Esther wants to go to Chicago for the same reasons. The suggestion of sexual deviance in the subplot, too, echoes Holden's discovery of the homosexuality of Mr.

Antolini, his friend and former teacher. Tone and mood in The Bell Jar change quickly.

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This was a "comic" novel Sylvia was writing she later called it "a pot-boiler". The Bell Jar would reach beyond Catcher, because in that book Holden was telling his story to a sympathetic therapist and to his readers, but he was not yet free of the asylum or its stigma. For Esther, there was rebirth. For Plath, too, a yearning for rebirth, for a clean start, seems to have dominated the spring of Now that her appendix had been removed, she could no longer blame her moods on health problems. The moods, however, remained and a vengeful anger periodically erupted through the calm surface of her life.

It also erupted in her writing. The following describes Sylvia Plath's efforts at finding an American publisher for The Bell Jar and how she felt about her novel. Reading it in proofs, Sylvia realized what she had accomplished. The Bell Jar was good, crisp, funny, and yet poignant book. It spoke with the voice of an over-aged Smithie, reminiscent of the cynical Smith voice that colored the campus newspaper and year book. It was a s voice, a s attitude, just as it was supposed to be.

She worked on her new novel now titled Double Exposure about the gradual corruption of a naive American girl who revered honesty by a powerful and inherently dishonest man. As in her other writing the theme came directly from her life. The following is a description of Sylvia Plath's reaction to reviews after The Bell Jar was published. January 14, The Bell Jar was officially published and available. Addressing Sylvia as Mrs.

Robert Taubman, writing in New Statesman thought the novel was excellent and that Lucas was a female J. The Times Literary Supplement was less excited about the book but still reviewed it favorably. Although the reviews were very good, Sylvia was frustrated. She was so upset in fact with such a need to talk to somebody that she went downstairs to Professor Thomas weeping uncontrollably. He asked her in and, alternating between grief an resentment, she gave free reign to her anger against her husband and the other woman, her frustration at being chained to the house and the children when she wanted to be free to write and become famous.

Asking for a Sunday paper, she pointed to a poem in The Observer and said it was by her husband.

Sylvia had signed some divorce papers, but apparently the divorce wasn't final at the time of her death. The unfairness of it all is compounded by the fact that Ted Hughes either hid or destroyed Sylvia's Journals from the time near her death. These are the journals that most likely would have contained derogatory remarks about her husband. View all 3 comments. Nov 20, Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction , poetry , biography.

This biography explores her often enigmatic life in a time when people like her were not well understood. But I knew little else until I read this book. Linda Wagner-Martin writes a very thorough and touching biography from Sylvia Plath's chidhood born until her suicide in So much is revealed from the untimely and emotional death of Sylvia's father, her days at Smith and her first attempted suicide , her popularity, beliefs, and uncanny ability to work her sadness and suffering into the poetry that defines her today. I found it even sadder that at the time of her death, Syliva was perhaps at the height of her creativity.

While reading this book, I could not help but think that Sylvia Plath was her own toughest critic. The demands she put on herself and the self-imposed strain to always over-achieve were incredible. While I always felt that her estranged spouse, Ted Hughes, was a louse, it became even more evident when I learned that he left her for another woman while the youngest of their two children Nicholas was only a few months old. There were other incidents of his behavior that also enraged me but that's not the point of this review. Another thing I loved about this book is the Afterword; the Notes on Sources; and that it has an Index and that Index also contains a list of all of Sylvia Plath's mentioned works.

For me, all of this additional reference makes for a very complete biography. After reading this, I now hope to re-read The Bell Jar very soon. I must note a scene on page when Sylvia, Anne Sexton, and George Starbuck drive Sexton's old Ford to the Ritz bar back in the day a very stuffy and proper Boston establishment for martinis; Anne parks her old car in the Ritz's loading zone and shouts when challenged that it was all right for her to park there because the 3 of them were going to get loaded!

View all 7 comments. Jul 29, Leanna rated it liked it. Pretty interesting. Very clearly written and obviously well researched. Wagner-Martin especially makes Plath's time as a single mother, and what a struggle that was for her, very real and palpable.

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At times, though, she engages in pop-pyschology analysis of Plath, and that's a bit annoying. Also, sometimes she makes claims and there is no support. And I wanted to have much more about the dissolution of the Plath-Hughes marriage. However, Wagner-Martin notes in the preface that the Hughes' limite Pretty interesting. However, Wagner-Martin notes in the preface that the Hughes' limited her access to Plath's writing, so I don't think the occasional lapse in detail or insight is necessarily her fault.

Things I learned, in no particular order: --Anne Sexton influenced Plath early on, not the other way around! The two took a class with Robert Lowell together and became friends. Plath found herself very inspired by Sexton's writing. Sexton also found publishing success first. He left her to fend for herself in Devon, England, the middle of nowhere, with a toddler and an infant.

She was on her own when she was writing the Ariel poems. Why did this man who treated her so shabbily, and whom she was on the verge of divorce from at the time of her death, get to be the executor of her literary estate? Why not her mother? In many ways, with her accomplishments, ambition, and drive to excel in all areas, she reminds me of the, like, prep school kids of today who are groomed for achievement from the cradle. Wagner-Martin makes the case that Plath's perfectionism was due to the pressure her parents exerted on her early on, but honestly, her evidence didn't support that, to me, at least.

Aurelia seemed very supportive. But, yes, I didn't know that Plath's early life was plumped with gifted-kid extracurriculars, nor that she went to posh Wellesley High, before taking over Smith. It seems from her biography that she'd had only one major breakdown, in the 50s. I wonder if her suicide attempt seemed more surprising because she'd been "stable" for ten years after that attempt? Their closeness via snail mail reminded me of how parents and children keep in touch now through email.

For some reason, I thought "The Bell Jar" came after. I'd noticed some of the same images in the novel and Plath's poems, and because I'd enjoyed their development more in the poems than in the novel, I guess I'd thought their "afterthoughts" were in the novel.

Sylvia Plath: A Biography

Overall, a fascinating portrait of Plath. The story of her life and death is very moving. Probably one of the dullest books ever written about an incendiary literary figure. Apr 26, Mick rated it it was amazing. Reading about Sylvia delivers a sensation like drinking coarse, bitter hot chocolate.

I was left gesturing out for 'A Tulip' that I could pluck from the fields we passed, myself peering out of the window of the train car of her intense, and sometimes disturbing train of thought. It kept brewing that I should read at least one account of Sylvia's life story, and my fascination with her work has only increased in volumes.

She will shine on for many more generations to be enchanted and enamored wit Reading about Sylvia delivers a sensation like drinking coarse, bitter hot chocolate. She will shine on for many more generations to be enchanted and enamored with her language. She wrote from her soul, and dared to touch the deepest corners of those chilling, spellbinding chambers.

Themes in her life incubated themselves in her mind and she later ripped them out like pages from a worn book, and set along to masterfully set her emotions into perfection rather than perfect emotions set into flawed poetry. When she blistered and burned, she rose and her best work appeared. Such is the relationship between suffering and art. But when she could admit those flaws, and had no choice but to recklessly penetrate and break down barriers that she had built to enclose herself out of protection from the watchful and critical society she came from, in order to take control and exude power over her work.

The phoenix had officially risen. No emotion will ever be perfect. But as a paintbox which we can use to create brave, stirring images of the world that surrounds us, and not be inhibited by those emotions, to not fear them, is when another brighter, bigger world opens before us. My only regret is that Sylvia did not live to see the Sixties and 70's generations, where young women campaigned and worked to destroy the patriarchal and limiting values that oppressed Sylvia as she grew up.

Sylvia would have been proud of the freedom of expression women wanted and strove to achieve, and are still working to achieve up to present day. The battle may be won some day, but Sylvia's craft will endure, no matter how the hardship for those who are outsiders and struggling with psychological issues continues to persist. She represents the honesty and the 'Ariel', the forceful, courageous lioness that has seen countless wars and destruction from its presence in ancient text to where it vibrated through Sylvia's energy as she composed her poetry.

There is an Ariel in every woman. Jun 05, Laoise Murray rated it really liked it. I finished this in the past 2 days. I've always considered her poetry and life fascinating. A truly interesting and enthralling poet and I found how she ultimately committed suicide fascinating. It was written beautifully and I very much dislike Ted Hughes well he's dead now. He was very controlling of her while she was alive, her image after her death and even "lost" some of her journals and burnt her last ever journal that has accounts of before her suicide. All for I believe an elaborate cove I finished this in the past 2 days.

All for I believe an elaborate cover up of how awful he truly was.