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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
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The Bell Jar (original 1963; edition 2006)

by Sylvia Plath

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18,19428094 (3.97)405
Member:shurayuki-hime
Title:The Bell Jar
Authors:Sylvia Plath
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2006), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (Author) (1963)

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» See also 405 mentions

English (275)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  English (1)  All languages (280)
Showing 1-5 of 275 (next | show all)
Didn't like it the first time around. Now that I'm older and have been through some similar shit, I understand more what Plath was getting at. ( )
  Ginnywoolf | Mar 22, 2015 |
Worth reading but I didn't find anything particularly brilliant or seminal in it. I don't think it would have ever been published if it had been by an unknown author. I'd compare it to Go Ask Alice rather than Catcher in the Rye. ( )
  PaddySheridan | Mar 8, 2015 |
This book is hard to read at times. It's hard to read a book where the protagonist is spiraling down into depression and we, the readers, just sit back and read about it. It's uncomfortable and heartbreaking but beautiful and eloquent. Esther may be one of my favorite characters I've ever had the opportunity to read about. Even if a person has never been depression or had suicidal thoughts, they could easily relate to Esther. We are inside her mind while she's falling deeper and deeper and at times I felt like I was going with her. I felt for Esther so much. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to make her feel like life was worth living. I am SO glad I read this book and plan on reading it again and again. ( )
  beearedee | Feb 16, 2015 |
One of my all-time favorites. Haunting. ( )
  Allyson.Wonderland | Jan 29, 2015 |
I did not care for this book at all. I understand it was supposed to be a telling of this woman's demise into the looney bin but I thought it was really boring. There didn't seem to be any reason for this woman to feel the way she did and it was definatly in her own head. I have read many other books that I felt were much better as far as telling of mental illness. In fact, even though I didn't care of Girl Interrupted I think that was a better book than this. ( )
  PrescottKris | Jan 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 275 (next | show all)
The Bell Jar is a marvelously unself-conscious confessional novel dashed off before such documents were in vogue. Now, however, it is as if the likes of Joan Didion have merely been sweeping the stage for Sylvia's ghostly comeback.
added by Shortride | editTime, Martha Duffy (Jun 21, 1971)
 
Her subject--the nervous breakdown and attempted suicide of a well-behaved, bright and successful college girl during the summer vacation of 1953--is hardly topical, and for careful, plain, dolorous prose style, which conveys the world of the heroine under the bell jar of madness with its "stifling distortions," offers few sentimental attractions. It is not a facile, entertaining or dramatic book; it has none of the sharp bitter humor and bite of her poems. It's not well shaped (it can be quite awkward); it offers no modish visionary thrills from the world of the insane, and though it has scenes of college life, the suburbs and the fashion magazine world of the 1950's for the most part it just hangs there dully and drags you down with its heroine; you don't believe she really recovers. Its vague, absorbent, melancholy pull lingers for weeks.
 
[Plath] had failed to understand Esther's malady, and had left behind an incomplete symbol of the age it reflected. Such a reading makes "The Bell Jar" a considerably better book than Miss Plath regarded it.
 
Esther Greenwood's account of her year in the bell jar is as clear and readable as it is witty and disturbing. It makes for a novel such as Dorothy Parker might have written if she had not belonged to a generation infected with the relentless frivolity of the college- humor magazine. The brittle humor of that early generation is reincarnated in "The Bell Jar," but raised to a more serious level because it is recognized as a resource of hysteria.
 

» Add other authors (97 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Plath, SylviaAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dorsman-Vos, W.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fleckhaus, WillyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaiser, ReinhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lois AmesBiographical Notesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
for Elizabeth and David
First words
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.
Quotations
"She stared at her reflection in the glossed shop window as if to make sure, moment by moment, that she continued to exist."
The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way.
To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.
I took a deep breath, and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061148512, Paperback)

Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for this largely autobiographical novel. The Bell Jar tells the story of a gifted young woman's mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963 and left behind this scathingly sad, honest and perfectly-written book, which remains one of the best-told tales of a woman's descent into insanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:31 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

This novel--echoing Plath's own experiences as a rising writer/editor in the early 1950s--chronicles the nervous breakdown of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, successful, but slowly going under, and maybe for the last time.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

Legacy Library: Sylvia Plath

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