Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar (original 1963; edition 2006)

by Sylvia Plath

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
19,11731885 (3.97)427
Title:The Bell Jar
Authors:Sylvia Plath
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2006), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)

1960s (45)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 427 mentions

English (309)  Dutch (3)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (2)  English (1)  All languages (317)
Showing 1-5 of 309 (next | show all)
This wasn't the book I was expecting it to be. As it was always referred to a feminist literature I was half expecting a Germaine Greer style rant. Instead this is a novel about social change and mental health. About wanting everything and but knowing each time you choose you loose a different option. Well worth reading for anyone ( )
  SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
I had been meaning to read this book for about a month now, ever since I heard it mentioned in [a:Aziz Ansari|9802136|Aziz Ansari|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1433455717p2/9802136.jpg]'s new show 'Master of None' because the fig tree analogy caught my attention and I thought the rest of the book would go along the same lines, talking about choices and consequences...

In a way, it kinda does? But mostly it doesn't. At all.

Full review → Joie des Livres ( )
  joiedeslivres | Apr 12, 2016 |
I've never been interested in reading Plath, I'd rather not bask in the tragic, but since my daughter read this I had to. Part Holden Caulfield part obviously auto-biographical descent into mental torment. Very sad that Plath didn't survive to give us more, I do think this first novel was something she had to get out of her system. Also I would put it on the must list for come of age girls. At least now days we have more choices than Plath and her generation did. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Click on this link to view my in-depth review on my book blog, Opinions of a Bookaholic! http://opinionsofabookaholic.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-bell-jar-sylvia-plath.html ( )
  M_Sawtelle | Apr 6, 2016 |
Brilliant. I'm not sure why it took me till now to read it, but I love how I was able to understand and take it in now. Not sure what my reception would have been earlier in my life. The descent into madness was soft and so real (not surprising since it's mostly-autobiographical). You can completely identify with Esther up until a certain point, easily see yourself having these reactions and thoughts, until it gets to the point of being so overwhelmed there's no way back. Each step is understandable and mesmerizing. You can see and feel the moments. The culture of the 50s and lack of respect for women and lack of empathy from the original psychatrist and the others medical staff in the book is so palpable and historically telling. The glimpse into the past and the strides that have been made since is astounding. The coming of age and self reflections from the bell jar Esther is under is worded so well, as only a poet could create. ( )
  mashiaraqcs | Mar 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 309 (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 (24 possible)

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

Has as a study

Has as a student's study guide

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
"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.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:09 -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

Sylvia Plath has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See Sylvia Plath's legacy profile.

See Sylvia Plath's author page.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
34 avail.
839 wanted
16 pay7 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.97)
0.5 2
1 79
1.5 16
2 218
2.5 45
3 1001
3.5 244
4 1850
4.5 178
5 1666


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,256,506 books! | Top bar: Always visible