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Sylvia Plath (1932–1963)

Author of The Bell Jar

130+ Works 48,318 Members 692 Reviews 352 Favorited
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About the Author

Sylvia Plath's best poetry was produced, tragically, as she pondered self-destruction---in her poems as well as her life---and she eventually committed suicide. She had an extraordinary impact on British as well as American poetry in the few years before her death, and affected many poets, show more particularly women, in the generation after. She is a confessional poet, influenced by the approach of Robert Lowell. Born in Boston, a graduate of Smith College, Plath attended Newnham College, Cambridge University, on a Fulbright Fellowship and married the British poet Ted Hughes. Of her first collection,The Colossus and Other Poems (1962), the Times Literary Supplement remarked, "Plath writes from phrase to phrase as well as with an eye on the larger architecture of the poem; each line, each sentence is put together with a good deal of care for the springy rhythm, the arresting image and---most of all, perhaps---the unusual word." Plath's second book of poetry, Ariel, written in 1962 in a last fever of passionate creative activity, was published posthumously in 1965 and explores dimensions of women's anger and sexuality in groundbreaking new ways. Plath's struggles with women's issues, in the days before the second wave of American feminism, became legendary in the 1970s, when a new generation of women readers and writers turned to her life as well as her work to understand the contradictory pressures of ambitious and talented women in the 1950s. The Bell Jar---first published under a pseudonym in 1963 and later issued under Plath's own name in England in 1966---is an autobiographical novel describing an ambitious young woman's efforts to become a "real New York writer" only to sink into mental illness and despair at her inability to operate within the narrow confines of traditional feminine expectations. Plath was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1982. In recent years, there have been a number of biographies and critical evaluations of Plath's work. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

Also published under the name Sylvia Plath Hughes and Victoria Lucas. Please do not combine this author page with the author page for Plath, as there are other authors with that surname. thank you.

Works by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar (1963) 28,286 copies
Ariel (1965) 4,162 copies
Ariel: The Restored Edition (2004) 1,573 copies
The Colossus and Other Poems (1960) 1,245 copies
Letters Home (1975) 786 copies
Crossing the Water (1971) 600 copies
Plath: Poems (1994) 380 copies
Winter Trees (1972) 341 copies
The Bed Book (1976) 241 copies
The It-Doesn't-Matter Suit (1996) 129 copies
Sylvia Plath: Drawings (2011) 102 copies
Three Women (1976) 40 copies
Lady Lazarus e altre poesie (1986) 37 copies
Sylvia Plath Reads (1992) 36 copies
I capolavori (2004) 16 copies
Daddy [poem] (1965) 6 copies
Voices & Visions (1997) 6 copies
OEUVRES SYLVIA PLATH (2011) 6 copies
Luulet (1990) 4 copies
Max Nix (1996) 3 copies
Mirror {poem} (1966) 3 copies
Mrs Cherry's Kitchen (2007) 3 copies
Ariel ve Seçme Şiirler (2014) 3 copies
Beirazko kanpaia (2022) 3 copies
Gunlukler (2012) 2 copies
La ira del águila (1987) 2 copies
Fiesta Melons 2 copies
Liebesgedichte (2009) 2 copies
Noční tance (2002) 2 copies
Lyonnesse: Poems, (1971) 2 copies
Two Poems (1980) 2 copies
Kiraz Hanim'in Mutfagi (2015) 1 copy
Autore donna (2004) 1 copy
The Colussus 1 copy
Espejo 1 copy
L'Ombre 1 copy
Initiation 1 copy
Plath Sylvia 1 copy
Fear of Flying (1973) 1 copy
Godziny nad ranem (1995) 1 copy
Pursuit 1 copy
Wreath for a Bridal (1970) 1 copy
Two uncollected poems (1980) 1 copy
Le rêve de Max (2012) 1 copy
METHOD AND MADNESS (1976) 1 copy
Sylvia Plath versei (2002) 1 copy
Million dollar month (1971) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (2000) — Contributor — 1,275 copies
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 930 copies
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas (2004) — Contributor — 767 copies
The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry (1990) — Contributor — 766 copies
The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists (2000) — Contributor, some editions — 555 copies
American Gothic Tales (1996) — Contributor — 463 copies
A Pocket Book of Modern Verse (1954) — Contributor, some editions — 449 copies
The Norton Book of Women's Lives (1993) — Contributor — 412 copies
Literature: The Human Experience (2006) — Contributor — 341 copies
The Portable Sixties Reader (2002) — Contributor — 330 copies
The Penguin Book of Women Poets (1978) — Contributor — 299 copies
The Faber Book of Modern Verse (1936) — Contributor, some editions — 290 copies
The New Poetry (1962) — Contributor — 269 copies
The Penguin Book of Contemporary Verse (1950) — Contributor, some editions — 266 copies
British Poetry Since 1945 (1970) — Contributor, some editions — 167 copies
American Religious Poems: An Anthology (2006) — Contributor — 164 copies
The Faber Book of Beasts (1997) — Contributor — 141 copies
No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (1973) — Contributor — 124 copies
The Penguin Book of Women's Humour (1996) — Contributor — 119 copies
Poems from the Women's Movement (2009) — Contributor — 109 copies
Emergency Kit (1996) — Contributor, some editions — 109 copies
The Everyman Anthology of Poetry for Children (1994) — Contributor — 73 copies
Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths (1684) — Contributor — 69 copies
The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink (2012) — Contributor — 63 copies
The Vintage Book of American Women Writers (2011) — Contributor — 56 copies
Lament for the Makers: A Memorial Anthology (1996) — Contributor — 52 copies
The Faber Book of Gardens (2007) — Contributor — 45 copies
Science Fiction (1973) — Author — 40 copies
The Oxford Book of English Love Stories (1996) — Contributor — 36 copies
60 Years of American Poetry (1996) — Contributor — 28 copies
Women on Nature (2021) — Contributor — 23 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1973 (1973) — Contributor — 23 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1969 (1969) — Contributor — 21 copies
AQA Anthology (2002) — Author, some editions — 19 copies
Loss: An Anthology (1997) — Contributor — 18 copies
Modern Poets: Four (1968) — Author — 17 copies
Fairy Poems (2023) — Contributor — 16 copies
Modern Women Poets (2005) — Contributor — 13 copies
Of Leaf and Flower: Stories and Poems for Gardeners (2001) — Contributor — 11 copies
Poetry anthology (2000) — Contributor, some editions — 6 copies
The Bell Jar [1979 film] (1979) — Author — 5 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 4, December 1976 (1976) — Contributor — 4 copies
Modern Short Stories in English (Literature for Life) (1993) — Contributor — 4 copies
American Short Stories (Oxford Literature Resources) (1992) — Contributor — 2 copies
Winter's Tales 15 (1969) — Contributor — 2 copies
Fyra amerikanska klassiker från Novellix (2017) — Contributor — 1 copy
In'hui, No.9 — Contributor — 1 copy
Månen : fra den indre verden til det ydre rum (2018) — Author, some editions — 1 copy
Manpareka Kehi Kavita (2001) — Contributor — 1 copy


1960s (150) 20th century (729) American (531) American literature (754) American poetry (214) anthology (988) autobiography (326) biography (370) classic (478) classics (532) depression (844) diary (315) essays (124) favorites (168) feminism (481) fiction (2,972) journal (215) letters (151) literature (914) memoir (360) mental health (223) mental illness (640) New York (117) non-fiction (669) novel (420) own (280) owned (112) paperback (111) poems (125) poetry (5,856) psychology (226) read (592) short stories (323) suicide (576) Sylvia Plath (1,106) to-read (2,257) unread (197) USA (152) women (422) writing (114)

Common Knowledge

Legal name
Hughes, Sylvia Plath (married name)
Other names
Lucas, Victoria
Hughes, Sylvia Plath
Date of death
Burial location
Heptonstall Parish Churchyard, West Yorkshire, England, UK,
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Place of death
London, England, UK
Cause of death
Places of residence
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA
Winthrop, Massachusetts, USA
Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
London, England, UK
Devon, England, UK (show all 8)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Northampton, Massachusetts, USA
Smith College (AB|English|1955)
Newnham College, Cambridge (MA)
short-story writer
Hughes, Ted (husband)
Hughes, Frieda (daughter)
Lowell, Robert (teacher)
Alvarez, Al (friend)
Sexton, Anne (friend)
Awards and honors
Glascock Poetry Prize (1955)
Fulbright Fellowship (Cambridge, 1955)
Pulitzer Prize (1982)
Short biography
Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. She is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for two of her published collections, The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel, as well as The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her death. In 1981 The Collected Poems were published, including many previously unpublished works. For this collection Plath was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1982, making her the first to receive this honour posthumously.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Plath studied at Smith College in Massachusetts and at Newnham College in Cambridge, England. She married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956, and they lived together in the United States and then in England. They had two children before separating in 1962.

Plath was clinically depressed for most of her adult life, and was treated multiple times with electroconvulsive therapy. She died by suicide in 1963.
Disambiguation notice
Also published under the name Sylvia Plath Hughes and Victoria Lucas.

Please do not combine this author page with the author page for Plath, as there are other authors with that surname. thank you.



the bell jar in Club Read 2023 (July 2023)
Interested to swap replacement titles in Canada in Folio Society Devotees (October 2022)
Fine press Plath in Fine Press Forum (March 2022)


Fell far short of my expectations.
silva_44 | 505 other reviews | Jun 10, 2024 |
It’s so dark - the kind where if it was written by your friend you would know unequivocally that they are NOT ok. Really heavy.
The moon and the yew tree was my fave.
spiritedstardust | 51 other reviews | Jun 1, 2024 |
I loved this story but I can confidently say that I'm not really sure what it was actually about. It was well written and spooky and I love trains and it left me with a lot to think about... Lovely.
ZetaRiemann | 6 other reviews | May 30, 2024 |
I absolutely love the style of this novel. The inherent poet within Plath shines brightly even in her prose, and it was that poetic flavor which most endeared me to the book. The use of a conversational somewhat divergent style recalled all that I liked about the Catcher and the Rye without much of the irritation it simultaneously brought. My only qualm was that there was not enough emotional impact considering the topics addressed.
AngelReadsThings | 505 other reviews | May 23, 2024 |


Daria (1)
1960s (1)
Teens (1)


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Associated Authors

Ted Hughes Editor, Introduction
Frances McCullough Foreword, Editor
Frieda Hughes Foreword
Bernard Bergonzi Contributor
Richard Kell Contributor
Kate Abbott Research
Donna Muir Cover artist
Reinhard Kaiser Translator
Lois Ames Biographical Note
Claudio Gorlier Afterword
Anna Ravano Translator
Willy Fleckhaus Cover designer
W.A. Dorsman-Vos Translator
Adriana Bottini Translator
Robert Lowell Foreword
Sarah Young Cover artist
Erich Fried Translator
Alissa Walser Übersetzer
Quentin Blake Illustrator
Eva Demski Translator
David Roberts Illustrator
Anuska Allepuz Illustrator
Catherine Cronin Rights manager
Tracey Tomlin Picture editor
Darren Gavigan Production
Dave Hall Subeditor
Pas Paschali Production editor
Gavin Brammall Art director
Nicholas Wroe Series editor
John Spencer Illustrator
Barry Moser Illustrator


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