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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
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The Bell Jar (original 1963; edition 2005)

by Sylvia Plath

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20,18834677 (3.97)466
Member:AnglersRest
Title:The Bell Jar
Authors:Sylvia Plath
Info:Faber & Faber (2005), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Wishlist
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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)

1960s (49)
To Read (10)
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» See also 466 mentions

English (332)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  All (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Bulgarian (1)  Spanish (1)  All (344)
Showing 1-5 of 332 (next | show all)
This is why I don't even try to write. I would want to be this good and I just don't have it in me. ( )
  Kitty.Cunningham | Jul 19, 2017 |
It’s an interesting book. It was just outside of my grasp until she went into the assylum. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t follow the book that well or really get into it. It’s a really good book. It just kept me a little disoriented throughout.

When I found out that it is pretty much her autobiography with details and names fictionalized, it made more sense to me. I don’t know why, but it did. I do wish I had known that about the book before I read it. I think it would have helped. I find it amazing that it’s the only novel Ms. Plath wrote. It’s very well written and interesting. I don’t know how she was worried about it’s reception. But her own mental issues may have had some hand in that.

Click here for the rest of the review. ( )
  pirogoeth | Jul 11, 2017 |
After reading about Sylvia Plath herself, this book comes as semi-autobiographical. It's a dark story, examining depression, self-hatred, and the inability to integrate into our flawed culture. Plath was able to write about the epidemic we have today with widespread depression and suicide, well before it became a major problem.

It's not a happy book, but I think it's something that needs to be read, especially if you have or have had depression and/or suicidal thoughts. ( )
  Kronomlo | Jun 29, 2017 |
While I found the story mostly interesting and well written, it could never really grip me. Despite the first-person narrative I felt like an outside observer who never got any real insight into the main character’s psyche, especially the causes behind her mental decline and improvement. ( )
  Netpilgrim | Jun 25, 2017 |
I always put off reading this because it seemed to be what wannabe cool kids / tortured artist fuckwads read in college. I thought it would be boring and self-absorbed like Prozac Nation. I'm glad it isn't. Beautiful language, and I didn't even feel cheated at the lack of a resolution, because this was realistic enough and to have a happy ending would feel, to use a word Esther's professor used, factitious. I was just happy that someone understood what it is like (I loved the part where she goes about looking for a place to hang her noose in a matter-of-fact way) and was able to write about this muddled state with clarity. ( )
  mrsrobin | Jun 24, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 332 (next | show all)
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.
 
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.
 

» 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

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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 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.

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