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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar (original 1963; edition 2005)

by Sylvia Plath

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19,17032084 (3.97)427
Title:The Bell Jar
Authors:Sylvia Plath
Info:Faber & Faber (2005), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 240 pages

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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)

1960s (45)
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» See also 427 mentions

English (311)  Dutch (3)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (2)  English (1)  All languages (319)
Showing 1-5 of 311 (next | show all)
Very touching story. Plath takes the reader through the darkness of depression without falling into chliché's straight away. This partly autobiographic novel follows the slow process in which a beautiful and intelligent woman falls deeper and deeper into a dark tunnel which seems to have no end. Seldom have I been touched by a novel as much as now. I would recommend it to anybody.

“The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence.” ( )
  AlexandraWD | May 24, 2016 |
Great book. Stunningly read in this audio version. I enjoyed the postscript about the author almost as much as the book itself. ( )
  jvgravy | May 4, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 311 (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

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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.
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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

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