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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
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The Bell Jar (original 1963; edition 2013)

by Sylvia Plath (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
28,301501100 (3.97)2 / 605
Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. HTML:

A realistic and emotional look at a woman who falls into the grips of insanity written by the iconic American writer Sylvia Plath

"It is this perfectly wrought prose and the freshness of Plath's voice in The Bell Jar that make this book enduring in its appeal." ?? USA Today

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under??maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that Esther's neuroses become completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic… (more)

Member:PamKokomo
Title:The Bell Jar
Authors:Sylvia Plath (Author)
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2006), 288 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work Information

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)

1960s (13)
To Read (12)
Daria (7)
Teens (4)
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» See also 605 mentions

English (480)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (4)  Italian (3)  Swedish (3)  Danish (2)  Catalan (2)  Bulgarian (1)  All (1)  All languages (501)
Showing 1-5 of 480 (next | show all)
Fell far short of my expectations. ( )
  silva_44 | Jun 10, 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 | May 23, 2024 |
Here's what I wrote after reading in 2013: "Sad story, sad lady. Glad to have read, especially since was referenced so much in History of a Suicde. Learned a lot about treatment of mental illnesses in the 1940's and 1950's (they had a lot of things wrong and it was before the Pharma companies had a drug for everything)." See somethings in common with the themes of the Handmaid's Tale (last book read) in this one, too.
The talent of Sylvia Plath was going to be constrained in the narrowly defined options for women of her time . . . and she knew it. Quotations in the comments section are my exact kindle highlights. ( )
1 vote MGADMJK | May 20, 2024 |
I have great respect for the way the theme of mental illness is harshly portrayed in this book, only I wish it had been a little less abrupt in its execution. Mental illness is a lifelong battle (I would know), and although I understand it wasn't always well understood (and still isn't, really), I just think Esther Greenwood a bit too spiteful in the handling of her situation. If she were a more active participant in her healing, she might have met with better results. ( )
  TheBooksofWrath | Apr 18, 2024 |
well... you know... being a women innit ( )
  isob | Apr 14, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 480 (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.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Plath, Sylviaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ames, LoisBiographical Notesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bottini, AdrianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dorsman-Vos, W.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fleckhaus, WillyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorlier, ClaudioAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gyllenhaal, MaggieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaiser, ReinhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kurpershoek, RenéTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCullough, FrancesForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, DonnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ravano, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for Elizabeth and David
First words
You might think that classics like The Bell Jar are immediately recognized the moment they reach a publisher's office. But publishing history is rife with stories about classic novels that barely squeaked into print, from Nightwood to A Confederacy of Dunces, and The Bell Jar is one of them. -Introduction, Frances McCullough
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I don't know what I was doing in New York. I'm stupid about executions. The idea of being electrocuted makes me sick, and that's all there was to read about in the paper - goggle-eyes headlines staring up at me on every street corner and at the fusty, peanut-smelling mouth of every subway. It had nothing to do with me, but I couldn't help wondering what it would be like, being burned alive all along your nerves. -Chapter 1
Quotations
That's one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket. (p. 69)
The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way.
"We'll take it up where we left off, Esther," she had said, with her sweet, martyr's smile. "We'll act as if all of this were a bad dream" A bad dream. To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream. A bad dream. I remembered everything. I remembered the cadavers and Doreen and the story of the fig tree and Marco's diamond and the sailor on the Common and Doctor Gordon's wall-eyed nurse and the broken thermometers and the Negro with his two kinds of beans and the twenty pounds I gained on insulin and the rock that bulged between sky and sea like a gray skull. Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, should numb and cover them. But they were part of me. They were my landscape. (p. 181)
I took a deep breath, and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
I began to think that maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about numb as a slave in some private, totalitarian state. (p. 70)
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Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. HTML:

A realistic and emotional look at a woman who falls into the grips of insanity written by the iconic American writer Sylvia Plath

"It is this perfectly wrought prose and the freshness of Plath's voice in The Bell Jar that make this book enduring in its appeal." ?? USA Today

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under??maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that Esther's neuroses become completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic

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Legacy Library: Sylvia Plath

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