By Sally Bayley, Tracy Brain

ISBN-10: 1107006759

ISBN-13: 9781107006751

Curiosity in Sylvia Plath keeps to develop, as does the mythic prestige of her dating with Ted Hughes, yet Plath is a poet of tolerating energy in her personal correct. This ebook explores the various layers of her frequently unreliable and complicated representations and the tough dating among the reader and her texts. the quantity evaluates the historic, familial and cultural resources which Plath drew upon for cloth: from kinfolk images, letters and private heritage to modern literary and cinematic holocaust texts. It examines Plath's artistic strategies: what she does with fabrics starting from Romantic work to women's journal fiction, how she transforms those in a number of drafts and the instruments she makes use of to do that, together with her use of colour. ultimately the e-book investigates particular circumstances whilst Plath herself turns into the subject material for different artists, writers, movie makers and biographers.

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They are told | Do not touch’. But who is this voice in italics that warns her off? Perhaps it is simply her imagination, an imagination that thrives on breaking taboos and making art out of ashes, art too out of letters. Of course, Plath has destroyed art in the first place by burning letters. She chooses the poem’s ‘immortality’ over whatever potential for immortality the papers may have contained. Letters were an important form of dress rehearsal for Plath: a place to test out various roles and voices and receive feedback and praise from different audiences.

51 If so, both poetic partners are caught in the act: Plath, by burning the letters in which she allegedly discovered the name of Hughes’s mistress, Hughes, by delaying publication of the poem and later destroying at least one of Plath’s journals. Biographical context aside, the poem represents the culmination of Plath’s view of letter writing as a quasi-magical form in which the author and the recipient of the letter are somehow literally present. In most of her previous poems, she focuses on her role as a letter writer.

Plath did not just use her own letters to prompt other forms of ­writing. She was equally adept at rewriting other people’s correspondence too. Vivian Pollak has drawn attention to Plath’s angry citation of a Marianne Moore letter in her 1962 poem ‘The Tour’. Pollak’s article brilliantly outlines the build-up to this moment: Plath’s careful reading of Moore’s poetry at college, her first meeting with Moore at the 1955 Glascock poetry contest and Moore’s subsequent reluctance to endorse Plath’s poetry.

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Representing Sylvia Plath by Sally Bayley, Tracy Brain

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