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Letters Home: Correspondence [Kindle Edition]

Sylvia Plath
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Letters Home represents Sylvia Plath's correspondence from her time at Smith College in the early 1950s, through her meeting with, and subsequent marriage to, the poet Ted Hughes, up to her death in February 1963. The letters are addressed mainly to her mother, with whom she had an extremely close and confiding relationship, but there are also some to her brother Warren and her benefactress Mrs Prouty.

Plath's energy, enthusiasm and her passionate tackling of life burst onto these pages, providing us with a vivid and intimate portrait of a woman who has come to be regarded as one of the greatest of twentieth-century poets. In addition to her capacity for domestic and writerly happiness, however, these letters also hint at Plath's potential for deep despair, which reached its crisis when she holed up in a London flat for the terrible winter of 1963.


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About the Author

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright scholarship, where she met and later married Ted Hughes. She published one collection of poems in her lifetime, The Colossus (1960), and a novel, The Bell Jar (1963). Her Collected Poems, which contains her poetry written from 1956 until her death, was published in 1981 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

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More About the Author

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright scholarship, where she met and later married Ted Hughes. She published one collection of poems in her lifetime, The Colossus (1960), and a novel, The Bell Jar (1963). Her Collected Poems, which contains her poetry written from 1956 until her death, was published in 1981 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A problematic book 20 Oct. 2005
Format:Paperback
I'm not going to deny that reading other people's letters can be very satisfying, especially when the writer of those letters is actually a writer, gifted with words and impassioned with them. That the writer of these letters was Sylvia Plath was obviously its main draw when I read the book. It appears, at face value, to offer us an insight into her life : what better than to read of her experiences in her own words ?
However, it is not as simple as that. The great majority of the letters in LETTERS HOME were written by Plath to her mother, first from Smith College, then from Cambridge in England, then from the various places that Plath lived and wrote in when married to Ted Hughes. The letters, apart from a few at the very end (written in the last few months before her suicide) possess an unrelentingly optimistic tone that borders on the manic. Yes, they are very descriptive. And they appear to be describing an idyllic existence : the writing itself, fascinating people met, the wonderful children, marvellous recipes, superb landscapes. Most of all SUCCESS. Success success success. Plath is clearly writing what her mother wants to hear. Hardly anything negative is mentioned at all ; if it is, it is almost immediately sentimentalized or even retracted. These are letters from a grown-up child still desperate to get approval from her ever-demanding parent. In that sense, they are very sad letters.
The short editorial notes which the late Mrs. Aurelia Plath inserted into the text might also give food for thought to the perceptive reader-she appears to exhibit no insight whatsoever into her daughter's difficulties or her own role in them. Those difficulties, by the way, are referred to very occasionally and obliquely, as if they were a sordid secret of some kind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any Plath fans 25 Feb. 2007
By Heather VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This book brings together the letters Sylvia Plath sent home between 1950 and 1963 (the year of her death) and is compiled and introduced by her mother, to whom the majority of the letters are addressed.

What is most striking about this collection is Plath's committment to writing and maintaining contact with her family while away at college and later, while living in England with her poet husband Ted Hughes. The collection shows that during some years she wrote to her mother on almost a daily basis, sharing every detail of her life.

There is a rare quality to Sylvia Plaths writing, which is also evident in her collected journals and that is her ability to write with sheer abandonment detailing her desires as well as her depression and insecurities particularly over her relationship with Hughes. The letters (as well as her journals) then are both raw and honest and really allow the reader an insight into a troubed and complicated mind.

Some of the later letters seem to be attempting to reassure her mother, particularly after the break up of her marriage, that she is well and coping but also cause the reader to question whether or not these are just eveidence of her severe depression, in which she suffered bouts of happiness and positivity followed by periods of deep sadness.

This is a really interesting collection which gives us further insight into the awful downward spiral that lead Plath to committ suicide in early 1963, leaving behind her two small children. Poigniantly, her mother writes as the end of the letters "... some darker day than usual had temporarily made it [life] seem impossible to pursue." Which makes you realise how long her struggle with depression had been building and this is also the impression we get from reading her letters.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest portrayl of a gifted writer's life 9 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Plath's honest and emotional portrayl of life as a college girl struggling with the expectations upon her as a young published writer, the pressure of growing up, making friends and meeting boys combine in this amazing book of letters home. Fans of the Bell-Jar will not be dissapointed to learn Plath was as poetic in her personal letters as in her fiction. In her late teens she wrote "I write only because, There is a voice within me, That will not be still." Personally I always have and always will revere this voice and remain amazed that such a young girl could posess such a paradox of views swaying from the divinely romantic to the neurotically driven desire to fit in and yet to remain an artistically higher being. The mundane everyday is expressed with such intensity of feeling it is simply beauty in the form of words. Plath writes honestly without pretension and what remains in the readers mind is how normal and yet astounding she was as a person, a woman and a writer.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I was really fascinated by this book. The early letters particulary are brilliant, and help create a sylvia who is similar to many other girls. However, i was dissapointd in her mother's increasing evident censoring. The number of times that ... appeared made me become more intrested in what wasn't said. Nevertheless I did enjoy it, although readersbeware of what is omited.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend 6 May 2011
Format:Paperback
Haven't read it all yet but very interesting, allows the reader for an in-depth look in to her life. A speedy transaction, good price and great delivery time to. Would recommend.
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