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The Other Sylvia Plath [Paperback]

Dr Tracy Brain
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 18.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

21 Mar 2001 058232730X 978-0582327306 1

Despite being widely studied on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses the writing of Sylvia Plath has been relatively neglected in relation to the attention given to her life and what drove her to suicide. Tracy Brain aims to remedy this by introducing completely new approaches to Plath's writing, taking the studies away from the familiar concentration to reveal that Plath as a writer was concerned with a much wider range of important cultural and political topics. Unlike most of the existing literary criticism it shifts the focus away from biographical readings and encompasses the full range of Plath's poetry, prose, journals and letters using a variety of critical methods.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (21 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 058232730X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582327306
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 16.4 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 961,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"a valuable, important book...painstaking and lucid" 'I would certainly want to use it as a textbook.'

'I wolfed it down in one rapid reading, which will be followed by numerous
intensive close re-readings. It is bound to be immensely helpful...'

'I am grateful for the authoritative information about manuscript evidence.'

' ...what prompted this letter, aside from the surge of admiration your book
produced in me...'

' ...a valuable, important book--so painstaking and lucid about issues
fundamental to critical evaluation of these poets.''
['poets' here refers to Plath and Hughes]

'My thanks for all your hard work, and my gratitude for your critical acumen.'
 Diane Ward Middlebrook, Professor of English, Standford University.

From the Back Cover

General Editor- Stan Smith
Professor in Literary Studies, Nottingham Trent University
This exciting series provides students of twentieth-century literature with some of the most advanced scholarly and critical work in the field in a lucid and accessible form. Volumes may focus on an individual author or literary movement or address critical and cultural themes and historical moments. The series assumes no particular critical line or theoretical tendency but aims to present the best writing on twentieth century literature and culture by new and established critics in a way which reveals the remarkable diversity of modern critical approaches.

In this exciting new study, Tracy Brain moves away from the endlessly retold story of Sylvia Plath's life to argue that there is another Sylvia Plath- a writer who was much more interested in a world beyond her own skin than critics have allowed. Tracy Brain provides new close readings of stories and poems that have seldom been talked about, or have been discussed in mainly biographical terms. She provides a fascinating discussion of-
· environmentalism in Plath's work
· Plath's treatment of American and English culture
· the relationship between Plath's work and the work of Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf
Plath's unpublished letters are examined, as well as hand-written drafts of poems, typescripts of the Bell Jar and annotated copies of the books that most influenced her. The book also explores the ways in which Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath drafted their poems together and wrote poems in answer to each other. It is also the first volume to look at Plath's home-made art scrapbooks and to analyse the significance of the cover designs and marketing of Plath's work.
Providing a fresh new insight into the life and works of Sylvia Plath, The Other Sylvia Plath is essential reading for students of Twentieth Century Literature, American Literature and Contemporary Poetry, as well as being of interest to those who have a general interest in Plath.

Tracy Brain lectures in English and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University College.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
If you love Plath's work, this book will astound you. If you groan at the mention of her name, as many people do, you will discover a writer you never new existed. Brain shares her thrill at handling original Plath documents and posessions and uses her extensive knowledge to show Plath's concerns were much wider than just death and man-hating, which seem to some to have been her claim to fame. Brain considers Plath's environmentalism, her transatlanticism and her literary influences. She also shows just how subjective biography is. There is a lot of original material here that shows how neglected Plath's work has been and how over-emphasised has been her life. This is a scholarly book that is also very readable. Brain's love of her subject shines from every page. This book should provoke a new interest in Plath's work and achievements which have yet to be appreciated. Buy it and be amazed. Tracy Brain rocks!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INSIGHTFUL AND A GREAT READ�Buy it when you see the movie! 2 Oct 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Tracy Brain is a writer of uncommon talent who brings Sylvia Plath to life in a way no other academic writer has. Instead of dredging up the same old biographical information, Ms. Brain goes where others have not even attempted. I enjoyed the examination of Plath's letters, the new information I gleaned about Plath's relationship with Ted Hughes, and the interesting new connections made between Plath's work and her inner life. Highly recommended!
4.0 out of 5 stars Sylvia Plath: Martyr or Activist? 11 April 2013
By A Customer - Published on
This book is an original and perceptive analysis of Sylvia Plath's writing, particularly as it reminds us that Plath was a living woman concerned with her natural and cultural environment in many ways, not just the feminist saint contemplating her own martyrdom that most Plath criticism has portrayed. It delves into Plath's psychology in a unique way, and maintains that she wanted to criticize and change the world, not just wallow in her own problems.
The book can also be pedantic and inconsistent. Brain complains justly that critics have misinterpreted Plath's work as a purely autobiographical account of morbid obsession with death, but she then interprets some of it that way herself. She interprets "The Fifty-Ninth Bear," a story Plath based on a trip Plath and her husband Ted Hughes took through Yellowstone NP, as though it were a literal account of their relationship and of the trip (except for the ending, when a bear kills the story's hero) and concludes: "the story warns that, in the end, any idealized wish to be alone and part of nature means, invariably, death." Yet Plath herself complained in her journal that the story fails to express her real feelings. A lot more went on on their Yellowstone trip than the story covers, as Hughes's Birthday Letters poem, "Fishing Bridge," demonstrates. Plath may have had an impulse to urge Hughes to stop a bear ransacking their car, as the story's heroine does, but if so she suppressed it and inhibited Hughes from leaving their tent and confronting the bear, as he impulsively wanted to do. If the story "warns" about anything it is that thoughtless or abstracted attempts to control nature are dangerous, not that "any idealized wish to be alone and part of nature means, invariably, death." The first warning is sensible environmentalism-- humans are, in fact, part of nature whether or not we want-- alone or in a crowd. The second warning sounds like the usual "Plath's morbid death-wish" criticism that Brain rightly attacks.
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