The Journals of Sylvia Plath and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Buy Used
£8.99
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Used Good condition book may have signs of cover wear and/or marks on corners and page edges. Inside pages may have highlighting, writing and underlining. All purchases eligible for Amazon customer service and a 30-day return policy.
Trade in your item
Get a £2.25
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Journals of Sylvia Plath Paperback – 9 Apr 2001


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£11.00 £5.00

Trade In Promotion



Free One-Day Delivery for six months with Amazon Student


Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New edition edition (9 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571205216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571205219
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 5.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 217,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

Amazon Review

"I have experienced love, sorrow, madness and if I cannot make these experiences meaningful, no new experience will help me". --Sylvia Plath, November 15, 1959.

In the decades that have followed the suicide of Sylvia Plath in February 1963, much has been written and speculated about her life; most particularly her marriage to fellow-poet Ted Hughes and her last months spent writing the stark, confessional poems that became Ariel and that posthumously made her name. The myths surrounding Plath were intensified by the strong grip her estate--managed by Hughes and his sister Olwyn--had over the release of her work. Sylvia Plath kept journals from the age of 11 until her death at 30. Previously only available in an abridged American edition, with heavy black scorings out of passages that Ted Hughes did not at the time want read, The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 is the first unabridged publication of Plath's diaries, scrupulously transcribed (with every spelling mistake and grammatical error left intact) and annotated by Karen V. Kukil, curator at Plath's US alma mater, Smith College.

The Journals show the breathless adolescent obsessed with her burgeoning sexuality, the serious university student competing to get the highest grades while engaging in the human merry-go-round of 1950s dating, the graduate year spent at Cambridge University where Plath's auspicious first meeting with Ted Hughes took place; their marriage a few months later ("He is a genius. I his wife"). Plath's documentation of the two years (1957-1959) the couple spent in the US teaching and writing highlights explicitly the dilemma of the late 1950s' woman--still swaddled in expectations of domesticity, yet attempting to forge her own independent professional and personal life. This period also reveals in detail the therapy sessions in which Plath lets loose her antipathy for her mother and her grief at her father's death when she was eight--a contrast to the bright, all-American persona she presented to her mother in the correspondence that was published as Letters Home. There are some notable omissions in terms of chronology. Plath's breakdown during the summer of 1953, attempted suicide and hospitalisation are not covered in any great detail in her journals, but she recorded the events minutely in her one novel, The Bell Jar. Fragments of diaries exist after 1959, which saw the couple's return to England and rural retreat in Devon, the birth of their two children, and their separation in late 1962. An extended piece on the illness and death of an elderly neighbour during this period is particularly affecting and was later turned into the poem "Berck-Plage". Much has been made of the "lost diaries" that Plath kept until her suicide--one simply appears to have vanished, the other was burnt by Hughes after her death. It would seem rapacious to wish for more details of Plath's despair in her final days, however. This was crystallised in the poems that became Ariel, and this is what the voice of her journals ultimately send the reader back to: Plath's life has for too long been obfuscated by anecdote, distorting her major contribution to late 20th-century literature. As she wrote in "Kindness": "The blood jet is poetry. There is no stopping it". --Catherine Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Sylvia Plath (1932-63) 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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 April 2001
Format: Paperback
Since Plath's suicide in 1963, many people have attempted to search for answers in Plath's writing as to why she chose to take her life. This collection of journals is satisfying not because it can provide answers to why she killed herself (we will never have the definitive answer to that, and besides, her last two journals prior to the suicide are not included here - one was lost, the other destroyed by Ted Hughes). No, reading these journals is satisfying because the writer exudes pure talent. Whilst reading you are forced to stand back, awe-struck, at the skill with which she could write, even at the age of eighteen. What we see is someone who is driven, someone with aspirations, and a desire to be successful in everything she does. And yet, alongside this ambition, is someone full of rage and insecurity. Plath's desires battled against one another - the need to be a well-respected, published writer: 'I depend too desperately on getting my poems, my little glib poems, accepted by the New Yorker', and the desire to be a wife and mother, and enter the world of pleasant domesticity: 'I long to permeate the matter of this world: to become anchored to life by laundry and lilacs, daily bread and fried eggs...'
I could not recommend this book more highly, whether you are an admirer of Plath's work or not, and anyone wishing to become a writer themselves could certainly do worse than to look to collection for inspiration.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Mar 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was skeptical about this publication. I already own the abridged edition of Plath's journals and wasn't sure that this book would provide new information. But I'm glad I ordered it. The wealth of material provides a more comprehensive perspective. The book follows Plath from the insecure teenage years through her first breakdown, her first serious love affair and up to her marriage and finally motherhood. It details her struggles with depression, but most of all her incredible vitality and love of life - of colours, textures, food, sex and literature - seem to jump off the pages. Plath's journals for her last three years are not available; one was destroyed, the other stolen. And the remaining journals are full of fragments and missing bits, raising more questions than they answer. The fascination of this book is that the enigma of Sylvia Plath remains. At times she is a trite, boy crazy college girl, then she is suicidally depressed, then struggling with sinusitis, writing and working, hoping and dreaming, loving and despising, posing for an audience, manipulating to hide her vulnerability, paradoxically always striving for authenticity in her life and work. This book doesn't answer the question: Who was Sylvia? - except maybe in her own words: "A passionate, fragmentary girl".
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Kelvin MacGregor on 14 Nov 2002
Format: Paperback
The good thing about journals is that after you've read them you can dip in again at any page and get caught up in that day's events, action, dilemmas, reflections; once you become more familiar with the contents you can return to favourite passages for pleasure. It's almost like having a best friend on your bookshelf. The biggest barrier to anyone contemplating writing down their innermost thoughts is crossing that line of inhibition and saying what you really feel about the most intimate of things, without censoring yourself (with the fear of friends or family possibly reading your journal) or for feeling stupid or embarrassed about opening up on the page and seeing your thoughts in print.
Not many people could write a diary account of their life as honestly as Sylvia Plath. It amazes me how disciplined - and with so much devotion - she was able to 'jot down' day after day the beautifully written, perfect prose in her journals; and from such an early age as well, eighteen (she actually started keeping journals in childhood but this edition covers only her adult life). In her own unmistakable voice we see 'Sivvy' (as she liked to call herself) as the young, naive teenager on the threshold of life, dreaming of the romantic love affairs she longs for; the excited college student working on a New York magazine, an experience she later used for her only novel The Bell Jar; trips to Paris and her honeymoon in Spain; married life with Ted Hughes, mother of his two children; and all the time living in the shadow of the black depression that would descend on her without any warning.
With Sylvia Plath's tragic suicide you can't help but think: what a waste of life, what a wasted talent.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 April 2000
Format: Hardcover
"The Journals of Sylvia Plath" is essential reading for those who truly desire to get to the heart of Plath's brilliant poetry. Because she is one of the innovators of "confessional" poetry (along with her friend and contemporary, Anne Sexton), the direct inspiration for Plath's verse is nothing less than her very personal life, and without a grasp of that life, it is impossible to fully appreciate the poetry. The "Journals", now in their most complete form to date, are the very best source of insight into the intricate workings of a mind of pure genius as it both processed and reacted to the numerous hurdles that life threw its way. Of course, it was precisely how she struggled with these hurdles that Plath painstakingly versified and concealed under layers and layers of metaphorical language and complicated structural schemes, the end result of which is poetry that at once screams of raw truth while actively challenging the reader to channel all of his/her faculties toward the difficult but exhilarating task of excavating this truth from the artistry. But even apart from the poetry, Plath's "Journals" is quite simply one of the most beautifully written and heartrending works of American prose of the twentieth century.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback