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Old 02-09-2013, 08:23 AM   #1
kennyc
The Dank Side of the Moon
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The Always and Never Life of Sylvia Plath - The Atlantic

Nice article on Plath:

Quote:
The 'Always' and 'Never' Life of Sylvia Plath
By Karen Swallow Prior

"If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time," she wrote in The Bell Jar, "then I'm neurotic as hell."

In the ninth grade, I took an elective course in Abnormal Psychology. I thought I wanted to be a psychiatrist and had developed a morbid fascination with things like electroshock therapy, multiple personality disorder, and Sigmund Freud. Motivated by these interests, I checked out The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath's fictionalized autobiography, from my high school's tiny library. Alas, the book was the most darkly mature I'd ever read at that point in my life, and I was too tender an age to understand much but the work's overwhelming despair. It would be many years before I would return to Plath. When I did, my interests were, thankfully, much more sane and humane.

Now, a few days before the 50th anniversary of her death at the age of 30, I can say I appreciate and admire Plath—her life and her work—even as I mourn for her, mourn for what could have been and what should have been for her as both a woman and an artist. I've come to understand better both the pain and the pleasures of Plath's body of work, a corpus pruned to unnatural, Bonsai proportions by her own hand.

In both life and art, Plath seemingly embodied all the contradictions that plagued life for women of the mid-20th century, a time marked by a perplexing mixture of post-war pessimism and optimism, along with its phantom promise of across-the-board equality held out like a carrot on a stick, tantalizing and teasing to the point of torture for women as gifted and ambitious as Plath. Her life was a dialectic of such contradictions whose synthesis, tragically, was suicide.

Beauty and brains never existed less easily, perhaps, than in Plath. From her years as a student at Smith College to those of a Fulbright scholar at Cambridge, Plath strove for both the life of an academic and that of the debutante. Her intelligence and attractiveness—along with an outward confidence—won over fellow poet Ted Hughes, to whom she was married mere months after meeting.

Yet, while she bragged about dating hundreds of men before marrying Hughes, her ostensible sexual liberation was belied by an intense, but sadly unfulfilled, desire for Hughes' constancy in their marriage. The role Hughes' failures played in Plath's suicide is, understandably, the source of endless speculation and criticism.

...
http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/arc...-plath/272707/
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:54 PM   #2
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dangerous when cornered
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Very nice article. I enjoyed it. Thanks for posting it, Kenny!
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:41 PM   #3
kennyc
The Dank Side of the Moon
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Yer welcome. I love here 'Daddy' poem and many others...
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