American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath
On the fiftieth anniversary of her death, a startling new vision of Plath—the first to draw from the recently-opened Ted Hughes archiveThe life and work of Sylvia Plath has taken on the proportions of myth. Educated at Smith, she had an epically conflict-filled relationship with her mother,... show more
On the fiftieth anniversary of her death, a startling new vision of Plath—the first to draw from the recently-opened Ted Hughes archiveThe life and work of Sylvia Plath has taken on the proportions of myth. Educated at Smith, she had an epically conflict-filled relationship with her mother, Aurelia. She then married the poet Ted Hughes and plunged into the sturm and drang of married life in the full glare of the world of English and American letters. Her poems were fought over, rejected, accepted and, ultimately, embraced by readers everywhere. Dead at thirty, she committed suicide by putting her head in an oven while her children slept. Her poetry collection titled Ariel became a modern classic. Her novel The Bell Jar has a fixed place on student reading lists. American Isis will be the first Plath bio benefitting from the new Ted Hughes archive at the British Library which includes forty one letters between Plath and Hughes as well as a host of unpublished papers. The Sylvia Plath Carl Rollyson brings to us in American Isis is no shrinking Violet overshadowed by Ted Hughes, she is a modern day Isis, a powerful force that embraced high and low culture to establish herself in the literary firmament.
Publish date: January 29th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages no: 336
Edition language: English
Let me get my quibbles out of the way first, because I want to focus on the strengths of this biography. I disagree strongly with Rollyson's decision to refer to Plath by what were apparently childhood nicknames early on in this biography. Throughout the book, he quietly switches between "Sylvia," "...
This book is boring and doesn't offer any new insights into SP's life. The author has a nasty habit of comparing Plath to other women (Marilyn Monroe, Susan Sontag) in ways that seem random until you realize he wrote biographies on them, too. Knowing that SP shared superficial similarities to two wo...
I can only imagine why a book with this title was remaindered. That aside, the tedious comparisons between Sylvia Plath and Marilyn Monroe really just helped pull this biography in a million directions, in addition to a half hearted analysis of all the biographies of Plath after her death. Either ma...