student papers and essays
Newspaper and Magazine Articles
- Eileen Aird: 'Poem for a Birthday' to 'Three Women': Development in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath
from "Critical Quarterly", Vol. 21, No. 4, 1979, pp. 63-72.
- Pamela J. Annas: The Self in the World: The Social Context of Sylvia Plath's Late Poems
from "Women's Studies", Vol. 7, Nos. 1-2, 1980, pp. 171-83.
- Fred Beake: Plathetic Fallacies
This essay discusses the influence other writers like Roethke or Williams may have had on Plath's poetry, it discusses her contemporaries and looks at her poetry, arguing that her poems were not personal in a strict sense. Rather, Plath used personae and masks and transformed personal experience into something of more general interest.
This article is discussed by Anne Skea, a Ted Hughes specialist, in her Consideration of Fred Beake's 'Plathectic Fallacies'.
- Diane S. Bonds: The Separative Self in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar
from "Women's Studies", Vol. 18, No. 1, May, 1990, pp. 49-64.
In this essay, Bonds reconsiders feminist critical analysis of The Bell Jar, drawing attention to Esther Greenwood's recovery in the novel. According to Bonds, Esther fails to establish an autonomous, or separative, self, and ultimately resorts to "culturally-ingrained stereotypes of women."
- Jeannine Dobbs: 'Viciousness in the Kitchen': Sylvia Plath's Domestic Poetry
from "Modern Language Studies", Vol. 7, No. 2, 1977, pp. 11-25.
In this essay, Dobbs examines allusions to marriage and motherhood in Plath's poetry. According to Dobbs, the hostile and often violent imagery in such pieces reflects Plath's strong resistance to the prospect of domestic entrapment as a wife and mother.
- Jack Folsom: Death and Rebirth in Sylvia Plath's Berck-Plage
from "Journal of Modern Literature", XVII:4 (1991), pp. 521-535. copyright 1994 Temple University
- William Freedman: The Monster in Plath's 'Mirror'
from "Papers on Language and Literature", Vol. 108, No. 5, October, 1993, pp. 152-69.
In this essay, Freedman discusses Plath's use of the mirror as a symbol of female passivity, subjugation, and Plath's own conflicted self-identity caused by social pressure to reconcile the competing obligations of artistic and domestic life.]
- Ted Hughes: On Sylvia Plath
from "Raritan", Vol. 14, No. 2, Fall, 1994, pp. 1-10.
In this essay, Hughes comments on Plath's struggle to transcribe her private anguish into the fiction of The Bell Jar. According to Hughes, Plath's difficulty stemmed from her effort to produce a novel with both mythic aspirations and cathartic ritual based in reality.
- Brita Lindberg-Seyersted: Sylvia Plath's Psychic Landscapes
from "English Studies", Vol. 71, No. 6, December, 1990, pp. 509-22.
In this essay, Lindberg-Seyersted examines the development of Plath's poetry through analysis of major themes and imagery found in her description of landscapes, seascapes, and the natural world.
- Wendy Martin: 'God's Lioness'--Sylvia Plath, Her Prose and Poetry
from "Women's Studies", Vol. 1, 1973, pp. 191-8.
n this essay, Martin provides both a brief overview of The Bell Jar and examples of Plath's poetry to illustrate the autobiographic and social context of her work. Challenging the "negative and even hostile judgment of Plath's politics" levelled by some critics, Martin extols Plath's talent and influence as "one of the leading American women poets since Emily Dickinson."
- Joyce Carol Oates: The Death Throes of Romanticism: The Poems of Sylvia Plath
- Arthur Oberg: Sylvia Plath: 'Love, Love, My Season'
from "Modern American Lyric: Lowell, Berryman, Creeley, and Plath", Rutgers University Press, 1978, pp. 127-73
- Marjorie Perloff: Sylvia Plath's 'Collected Poems': A Review-Essay
from "Resources for American Literary Study", Vol. XI, No. 2, Autumn, 1981, pp. 304-13.
- Marjorie G. Perloff: 'A Ritual for Being Born Twice': Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar
from "Contemporary Literature", Vol. 13, No. 4, Autumn, 1972, pp. 507-22.
- Al Strangeways: 'The Boot in the Face': The Problem of the Holocaust in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath
from "Contemporary Literature", Vol. XXXVII, No. 3, Fall, 1996, pp. 370-90.
In this essay, Strangeways examines Plath's references to the Holocaust in light of her preoccupation with personal history and myth, female victimization, and the specter of nuclear war. Strangeways concludes that Plath does not simply reduce the atrocity of the Holocaust to metaphor, but draws attention to the ambiguous and potentially dangerous interrelationship between "myth, history, and poetry in the post-Holocaust world."
- M. D. Uroff: Sylvia Plath and Confessional Poetry: A Reconsideration
from "Iowa Review", Vol. 8, No. 1, 1977, pp. 104-15.
In this essay, Uroff contrasts Plath's poetic voice with the confessional mode developed by American poet Robert Lowell. Uroff contends that Plath, unlike Lowell, incorporates abstracted autobiographic detail in her poetry only to amplify or dramatize feelings of pain and sorrow rather than to induce actual self-revelation.
- Linda Wagner: Plath's 'Ariel': 'Auspicious Gales'
from "Concerning Poetry", Vol. 10, No. 2, 1977, pp. 5-7.
In this essay, Wagner draws attention to the complexity of Plath's poetry in Ariel which, as the critic notes, invokes archetypal imagery and the paradoxical portrayal of suffering as survival to create depth of feeling and insight.
- Linda Wagner: Plath's The Bell Jar as Female 'Bildungsroman'
from "Women's Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal", Vol. 12, Nos. 1-6, 1986, pp. 55-68.
- Modern American Poetry: Sylvia Plath biographical and critical articles (on Ariel, Daddy, Tulips, Lady Lazarus, the Bee poems and other poems), "A Multimedia Companion to Anthology of Modern American Poetry" (Recommended Link!)
student papers and essays
- Charlotte Crofts: "The Peanut Crunching Crowd" in the Work of Sylvia Plath: Holocaust as Spectacle?
Department of English and American Studies of the University of Manchester.
This paper analyses and justifies Plath's use of holocaust images in her poetry and concentrates on two poems: The Thin People and Lady Lazarus
- Kristen D'Elia: Analyzing Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar through a Feminist Lens
by an American highschool student, 2003. The paper looks at The Bell Jar from a feminist point of view.
- Maria Theresa Ib: Mind Over Myth?: The Divided Self in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath
A very good and very well researched paper on the image of the double in Plath's poetry. Taking its point of departure in the academic research she conducted for her undergraduate thesis, The Magic Mirror: A Study of the Double in Two of Dostoevsky’s Novels, this paper explores the theme of the divided self in the poetry of Sylvia Plath. It discusses the argument put forth by Judith Kroll in her study, Chapters in a Mythology: The Poetry of Sylvia Plath, that Plath’s use of this theme is based not on mental illness or psychoanalysis, but rather on folk-tale, literature and myth. In other words, that the image of the divided self which Plath employs in her poetry may be seen as “the mythical archetype known as the Doppelgänger.
- Michelle Kinsey-Clinton: The Willing Domesticity of Sylvia Plath: A Rebuttal of the "Feminist" Label
a paper by a Java programmer with an interest in literature and the arts.
She says: Sylvia Plath has been posthumously categorized and pigeonholed to suicidal little housewife bits, and in this paper I take exception with those who would brand Plath a 'feminist' author.
- Malcolm Alcoff: Sylvia the Vampire Slayer
an essay exploring the meaning of the vampire metaphor in Daddy, by an English major from Bloomsburg University, 1998.
- An essay regarding the themes of death in the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton
Newspaper and Magazine Articles
- Paris Review: An Interview with Ted Hughes from Paris Review, Spring 1995
This is an excerpt from an interview with Ted Hughes, he speaks about Sylvia Plath and how they met, how she worked and used her journals, why he changed the order of the Ariel poems. It is one of the few occasions where he provides some real insight.
Thanks to Claas Kazzer for sending me this interview
- The Guardian: How black magic killed Sylvia Plath
From The Guardian: an edited extract from Al Alvarez's autobiography Where Did It All Go Right?, published by Richard Cohen Books, "Ted Hughes' dabbling in the occult enabled his wife to write some of her greatest works. But, says Al Alvarez, ex-poetry editor of the Observer and a friend of the doomed couple, inspiration came at a terrible cost"
- New York Times: More on Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath
From the Archives of the New York Times, you need to register but it's free.
Includes reviews of their books, excerpts from Alvarez' book on suicide "The Savage God", news and profiles of Sylvia Plath and Ted hughes dating back to the 70s.
- The Times:
The Times now requires users to register and pay for the archive. There are a number of articles on Plath.
- The real Sylvia Plath - a long review of the unexpurgated journals of SP, by Kate Moses from Salon.com
- a review of Winter Trees by Joyce Carol Oates.
- recent newspaper articles are listed at the wonderful Sylvia Plath Forum.