The Bell Jar is a classic of American literature, with over two million copies sold in this country. This extraordinary work chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, successful - but slowly going under, and maybe for the last time. Step by careful step, Sylvia Plath takes us with Esther through a painful month in New York as a contest-winning junior editor on a magazine, her increasingly strained relationships with her mother and the boy she dated in college, and eventually, devastatingly, into the madness itself. The reader is drawn into her breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is rare in any novel. It points to the fact that The Bell Jar is a largely autobiographical work about Plath's own summer of 1953, when she was a guest editor at Mademoiselle and went through a breakdown. It reveals so much about the sources of Sylvia Plath's own tragedy that its publication was considered a landmark in literature. This special twenty-fifth anniversary edition includes a new foreword by Frances McCullough, who was the Harper & Row editor for the original edition, about the untold story of The Bell Jar's first American publication.
Sylvia Plath (1932-63) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright fellowship, 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. Other posthumous publications include Ariel, her landmark publication, Crossing the Water, Winter Trees, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams and The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962.
I was hooked from the first page on. Plath's writing is poetically enchanting. The effect of mental displacement and objectification is shown well through metafictional MC Esther.I was hooked from the first page on. Plath's writing is poetically enchanting. The effect of mental displacement and objectification is shown well through metafictional MC Esther.
Ein schnell lesbarer, ausgesprochen wichtiger Roman, der natürlich sehr beklemmend wirkt, aber gerade damit unheimlich wichtige Themen aufgreift. Neben den Schwierigkeiten der weiblichen Selbstfindung nimmt das Thema Depression einen Großteil der Geschichte ein - und die Autorin beleuchtet die Zustände der damaligen Zeit mit schockierender Genauigkeit. Sehr bewegend.
I'm on the fence about this one. I truly don't know what I'm feeling right now, after finishing this book.
It's just that I didn't connect with any of the characters. Everyone except Esther was not developed and complex at all. I know that it fits the story that...I'm on the fence about this one. I truly don't know what I'm feeling right now, after finishing this book.
It's just that I didn't connect with any of the characters. Everyone except Esther was not developed and complex at all. I know that it fits the story that the characters are shallow, it still bothered me, though.
I myself do not know how it is like to be depressed so I can only judge with my very limited experience that Esther's descent into depression was portrayed accurately.
This book was originally published in 1963 and for its time period it was quite a progressive novel: a female protagonist who rejects the gender roles of the 1950s put upon her. Who does not just want to be a baby-popping housewife. In that way I could relate to Esther very easily.
While I could not really appreciate Esther's story I would still recommend this book.