The Other Sylvia Plath

By Tracy Brain
March 2001
Pearson Education / Longman
ISBN: 058232730X
248 pages
$57.50 Paper original

Despite being widely studied on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses the writing of Sylvia Plath has been relatively neglected in relation to the attention given to her life and what drove her to suicide.

Tracy Brain aims to remedy this by introducing completely new approaches to Plath's writing, taking the studies away from the familiar concentration to reveal that Plath as a writer was concerned with a much wider range of important cultural and political topics.

Unlike most of the existing literary criticism it shifts the focus away from biographical readings and encompasses the full range of Plath's poetry, prose, journals and letters using a variety of critical methods.


1. THE OUTLINE OF THE WORLD BECOMES CLEAR Packaging Sylvia Plath Where is Sylvia Plath? The Plath Archives Dearly Beloved
2. STRADDLING THE ATLANTIC Your Puddle-Jumping Daughter Plath our Compatriot Where are We? Alienation and Belonging in the Bee Poems The Foreigner Within
3. PLATH'S ENVIRONMENTALISM Background Prose Circulating Venom The Complications of Masculinity Do You Do No Harm?
4. THE ORIGINS OF THE BELL JAR Bronte, Woolf and Plath A Comparison The Legacy Woolf and The Bell Jar Rethinking Buddy Willard The Misunderstood Mother and The Bell Jar Manuscripts Sylvia Plath's Villette
5. A WAY OF GETTING THE POEMS The Critics on Hughes and Plath Hughes's story The reciprocity of Influence between Plath and Hughes The Question of the Confessional Before Birthday Letters Textual Relationships and Poetic Conversations Bleeding Through the Page The Future

• Focuses on the writings of Sylvia Plath to reveal her cultural and political concerns - a thoroughly new approach away from biographical readings of her work.
• New close readings of rarely discussed stories and poems.
• Examines unpublished letters, hand-written drafts and annotated copies of influential books.

"a valuable, important book...painstaking and lucid"

'I would certainly want to use it as a textbook.'

'I wolfed it down in one rapid reading, which will be followed by numerous
intensive close re-readings. It is bound to be immensely helpful...'

'I am grateful for the authoritative information about manuscript evidence.'

' ...what prompted this letter, aside from the surge of admiration your book
produced in me...'

' ...a valuable, important book--so painstaking and lucid about issues
fundamental to critical evaluation of these poets.''
['poets' here refers to Plath and Hughes]

'My thanks for all your hard work, and my gratitude for your critical acumen.'

Diane Ward Middlebrook, Professor of English, Stanford University.

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