A major literary event--the complete, uncensored journals of Sylvia Plath, published in their entirety for the first time. Sylvia Plath's journals were originally published in 1982 in a heavily abridged version authorized by Plath's husband, Ted Hughes. This new edition is an exact and complete transcription of the diaries Plath kept during the last twelve years of her life. Sixty percent of the book is material that has never before been made public, more fully revealing the intensity of the poet's personal and literary struggles, and providing fresh insight into both her frequent desperation and the bravery with which she faced down her demons. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath is essential reading for all who have been moved and fascinated by Plath's life and work.… (more)
Sylvia seems to have been well aware of her faults and was, undoubtedly her own hardest critic. I can still appreciate how
Journals and diaries are difficult because, if one notes down one's thoughts almost without review, they can seem harsh to the reader who has time to reflect. Sylvia is, almost without exception, hard on the people she meets. Ted seems to be the only one to consistently get the benefit of the doubt and, even there, he is sometimes bemused by an air of disapproval for which he has no explanation. Oft times, it seems Sylvia doesn't either. It definitely was not a good idea for Sylvia to live with a successful poet. She believed that Ted's lead in the writing stakes would prevent competition but, it is apparent that Sylvia did take her rejections very personally.
This is a book which asks more questions than it answers and I must soon try a biography of Sylvia to see whether someone else's perspective gives a better light on the lady's history, which is rarely mentioned in this book.
Incredibly vast and intricate, even her ordinary accounts of days are almost as eloquent and forceful as her poetry.
Plath's journals are an interesting read-- she struggled so much with wanting and despairing of the conventional role for women of her time. She reminded me so much of Virginia Woolf-- I wondered how both of these ladies would have fared in a times where a woman's sexuality does not need to be repressed.
I found the journals reminded me how brilliant Plath was, even as an 18-year-old college freshman. She write a lot about the process of writing in them, which drags a bit after a while, but overall, these journals were an interesting read.
These journals contain what Plath wrote from 1950 to 1962. As
Plath was seldom vulgar in her journals. Neither does she seem anything other than honest.
What she writes on love is intricate and vulnerable, especially when dating, from 1950 to the moment when she meets Hughes and later marries him.
Their togetherness and love seems so strong, especially her devotion to him, which does sadly, not in the slightest, explain most of her poems (e.g. "The Jailor") in the unabridged version of "Ariel", her last batch of poems, previously abridged by Hughes.
This is genuinely a real experience and is recommendable to everybody. It is little wonder that Plath liked J.D. Salinger, adored Virginia Woolf and loved James Joyce. Read this and do yourself a favour.
I've cobbled up samples from the book here.