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Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Tedby Andrew Wilson
Synopses & Reviews
andlt;Bandgt;A new biography of Sylvia Plath, a literary icon who continues to haunt, fascinate, and enthrall even now, fifty years after her deathandlt;/Bandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;On February 25 , 1956, andlt;/Bandgt;twenty-three-year-old Sylvia Plath walked into a party and immediately spotted Ted Hughes. This encounterand#8212;now one of the most famous in all of literary historyand#8212;was recorded by Plath in her journal, where she described Hughes as a and#8220;big, dark, hunky boy.and#8221; Sylvia viewed Ted as something of a colossus, and to this day his enormous shadow has obscured her life and work. The sensational aspects of the Plath-Hughes relationship have dominated the cultural landscape to such an extent that their story has taken on the resonance of a modern myth. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Before she met Ted, Plath had lived a complex, creative, and disturbing life. Her father had died when she was only eight; she had gone out with literally hundreds of men, had been unofficially engaged, had tried to commit suicide, and had written more than two hundred poems. andlt;Iandgt;Mad Girland#8217;s Love Song andlt;/Iandgt;chronicles these early years, traces the sources of her mental instability, and examines how a range of personal, economic, and societal factorsand#8212;the real disquieting musesand#8212; conspired against her. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Drawing on exclusive interviews with friends and lovers who have never spoken openly about Plath before and using previously unavailable archives and papers, this is the first book to focus on the early life of the twentieth centuryand#8217;s most popular and enduring female poet. andlt;Iandgt;Mad Girland#8217;s Love Song andlt;/Iandgt;reclaims Sylvia Plath from the tangle of emotions associated with her relationship with Ted Hughes and reveals the origins of her unsettled and unsettling voice.
"To curtail fears that this latest Plath biography forges already blatant connections between her work and her torrid inner life or her relationship with Ted Hughes, be assured, it is something altogether new. Wilson (Beautiful Shadow) fulfills his title's promise, divulging her impressive string of romances, love-hate relationship with her mother, and 'vampiric' interactions with those close to her, among other atypical and unconventional issues. While the significance of some seemingly frivolous details may appear momentous, it's refreshing that Wilson does not make Plath's suicide his focus, just as he examines her earlier, formative publications in magazines such Seventeen, Mademoiselle, and Ladies Home Journal as often — if not more so — as he does her better known work. This is a rare biography whose narrative style is artful enough that its appeal will range from those who're utterly unfamiliar with Plath's work to those who've inundated themselves in it. Wilson incorporates previously unpublished correspondence, interviews, and creative work to bring to life a rarely illuminated time within a great mind. As he follows Plath in her search for identity and struggle with a threatening darkness, he casts her not as he would have her, but as she was. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander (UK) (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From an award-winning author comes a groundbreaking biography of Sylvia Plath, focusing on her childhood, adolescence, and early years of writing, creating a new portrait of this iconic yet still mysterious literary legend.
On February 25, 1956, twenty-three-year-old Sylvia Plath walked into a party and immediately spotted Ted Hughes. This encounter—now one of the most famous in all literary history—was recorded by Plath in her journal, where she described Hughes as a “big, dark, hunky boy.” After Plath’s suicide in February 1963, Hughes became Plath’s literary executor, the guardian of her writings, and, in effect responsible for how she was perceived. But Hughes did not think much of Plath’s prose writing, and his determination to market her later poetry—poetry written after she had begun her relationship with him—as the crowning glory of her career.
Drawing on exclusive interviews with friends and lovers who have never spoken openly about Plath before and using previously unavailable archives and papers, this is the first book to focus on the early life of the twentieth century’s most popular and enduring female poet. Mad Girl’s Love Song reclaims Sylvia Plath from the tangle of emotions associated with her relationship with Ted Hughes and reveals the origins of her unsettled and unsettling voice, a voice that, fifty years after her death continues to haunt and enthrall.
About the Author
Andrew Wilson is the author of Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith; Harold Robbins: The Man Who Invented Sex; and the novel The Lying Tongue. He has written for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and the Daily Mail. He lives in London.
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