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"Love set you going," she wrote, "like a fat gold watch.",
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This review is from: Ariel: The Restored Edition: A Facsimile of Plath's Manuscript, Reinstating Her Original Selection and Arrangement (Hardcover)
Now at long last, we get the "Ariel" we deserve. Plath's admirers have been waiting a long time, since at least the early 1980s when Ted Hughes first revealed that he had changed the order of the poems in his wife's final manuscript. He had added some poems--the final, freezingly depressing ones--and then re-arranaged the bulk of the book to leave an impression of a woman gone over the brink into a chilling fugue state. Now Frieda Hughes, Plath's daughter, 2 when her mother killed herself, has performed a ritual act of atonement to her mother's memory, and given us the original, "happy" (relatively speaking) ARIEL which we have never been able to see.
At $24,95, the book's a little expensive, but it feels as though money had been spent on its planning and execution, so you don't feel rooked. In one section, the gray paper on which the facsimile materials are printed is easy on the eyes, aiding the eye as it struggles with Plath's numerous emendations. We get the notes Plath wrote for her own use when she had to do that reading at the BBC towards the end, the more-British-than-thou reading we have grown to love and hate at the same time. Frieda Hughes contributes an interesting and contextualizing introduction in which she seeks to reconcile the differing viewpoints of her mother and father--a challenging task, but she's up to it. The book ends up with four of the bee-keeping poems--and another in the appendix, "The Swarm," which Sylvia kept changing her mind about including. Should she leave it in? Take it out? The title is in brackets. Thus the book ends with a hopeful note, with the freshness of Devon instead of the bleak London winter. It ends, pleasantly enough, with the words, "They taste the spring."