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Ariel: The Restored Edition: A Facsimile of Plath's Manuscript, Reinstating Her Original Selection and Arrangement (Modern Classics) Paperback – October 25, 2005
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From the Back Cover
Sylvia Plath's famous collection, as she intended it.
When Sylvia Plath died, she not only left behind a prolific life but also her unpublished literary masterpiece, Ariel. When her husband, Ted Hughes, first brought this collection to life, it garnered worldwide acclaim, though it wasn't the draft Sylvia had wanted her readers to see. This facsimile edition restores, for the first time, Plath's original manuscript -- including handwritten notes -- and her own selection and arrangement of poems. This edition also includes in facsimile the complete working drafts of her poem "Ariel," which provide a rare glimpse into the creative process of a beloved writer. This publication introduces a truer version of Plath's works, and will no doubt alter her legacy forever.
This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
About the Author
Sylvia Plath was born in 1932 in Massachusetts. Her books include the poetry collections The Colossus, Crossing the Water, Winter Trees, Ariel, and Collected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize. A complete and uncut facsimile edition of Ariel was published in 2004 with her original selection and arrangement of poems. She was married to the poet Ted Hughes, with whom she had a daughter, Frieda, and a son, Nicholas. She died in London in 1963.
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I paid a buck fifty for the paperback "Revised" edition (arranged by Plath's daughter Frieda in an attempt to be more faithful to her mother's arrangement, in contrast to the arrangement by Frieda's father, Ted Hughes), but this is a million dollar book.
The poetry is rich in images, with ominous visions of Nazis and death sharing the pages with bees, puking babies, and other fixtures of domesticity. Plath is playful with language, but sharp and relentless in her deconstruction of the world around her. She does not give any illusion of her life as a mother and wife being a fairy tale ending; she readily admits that suicide is on her mind. So thickly layered are each of her poems, I will gladly reread them all a dozen more times to find more juicy double meanings and commentary tucked away in the lines.
Some of my personal favorite poems were:
Lesbos -- The kitchen is not a holy ground to Sylvia. She enjoys zero time spent with another woman, possibly the mistress who took her husband away, whose grating attitude makes idle chit-chat a living hell.
The Applicant -- "First, are you our sort of person?//Do you wear//A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,//A brace or a Hook,//Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch" This poem speaks for itself.
Daddy -- Among the most well-known poems from this collection, it devilishly mixes childlike word play with black images of fascism, "The boot in the face, the brute//Brute heart of a brute like you". It reads like a scathing, adult version of Dr. Seuss. I love it.
Just get it already!
My final comments:
If you are going to buy Ariel, never buy the one that says "Sylvia Plath (Author), Ted Hughes (Editor)" or whatever it says that involves Ted Hughes. All I can say is avoid anything that has his name along with Sylvia Plath's, so if you want her journal for example, buy the one that I luckily noticed before I bought the one Ted Hughes edited, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. Sylvia Plath is an amazing poet, and if you, for example, are new to her poetry, Ariel: The Restored Edition is the book to buy. I also recommend Anne Sexton, and Robert Lowell if you like the confessionals.