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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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As if these physical privations weren't enough, Plath was out in the cold in another sense--her husband, Ted Hughes, had left her for another woman earlier that year. Despite all this (or perhaps because of it), the Ariel poems dazzle with their lyricism, their surprising and vivid imagery, and their wit. Rather than confining herself to her bleak surroundings, Plath draws from a wide array of experience. In "Berck-Plage," for instance, clouds are "electrifyingly-coloured sherbets, scooped from the freeze." In "The Night Dances," the poet stands crib-side, reveling in her son's own brand of do-si-do: "Such pure leaps and spirals--Surely they travel / The world forever, I shall not entirely / Sit emptied of beauties, the gift / Of your small breath..."
Though at times they present the reader with hopelessness laid bare, these poems also teem with the brightest shards of a life, confounding those who merely look for the words of a gloomy, dispassionate suicide. Plath rose each morning in the final months of her life to "that still blue, almost eternal hour before the baby's cry" and left us these words like "axes/After whose stroke the wood rings..." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
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."
Plath eventually ends her life by commiting suicide in a dramatic way: sticking her head in an oven and leaving it there. It was her third suicide attempt, and the other two were pretty dramatic as well. Plath addresses these suicide attempts, and how it felt to survive the other two, in one of her most famous poems from Ariel, "Lady Lazarus": "I have done it again./ One year in every ten/ I manage it-/ A sort of walking miracle/ my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade.../ And I a smiling woman/ am only thirty./ And like the cat I have nine times to die./ This is Number Three./ What a trash/ To annihilate each decade.../ Dying Is an art,/ like everything else/I do it exceptionally well./ Herr God, Herr Lucifer Beware/ Beware./ Out of the ash/ I rise with my red hair/ And I eat men like air."
The Nazi theme continues in Plath's poem "Daddy", in which she accuses her father of being similar to Hitler, and compares her husband to her father as well, writing about how they both had negative influences in her life. "I have always been sacred of you,/ With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo./ And your neat mustache/ And your Aryan eye, bright blue.Read more ›
It is a pity that Sylvia Plath is so underestimated--most people I know have never heard of her, and those who have dismiss her as an angry feminist who committed suicide. It is a sacrilege to sum up her person so: Plath is one of the most important poets of our century, and Ariel her most important work.
In it one can find the famous poems "Daddy", in which Plath shakes loose her restraints on her resentment for her father, who died when she was young: "At twenty I tried to die/ And get back, back, back to you... But they pulled me out of the sack / And they stuck me together with glue." ; "Lady Lazarus", a commentary of death and disappointment, which reflects her situation with terrible lyricism; and "Fever 103°", which, to me, is almost mocking; and "Ariel", after which the collection is named.
Ariel is fascinating--her skill with words, her wit, her self-control (for she obviously reigns herself in from being too emotional, too confessional, and yet one feels the pain and torment all the same, perhaps even more sharply), her ability to find Just the Right Words, is vivid and brilliant. When I finished Ariel, I was left with a feeling of vulnerability, pain, and enlightenment, as though I had seen what I had been missing all along and felt the absence of self-delusion deeply.
I have always been disturbed by the idea that Plath's creative energy seemed to stream from the destructive void that she felt inside of her soul and shared with the world, with skill and admirable lyricism... and yet I think that this is what made her such a *different*, unique poet. "Dying / Is an art, like everything else." She did it exceptionally well. -- K. Rivera
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Plath had her own way of expressing herself. She had her own rules when it came to writing poetry. Some is hard to figure out, but do read again, then again, and maybe once more,... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is a collection of the last poems Sylvia Plath wrote before committing suicide. She left this collection n her desk, in a binder when she died. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kimberly
Obviously this appeals more to women but what writing. It's fire frozen and glistening.Published 2 months ago by Peter K. Eriksson
I love the style of this book, the cover art hooked me, and the annotations put things in perspective. Highly recommended for any Plath/poetry fan.Published 3 months ago by Joan H
I'm a huge Plath fan. I really appreciated getting the extra poems that were removed from the previously published edition- but I could do without the rest of the extras. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mark
I devoured this collection. Lady Lazarus was incredibly vidid that it played in my mind long after I read the last sentence. Read morePublished 3 months ago by nancy Reaume