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Sylvia Plath: A Biography (Vermilion Books) Paperback – September 15, 1988

4.3 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Vermilion Books
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (September 15, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312023251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312023256
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,283,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Linda Wagner-Martin’s biography of Sylva Plath was published in 1987, many years before the new wave of Plath biographies. This is not the book for Plath aficionados who already know a great deal about Plath’s life and work. In fact, this biography is rather superficial; it doesn’t delve into the intricacies of Plath’s life and death. There are many other good biographies of Plath that focus on very specific moments in her life (Elizabeth Winder’s “Pain, Parties, Work” is a great chronicle of Plath’s Mademoiselle summer in New York City, for example, and Andrew Wilson’s “Mad Girl's Love Song” focuses exclusively on Plath’s life before Ted Hughes). Having read these books, I found myself wanting more. I found myself filling in the blanks with information I already knew. Still, I enjoyed the way Wagner-Martin incorporated the poems into this biography, explaining when and why they were written. Also, there were a few pages that I found particularly useful for planning a coming-of-age unit for my English class: Wagner-Martin discusses Salinger’s inspiration on Plath, and the similarities between Holden Caulfield and Esther Greenwood. Overall, this is not my favorite Plath biography, but it is an interesting (if shallow) read about a fascinating woman.
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Format: Paperback
So far, this is one of the clearest, and easiest to read biographies of one of the finest (and most intriguing) female poets of the 20th century. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to know more about Sylvia Plath, but doesn't feel like sorting through endless fluff and interpretations of her work. This book simply describes the life of a tortured woman writer. Good job, great reading!
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Format: Paperback
I am a recent follower in Sylvia Plath's work and I found that this biography read like a fiction novel, which I think that more biographical writers should do. It maintained this while being serious and formal about Sylvia's pain and her re-occuring issues with her husband. This book is highly recommended to anyone wanted to find out more about Sylvia's life from an unbiased point of view.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read Plath's The Bell Jar and also some of her Journals. this biography does a fairly good job of presenting Plath's true nature. The author also covers a little of her relationship with Myron Lotz, when they were college students.Lotz was from my hometown. In fact, his home was but a block away from mine, so I enjoyed this part of the book. In the Journal, Plath refers to Lotz's parents as "barbarians"......she was somewhat of an "eastern snob."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading this book. I wish I had read it many years ago, sometime after I had read The Bell Jar in high school, it would have filled in the blanks, the unanswered questions, and the mysteries that surrounded Sylvia Plath when I was young and in such darkness myself. The background noise - which is her life, explains much. Though this book has answered many questions about Sylvia, it has also propelled me forward to ask more, like understanding her poetry at a deeper level. Wagner-Martin has sparked more interest about Plath for me into a new channel of discovery about other topics as well. And Whether she set out to do it or not, Wagner-Martin, with her unbiased tone, has done justice for Plath in so many ways.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read ‘The Bell Jar’ as it was on my uni reading list, and decided I wanted to investigate Plath’s own life a bit further. This is one of the recommended reads for students who are studying Plath, and I can see why. It’s concise, informative and most of all it makes the subject matter (interesting already) intensely readable.
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By A Customer on October 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
I had the pleasure of taking an American Women Authors class taught by Linda Wagner-Martin at UNC Chapel Hill, and let me tell you, she really knows her stuff about Plath. She fascinated us with her tales of the process of writing this book. For a fresh perspective on the life and work of Sylvia Plath, this is a good one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sylvia Plath and I were in college at the same time...that said, we did not have anything else in common that I could decipher from her Biography. At times she seemed like a spoiled brat and acting as though the world owed her something. Is this how kids who suffer the loss of a parent early in life? Other times she seemed independent and assertive. For sure she was a tortured individual...chronic depression ruled her life most of the time. The psychiatric medicine that is available today was not there for her in the 60"s. Psychiatric care is much improved and the individual has to take initiate to receive it or friend or family needs to step in for intervention. Her mother did not appear to take the illness seriously and neither did her husband.

THE BELL JAR was a wonderful read when I was young...I must read it again since I know now I missed much without knowing what this woman went through in her personal life that put pen to paper and wrote this haunting book. I did not care for Plath's poetry and no wonder..hr symbolism was so depressing at times I did not understand it. Interested in her life and outcome of her horrendous life has lead me to read this book and now I will work at rediscovering Sylvia Plath. I always thought she was an intellectual snob due to her education...her parent's education and her desire to find an intelligent man equal to her standards. The man hunt seemed paramount in her life. I do not remember this being the main reason for living for women in that time period. I must give Sylvia Plath another chance.

The recommendation of this book comes to healthy women...perhaps it is too depressive (and does not show a survivor but a victim) for many. The book came from Amazon downloaded onto my Kindle. The author did a superb job!!
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