Author(s): Edited by Peter Steinberg & Karen Kukil
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was one of the writers that defined the course of twentieth-century poetry. Her vivid, daring and complex poetry continues to captivate new generations of readers and writers.
In the Letters, we discover the art of Plath's correspondence. Most has never before been published, and it is here presented unabridged, without revision, so that she speaks directly in her own words. Refreshingly candid and offering intimate details of her personal life, Plath is playful, too, entertaining a wide range of addressees, including family, friends and professional contacts, with inimitable wit and verve.
The letters document Plath's extraordinary literary development: the genesis of many poems, short and long fiction, and journalism. Her endeavour to publish in a variety of genres had mixed receptions, but she was never dissuaded. Through acceptance of her work, and rejection, Plath strove to stay true to her creative vision. Well-read and curious, she simultaneously offers a fascinating commentary on contemporary culture.
Leading Plath scholar Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil, editor of The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962, provide comprehensive footnotes and an extensive index informed by their meticulous research. Alongside a selection of photographs and Plath's own drawings, they masterfully contextualise what the pages disclose.
This selection of later correspondence witnesses Plath and Hughes becoming major, influential contemporary writers, as it happened. Experiences recorded include first books and other publications; teaching; committing to writing full-time; travels; making professional acquaintances; settling in England; building a family; and buying a house. Throughout, Plath's voice is completely, uniquely her own.
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright scholarship, where she met and later married Ted Hughes. She published one collection of poems in her lifetime, The Colossus (1960), and a novel, The Bell Jar (1963). Her Collected Poems, which contains her poetry written from 1956 until her death, was published in 1981 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.