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Thursday 15 March 2012

Historical Women - Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath, born 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts was a master writer, writing hundreds of critically acclaimed poems in her time. She attended Smith College in 1950 and was later awarded a position as guest editor at Mademoiselle magazine in New York. However the position was not what she had hoped it to be and after a rejection from Harvard University, she began a battle with depression that marked the rest of her life.

The time she spent in New York was key to her novel The Bell Jar and her 1953 suicide attempt went on to influence much of poetry. She was accepted into Newnham College, Cambridge and continued to write poetry and publishing her work in the student newspaper. In 1956, when on business to Cambridge, England she met fellow poet Ted Hughes and quickly fell in love, marrying a few months later.

From this point onwards Plath began to consider herself a serious writer and drew from deeply personal emotions and experiences in her writing and in 1960 published her first collection of poems titled ‘The Colossus’. After giving birth to her two children, Plath discovered Hughes had been having an affair and crashed her car in what would later be described as another suicide attempt.

The pair separated and Plath took a house in London with her two daughters and in 1962 wrote the poems that are now considered seminal to her posthumous fame. The winter of 1962 was considered the coldest in one hundred years and Plath sunk into depression once again, taking her own life in February 1963.

‘Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.’
-Extract from ‘Lady Lazarus’ by Sylvia Plath

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