The Bell Jar (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


A fantastic peak into the early life of the poet Sylvia Plath, one of the most courageous women I unfortunately never had the pleasure of meeting. The Bell Jar's uncanny resemblance to Plath's real life bought her some trouble with the friends and family who recognized their fictionalized counterparts (mostly because they weren't informed of their inclusion in this particular project), which makes this even more of a heartbreaking story. Esther Greenwood mirrors Plath's talent and ambition... as well as her deeply-rooted depression, hospitalization, and shock therapy. One of the Plath's greatest strengths is her ability to effectively share her inner confusion without losing our attention. Such a GREAT read from a phenomenal woman. — Jess Hanlon

An eerie story of a girls seemingly unstoppable decent into madness. What begins as a fluid poetic coming of age story turns into a jagged and misshaped series of events as the character becomes more and more ill, then is back to fluidity as she resurfaces. Comparing her feeling of disconnect to being under a bell jar, the story gives a voice to those who have struggled with their mental health. Honest and heartbreaking look at the country's mid-century mental illness struggle. — Molly Halpin

Description


A realistic and emotional novel about a woman battling mental illness and societal pressures written by the iconic American writer Sylvia Plath.

“It is this perfectly wrought prose and the freshness of Plath’s voice in The Bell Jar that make this book enduring in its appeal.” — USA Today

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: young, brilliant, beautiful, and enormously talented, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that Esther’s neurosis becomes completely understandable and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such thorough exploration of the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche - and the profound collective loneliness that modern society has yet to find a solution for - is an extraordinary accomplishment, and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.

This P.S. edition features extra 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.

Praise For…


“It is this perfectly wrought prose and the freshness of Plath’s voice in The Bell Jar that make this book enduring in its appeal and make it as meaningful . . . as it was 25 years ago.”
USA Today

“Esther Greenwood’s account of her years in the bell jar is as clear and readable as it is witty and disturbing. . . . [This] is not a potboiler, nor a series of ungrateful caricatures: it is literature.”
New York Times

“The first-person narrative fixes us there, in the doctor’s office, in the asylum, in the madness, with no reassuring vacations when we can keep company with the sane and listen to their lectures.”
Washington Post Book World

“The narrator simply describes herself as feeling very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel. The in-between moment is just what Miss Plath’s poetry does catch brilliantly—the moment poised on the edge of chaos.”
Christian Science Monitor

“As clear and readable as it is witty and disturbing.”
New York Times


Product Details
ISBN: 9780060837020
ISBN-10: 0060837020
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2005
Pages: 288
Language: English
Series: Modern Classics