Plath, Sylvia: Further Reading

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Tabor, Stephen. Sylvia Plath: An Analytical Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Meckler Publishing, 1987, 268 p.

A helpful bibliography of essential works by and about Plath.


Alexander, Paul. Rough Magic: A Biography of Sylvia Plath, New York: Viking, 1991, 402 p.

Hayman, Ronald. The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath, Secaucus, N.J.: Carol Publishing Group, 1991, 235 p.

A biography of Plath considered by critics to be empathetic and thorough.

Malcolm, Janet. The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, New York: A. A. Knopf, 1994, 207 p.

Highly regarded psychoanalytic study of Plath's life and work that examines the shortfalls and conflicts involved in any biographical endeavor.

Middlebrook, Diane. Her Husband: Hughes and Plath—A Marriage. New York: Viking, 2003, 361 p.

Provides an assessment of the partnership between Ted Hughes and Plath, asserting that the strong creative impulses within both poets resulted in a dynamic and powerful combination.

Stevenson, Anne. Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath, London: Viking, 1989, 413 p.

A comprehensive account of Plath's life and literary career.

Wagner-Martin, Linda. Sylvia Plath: A Biography, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987, 282 p.

Biography of Plath providing access to previously unseen journals and letters.


Alexander, Paul, ed. Ariel Ascending: Writings about Sylvia Plath, New York: Harper and Row, 1985, 217 p.

A collection of criticism on Plath's life and writing, including essays by Helen Vendler, Alicia Ostriker, Joyce Carol Oates, Rosellen Brown, and others.

Axelrod, Stephen Gould. Sylvia Plath: The Wound and the Cure of Words, Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990, 257 p.

Provides criticism through the means of "a biography of the imagination."

Bentley, Paul. "'Hitler's Familiar Spirits': Negative Dialectics in Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy' and Ted Hughes's 'Hawk Roosting'." Critical Survey 12, no. 3 (2000): 27-38.

Addresses Plath's use of Holocaust imagery in "Daddy" and compares the poem to Hughes's "Hawk Roosting," another poem that is often interpreted as a commentary on events in World War II.

Butscher, Edward. Sylvia Plath, Method and Madness, New York: Seabury Press, 1976, 388 p.

A critical and biographical study of Plath's writings and her life.

Curley, Maureen. "Plath's 'Lady Lazarus'." Explicator 59, no. 4 (summer 2001): 213-14.

Maintains that "Lady Lazarus" serves as a poetic commentary on the difficulties faced by female artists and also contends that the poem plays upon a second biblical character named Lazarus in addition to the well-known figure that Jesus returned to life.

Dahlke, Laura Johnson. "Plath's 'Lady Lazarus'." Explicator 60, no. 4 (summer 2002): 50-2.

Asserts that the speaker's conflict in "Lady Lazarus" with the Herr Doktor character represents a struggle againstmale dominance that ultimately ends in defeat, despite the defiant closing lines of the poem.

Hedley, Jane. "Sylvia Plath's Ekphrastic Poetry." Raritan 20, no. 4 (spring 2001): 37-73.

Focuses on Plath's poems that concern visual works of art.

Kendall, Tim. Sylvia Plath: A Critical Study, London: Faber and Faber, 2001, 235 p.

Book-length study of Plath that emphasizes her writing rather than the biographical details of her life.

Oates, Joyce Carol. "The Death Throes of Romanticism." Southern Review, 9, no. 3 (summer 1973): 501-22.

Identifies Plath as part of the Romantic tradition in literature, seeing her poetry as a representation of outmoded ideas that identify the human condition as one of isolated competition.

Rose, Jacqueline. The Haunting of Sylvia Plath. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992, 288 p.

Psychoanalytic study examining Plath's life and work, focusing on feminism in relation to her writing, among other topics.

Van Dyne, Susan R. Revising Life: Sylvia Plath's Ariel Poems. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993, 206 p.

A feminist examination of many of the poems in Ariel, focusing on the processes of their writing and revision.

Vendler, Helen. "Sylvia Plath: Reconstructing the Colossus." In Coming of Age as a Poet: Milton, Keats, Eliot, Plath, pp. 115-54. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Examines the poem "Edge" in an effort to defend Plath's work against charges that it lacked vision and suffered from contradictions.

Wagner, Erica. Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and the Story of Birthday Letters, New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2001, 256 p.

Critical study presenting analysis of Plath's poetry and life through a study of Ted Hughes' poetry.

Wagner-Martin, Linda. Sylvia Plath: A Literary Life, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999, 171 p.

Examines the process by which Plath developed herself as a writer, including analysis of her early reading and writing habits.

Wagner, Linda W. "Plath's The Bell Jar as Female Bildungsroman." Women's Studies 12, no. 1 (1986): 55-68.

Maintains that The Bell Jar fits into the tradition of youthful coming-of-age novels, though it also stands apart because the protagonist is female.

Zivley, Sherry Lutz. "Sylvia Plath's Transformations of Modern Paintings." College Literature 29, no. 3 (summer 2002): 35-56.

Analyzes Plath's poems that were inspired by paintings by Henri Rosseau, Paul Klee, and others.


Additional coverage Plath's life and career is contained in the following sources published by the Gale Group: American Writers Retrospective Supplement, Vol. 2; American Writers Supplement, Vol. 1; Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Vol. 13; Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: Biography and Resources, Vol. 3; Concise Dictionary of American Literary Biography, 1941-1968; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 19-20; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vols. 34, 101; Contemporary Authors Permanent Series, Vol. 2; Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vols. 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 11, 14, 17, 50, 51, 62, 111; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vols. 5, 6, 152; DISCovering Authors; DISCovering Authors: British Edition; DISCovering Authors: Canadian Edition; DISCovering Authors Modules: Most-studied Authors and Poets; DISCovering Authors 3.0; Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century, Ed. 3; Exploring Novels; Exploring Poetry; Feminist Writers; Literature and Its Times, Vol. 4; Literature Resource Center; Major 20th-Century Writers, Eds. 1, 2; Modern American Women Writers; Novels for Students, Vol. 1; Poetry Criticism, Vols. 1, 37; Poetry for Students, Vols. 1, 15; Poets: American and British; Reference Guide to Young Adult Writers; Something about the Author, Vol. 96; Twayne's United States Authors; World Literature Criticism; and World Poets.

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Plath, Sylvia: Further Reading

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