The Silent Woman - Sylvia Plath And Ted Hughes

4.03 avg rating
( 1,833 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780330335775: The Silent Woman - Sylvia Plath And Ted Hughes
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

From the moment it was first published in The New Yorker, this brilliant work of literary criticism aroused great attention. Janet Malcolm brings her shrewd intelligence to bear on the legend of Sylvia Plath and the wildly productive industry of Plath biographies. Features a new Afterword by Malcolm.
From the Trade Paperback edition.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Sylvia Plath committed suicide in February 1963, and since then her poetry, fiction, and, increasingly, her life have maintained enormous power over readers' (particularly female readers') imaginations. Biographies continue to appear with regularity, despite the strong hold the Plath estate has on her work. But because of that hold, each biographer has been forced to accommodate the living (Ted Hughes, who was separated from Plath at the time of her death, and his larger-than-life sister, Olwyn, long the executrix), often at the expense of the dead. In 1989, Anne Stevenson's peculiar hybrid, Bitter Fame, was published, complete with an appendix full of devastating memoirs. It was not your average biography. When Janet Malcolm was first sent the book, she was less drawn to it by the Plath legend than by the fact that she had known Stevenson in the '50s, but she soon became captivated by the book's defeatist subtext. The dead woman's voice and writings seemed to overwhelm Stevenson's tentative narrative; and if that wasn't enough, there was also the none-too-angelic choir of those who had known Plath. "These too, said, 'Don't listen to Anne Stevenson. She didn't know Sylvia. I knew Sylvia. Let me tell you about her. Read my correspondence with her. Read my memoir.'"

Bitter Fame was soon garnering some powerfully bad notices, especially that of A. Alvarez in the New York Review of Books. Alvarez, the author of one of the most influential pieces on Plath, in his study of suicide, The Savage God, had some special, personal cards to deal, as have so many others Plath left behind. Because Malcolm's great theme is treachery--that of the interviewer, the journalist, the teller of just about any tale--the Plath mess seemed a perfect fit, and she decided to become a player, too. In 1991, Malcolm was having lunch with Olwyn Hughes in North London, 28 years to the day on which the poet died.

This is only one of the coincidences in The Silent Woman, a postmodern biography par excellence, which is less about the drama of Plath's life and still controversial death than about their continuing effect on the living. For Malcolm, all cards are wild, each one revealing more complexity, human cravenness, and, above all, brilliantly playful aperçus about human agency and writing's deceptions. I look forward to the dictionary of quotations that foregrounds the elegant "The pleasure of hearing ill of the dead is not a negligible one, but it pales before the pleasure of hearing ill of the living." And then there's, "Memory is notoriously unreliable; when it is intertwined with ill will, it may be monstrously unreliable. The 'good' biographer is supposed to be able to discriminate among the testimonies of witnesses and have his antennae out for tendentious distortions, misrememberings, and outright lies." It's clear that Malcolm doesn't see herself as a "good" biographer--she openly declares her allegiance, but is more than capable of changing it and of showing her cards. Or is she? In the end, The Silent Woman is a stunning inquiry into the possibility of ever really knowing anything save that "the game continues."

From the Inside Flap:

From the moment it was first published in The New Yorker, this brilliant work of literary criticism aroused great attention. Janet Malcolm brings her shrewd intelligence to bear on the legend of Sylvia Plath and the wildly productive industry of Plath biographies. Features a new Afterword by Malcolm.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Buy Used
Condition: Very Good
$TOOL_STRING.truncateTextToClosestWordBoundary($bestListing.getDescription(), 30, "...", true, true) Learn more about this copy

Shipping: US$ 6.05
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.

Destination, rates & speeds

Add to Basket

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780679751403: The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0679751408 ISBN 13:  9780679751403
Publisher: Vintage, 1995
Softcover

9781847085375: The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

Granta..., 2001
Softcover

9780679431589: The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

Knopf, 1994
Hardcover

9781862077331: The Silent Woman : Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

Granta..., 2005
Softcover

9780330335782: The silent woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

Picador, 1994
Hardcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Janet Malcolm
Published by Picador (1994)
ISBN 10: 0330335774 ISBN 13: 9780330335775
Used Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
MusicMagpie
(Stockport, United Kingdom)

Book Description Picador, 1994. Condition: Very Good. Seller Inventory # U9780330335775

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 4.54
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 6.05
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

JANET MALCOLM
Published by Picador (1994)
ISBN 10: 0330335774 ISBN 13: 9780330335775
Used Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books Express
(Portsmouth, NH, U.S.A.)

Book Description Picador, 1994. Paperback. Condition: Good. First - may be Reissue. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. May be ex-library. Shipping & Handling by region. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0330335774

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy Used
US$ 258.76
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds