Plath, Sylvia The Bell Jar

ISBN 13: 9780553239607

The Bell Jar

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9780553239607: The Bell Jar
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The Bell Jar is a classic of American literature, with over two million copies sold in this country. This extraordinary work chronicles the crackup of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, successful -- but slowly going under, and maybe for the last time. Step by careful step, Sylvia Plath takes us with Esther through a painful month in New York as a contest-winning junior editor on a magazine, her increasingly strained relationships with her mother, and with the boy she dated in college, and eventually, devastatingly, into the madness itself. The reader is drawn into her breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies.

Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is rare in any novel. It points to the fact that The Bell Jar is a largely autobiographical work about Plath's own summer of 1953, when she was a guest editor at Mademoiselle and went through a breakdown. It reveals so much about the sources of Sylvia Plath's own tragedy that its publication was considered a landmark in literature.

"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

This special 25th-anniversary edition includes a new foreword by Frances McCullough,who was the Harper & Row editor for the original edition, about the untold story of The Bell Jar's first American publication.

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Review:

Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for this largely autobiographical novel. The Bell Jar tells the story of a gifted young woman's mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963 and left behind this scathingly sad, honest and perfectly-written book, which remains one of the best-told tales of a woman's descent into insanity.

From the Publisher:

A vulnerable young girl wins a dream assignment on a big-time New York fashion magazine and finds herself plunged into a nightmare. An autobiographical account of Sylvia Plath's own mental breakdown and suicide attempt, The Bell Jar is more than a confessional novel, it is a comic but painful statement of what happens to a woman's aspirations in a society that refuses to take them seriously... a society that expects electroshock to cure the despair of a sensitive, questioning young artist whose search for identity becomes a terrifying descent toward madness.

"A fine novel, as bitter and remorseless as her last poems -- the kind of book Salinger's Fanny might have written about herself ten years later, if she had spent those ten years in Hell." -- Robert Scholes, The New York Times Book Review.

"By turns funny, harrowing, crude, ardent and artless. Its most notable quality is an astonishing immediacy, like a series of snapshots taken at high noon." -- Time.

"A special poignance... a special force, a humbling power, because it shows the vulnerability of people of hope and good will." -- Newsweek.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780060837020: The Bell Jar (Modern Classics)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0060837020 ISBN 13:  9780060837020
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2005
Softcover

9780061148514: The Bell Jar

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9780060174903: The Bell Jar: A Novel

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9780571200337: The Bell Jar (FF Classics)

Faber ..., 1999
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