Time to Write Now By Julaina Kleist-Corwin

About Writing Plus

Sylvia Plath Bio and Quotes

Sylvia Plath with typewriterSylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932 in Boston. Her father was a professor of biology and a leading expert on bumblebees. He died after a lingering illness and left the family penniless. Her mother returned to work as a teacher after his death.

While Plath was in college her first short story, “Sunday at the Mintons” was published in Mademoiselle. She worked during the summer as a guest managing editor at the magazine. “After the job ended, she suffered a nervous breakdown, tried to commit suicide, and was hospitalized. She returned to school to finish her senior year, won a Fulbright to England and went to Cambridge after graduation where she met poet Ted Hughes in February 1956. They married four months later.” They had a son, Nicholas in 1962.

In 1962, Plath found out her husband was having an affair. He moved in with his new love, leaving Plath struggling against her emotional turmoil and depression. She moved to London and that winter wrote dozens of her best poems. Her only novel, The Bell Jar was was semi-autobiographical about a college girl who works at a New York magazine and has a breakdown. The novel received mediocre reviews in 1963.

At age 30, in February 1963, Plath committed suicide while in a severe case of depression.She died of carbon monoxide poisoning from putting her head in the oven.

Her Collected Poems won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize  for poetry, posthumously. “It was Hughes’ publication of Ariel in 1965 that precipitated Plath’s rise to fame. As soon as it was published critics began to see the collection as the charting of Plath’s increasing desperation or death wish. Her dramatic death became her most famous aspect, and remains so.Time and Life both reviewed the slim volume of Ariel in the wake of her death. The critic at Time said: “Within a week of her death, intellectual London was hunched over copies of a strange and terrible poem she had written during her last sick slide toward suicide. ‘Daddy’ was its title; its subject was her morbid love-hatred of her father. Plath’s poem Morning Song from Ariel is regarded as one of the best poems in the world on freedom of expression of an artist.”

On March 16, 2009, Nicholas Hughes, the son of Plath and Hughes, hanged himself at his home in Alaska, following a history of depression.

Information from www.history.com  and Wikipedia.org.


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  1. ladywinfred says:

    What a beautiful, tortured soul. How sad our world had so little of her. Thank you for sharing her with us, Jules.

    • Suicide in that family was very sad. Not only Sylvia and her son, but her husband’s new love killed herself and their four year old a few years after Sylvia’s suicide. Tragic.

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