Sylvia Plath


William Coleman

The Bell Jar, the only novel written by Plath, was published in 1963. The work was considered to be semi-autobiographical. The novel chronicles the mental health of Esther Greenwood, a young woman who increasingly suffered from depression.

William Coleman

Born on October 27, 1932 in Boston, Sylvia Plath began writing at a very young age. Creating her first poem at the age of eight, Plath had several pieces published in local newspapers, including the Boston Herald.

  After graduating from what is now Wellesley High School, Plath ventured off to Smith College where she edited The Smith Review and eventually earned a guest editor position at Mademoiselle in New York City.

  Since the passing of her father just a week after her eighth birthday, Plath dealt with serious depression issues and had several suicide attempts. Yet with psychiatric care and personal perseverance, the young writer got healthy again and accepted a scholarship that sent her to Newnham College in England.

  In England, Plath continued her writing career and collaborated with poets such as Robert Lowell and Anne Sexton. Eventually she met her future husband Ted Hughes, who was also a prominent poet.

  In the fall and winter of 1962, Plath experienced a major output of poetry, writing 26 poems that were later included in her second collection Ariel. Yet during this renaissance of her work, her depression sprung up again.

  Plath was dealing with insomnia among other things and was administered antidepressants. At just the age of 30, Plath committed suicide by sticking her head in a burning gas oven, poisoning herself with carbon monoxide.

  Reflecting on her life, many poets and fans refer to her as the catalyst behind the movement of confessional poetry and credit her for being one of the best, young female poets of all time.