Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cleaving Mytholmroyd

The Haunting of Sylvia Plath

I’ve got a leaning tower of Pisa stack of Plath bios on my nightstand. I’ve pretty much read all of them—the last one being Janet Malcolm’s The Silent Woman. She ends her bio with some intriguing insights about Jacqueline Rose’s The Haunting of Sylvia Plath. The only one I haven’t read yet. Rose’s “textual entity” approach to all the Sylvia Plath bios—seems so calm and balanced to me. Here is a brief paragraph—describing her approach to biography:

“This is a book which analyses the poet's work, in part by looking at the passionate public response that it arouses - in other words, it takes the pathology often assumed to be at the heart of Plath and projects it back on to the reader. In simple terms: if Plath is mad, who are we who love her so passionately? What do we have invested in our understanding of Plath's work?”


I’ve asked myself the same question? Why have I read all of Plath’s poetry and Lit Crit? Her journals and novels? Why have so many biographies come out—and still are being published? What’s makes Ariel so important? How deep does the dark side of Ted Hughes go? Is there something uncanny—about their Ouija Board dialogs? Is there something mythological—about Mytholmryod?

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