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Sylvia Plath: A Biography

By Linda Wagner-Martin

It has been just over 50 years since Sylvia Plath committed suicide, and her place in American letters is secure. Today she is widely recognized as one of the outstanding poets of the century. Because Plath drew so heavily on her own life in both her poetry and her fiction, the outlines of her life are familiar to readers. But, like most writers, Plath changed the facts of her life in her writing. In this biography, the first to draw on unpublished journals and letters recently made available, Linda Wagner-Martin examines the ironies and contradictions of Sylvia Plath’s life, as well as her achievements. Everyone who knew Plath described her as talented, attractive, out-going and seemingly self-assured. Yet in her diaries and letters Plath reveals herself racked by insecurities and doubts. Linda Wagner-Martin traces the origins of Plath’s lifelong emotional problems to the untimely death of her father and to the complex relationship that Plath and her mother developed.

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