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Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 27 October 1932Winthrop, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death 11 February 1963London, England, UK  (suicide)
Nickname Sivvy
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Sylvia Plath was born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, to Otto and Aurelia Schoeber Plath, both professors. When Sylvia was eight, Otto died of complications from diabetes. Her mother struggled to give Sylvia and her younger brother every advantage of a superior education. Self-consciousness and anxiety about status and money contributed to profound insecurity Plath concealed all her life beneath a facade of energy and brilliant achievement. Sylvia published her first poem at age eight. By the time she entered Smith College on scholarship in 1950, she had published many poems and short stories in newspapers and ladies' magazines. She was selected as a guest editor of Mademoiselle Magazine in 1953. Amid feverish overwork at Smith, she broke down in her junior year and attempted suicide. She spent almost a year in a mental hospital and was given electroconvulsive shock treatments. Sylvia eventually returned to Smith, graduating summa cum laude and winning a Fulbright fellowship to study at Cambridge University in England. In February 1956, she met poet Ted Hughes, and married him four months later. After Sylvia received her MA from Cambridge, the couple lived in Massachusetts (teaching at Smith and Amherst Colleges), then returned to England. The marriage was for six years a strong union of supremely dedicated writers. Ted's poem collections were critically praised, as was Sylvia's first volume of poetry, The Colossus, published in 1960. Sylvia worked on her autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, which narrated a college student's nervous breakdown and recovery. Despite thriving careers and the birth of two children, personal jealousies and a return of Sylvia's depression troubled the marriage. Sylvia soon faced Hughes's infidelity, expressing herself through increasingly angry and powerful poems. After the couple separated in fall 1962, Sylvia's deep depression was fueled by the worst winter in a century, poverty, and the struggle to care for two infants. She committed suicide in February 1963, just two weeks after The Bell Jar's publication. In the 40 years following her death, Sylvia Plath has become a heroine and martyr of the feminist movement, with her work foreshadowing the feminist writing that appeared in the 1960s and 1970s. Sylvia's poems remain a terrifying record of her encroaching mental illness--graphically macabre and hallucinatory, but full of ironic wit, technical brilliance, and tremendous emotional power. Her Selected Poems, published by Ted Hughes in 1981, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (1)

Ted Hughes (16 June 1956 - 11 February 1963) (her death) (2 children)

Trivia (11)

She is one of the major female poets of the 20th century. Her poetic books "Colossus" and "Ariel" and her novel "The Bell Jar" are largely autobiographical works, the latter dealing with her struggle with depression and mental illness.
Her critically acclaimed novel, "The Bell Jar" was so frankly autobiographical, that Plath published it only in England at first, using the pen name, "Victoria Lucas." It was not until 1971 that the book was published in the USA.
Her first published work was a short story, "And Summer Will Not Come Again, " written while she was in high school.
Her first national publication was a poem in the Christian Science Monitor, "Bitter Strawberries."
Two children: Nicholas Hughes, a graduate of Oxford in zoology lives in Canada (as of 1999) and works as a marine biologist, and Frieda Hughes, who married Hungarian-born painter Laszlo Lukacs, paints and, like her mother, writes poetry.
Two of her better known poems are used at GCSE level in Britain; 'The Arrival of the Bee Box' and 'Medallion'. Both raise her issues about power, dominant in most of her works.
She had a genius-level IQ of 166, according to a test she took in 1944.
Daughter of Aurelia Plath.
Nicholas, son of poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, was found hanged on Monday, March 16 2009 in his home in Alaska. He was 47.
Pictured on one of ten USA nondenominated commemorative postage stamps celebrating "20th Century Poets", issued as a pane of 20 stamps on 21 April 2012. Other stamps in this issued honored Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, e.e. cummings, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, and Theodore Roethke. The price of each stamp on day of issue was 45¢.
James Dickey made the ungracious remark "Suicide attempts and then writing poetry about your suicide attempts is just pure bullshit!" in relation to Sylvia Plath in a Paris Review interview.

Personal Quotes (5)

Oh, satisfaction! I don't think I could live without it. It's like water or bread, or something absolutely essential to me. I find myself absolutely fulfilled when I have written a poem, when I'm writing one. Having written one, then you fall away very rapidly from having been a poet to becoming a poet in rest. I think the actual experience of writing a poem is a magnificent one.
I think my poems immediately come out of the sensuous and emotional experiences I have . . . I believe that one should be able to control and manipulate experiences, even the most terrific, like madness, being tortured, [that] one should be able to manipulate these experiences with an informed and an intelligent mind.
Poetry, I feel, is a tyrannical discipline--you've got to go so far, so fast, in such a small space that you've just got to turn away all the peripherals.
I much prefer doctors, midwives, lawyers, anything but writers. I think writers and artists are the most narcissistic people.
Every woman adores a fascist.

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