The life experiences of Sylvia Plath drove direct impact on her writings. Most of what is known about the American novelist and short story writer comes from her journals and letters that were published post her death. Although the general notion, public has about Plath and her life is centred on her clinical depression and her agonizing marriage to Ted Hughes, but her life extended far beyond the illness. The poet’s life was indeed painful and it was palpable in her emotional and electric works. Most of her readers continue to figure the larger picture of the author’s life, especially her all-too-early death.
After spending most of her adult life, clinically depressed, she committed suicide, leaving the world at an age of just 30. October 27 marks the birth anniversary of Plath and this year we remember the iconic figure in 20th century literature by going through some facts, lesser-known.
– Plath’s first poem was published in 1941, when she was eight-years-old. The Poem was simply titled, “Poem” and was pleasant in comparison to the dark writings that she became known for later in her life.
– Before switching to English, Plath majored in studio art at Smith College. The visual artist expressed on canvas using abstract styles, from collages to paintings.
– Plath’s IQ was recorded when she was 12 years old. To be considered in the range of genius, one’s IQ should be atleast 140, and Plath’s was 160!
– Plath picked her wedding date to pay homage to James Joyce’s Ulysses. She met poet and writer, Ted Hughes in Cambridge. Plath married Hughes on June 16th, 1956. The marriage was a tumultuous one and after her death, few letters revealed the poet of having been abusive towards Plath.
– One of Plath’s most remembered bodies of work, ‘The Bell Jar’ initially found no takers. The semi-autobiographical piece was originally rejected by publishing houses and the author never found a publisher for the novel throughout her life.
– Plath repeated fifth grade. After Plath had to move town because of her family, she wanted to continue studying with children her own age. However, her future academic career had no effect on the grade repeat as Plath excelled in college.
– ‘The Bell Jar’ was penned by Plath under the pen name “Victoria Lucas.” The book was published under her own name three years after she died. A close friend of Plath informed that the reason Plath had given a pseudonym was because she did not want the world to see through her family. Also it is believed that Plath’s mother tried her best to avoid publishing the work in America until 1971.