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Primary Works

Primary Works


This portion of the web site discusses the primary works of Sylvia Plath, namely her poetry collections, her semi auto-biographical novel, her letters, and her journals.  Plath’s death at age 31 came as no surprise to the world; in reading her primary works we gain further insight into her mindset during the course of her depression.  However, Plath’s writing serves as more than a thinly-veiled account of her own life; taken at face value, her publications are truly the works of an exceptional female writer.  Many people do question whether Plath’s popularity is a byproduct of her death rather than her literary merits. 
Through an analysis of her written compositions, one cannot deny that she exhibits a  fascination with death.  Her skillful ability to address the mental confusion and morbidity others termed “madness,” though, further demonstrates her qualifications as an author.  For instance, the following poem was written by Plath in 1954 during her time at Smith College.

"Mad Girl’s Love Song"
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said.
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The current collections of Plath’s writings include her journal entries from childhood, her letters, and the beginning of her career as a writer. Her first publications were in fact magazine stories for Christian Science Monitor, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen (which also published several of her drawings). She went on to author the following works in her adulthood: 

· The Collected Poems (1981)
· The Bell Jar (1963)
· Ariel (1965)
· Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams (1979)
· The Journals of Sylvia Plath, edited, Frances McCullough (1983)
· Lyonnesse (1971)
· The Colossus & Other Poems (1960)
· The Magic Mirror: A Study of the Double in Two of Dostoevsky's Novel (Plath's Smith Honors thesis from 1955)
· Three Women
· The Bed Book (1976)
· The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath (2000)
· Sylvia Plath Reads : Leaving Early, Candles, the Disquieting Muses and Other of Her Poems (audiocassette) (made between 1958-1962)
· Crossing the Water: Transitional Poems (1971)
· Letters Home: Correspondence, 1950-1963 (1976)
· Winter Trees (1971)
· A Winter Ship
· Crystal Glazer (1971)
· Fiesta Melons
· Pursuit
· Wreath for a Bridal (1971)
· The It Doesn't Matter Suit (1991)

for links on here Primary works click here

for an annotated bibliography of her primary works click here