Cover image for The other Ariel
The other Ariel
Bundtzen, Lynda K., 1946-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Amherst, Mass. : University of Massachusetts Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvi, 218 pages 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3566.L27 A735 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide in 1963 at age 30, is now widely regarded as one of America's greatest poets. Her second collection, Ariel, which was issued posthumously in 1965, received superb reviews and became one of the best-selling books of poetry published in the 20th century. What is less well known about this celebrated volume is that the poems it contains are not the ones Plath herself selected when she assembled her manuscript.

Author Notes

Lynda K. Bundtzen is Herbert H. Lehman Professor of English at Williams College.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Many scholars treating the subject of early publications of Sylvia Plath fall into the trap of narrowly applying Plath's biography to finished poems. In the early 1970s, it was an easy call to make a simple translation from Plath's marriage (to Ted Hughes) to the separation to the suicide. What makes the present volume a little trickier is that Bundtzen (Williams College) forces the reader to decide whether Hughes's motives were merely self-serving and antithetical to Plath's intentions--whether he was salvaging his own ego and in the end sacrificing her art for his own ends. Emerging from this well-documented study are some ugly portraits of huge egos, mercenary benefits driving and superseding artistic values. None of the protagonists comes off looking good--not Plath, who made some odd choices in order to get an acceptance from The New Yorker, and not Ted Hughes, Aurelia Plath, nor Olwyn Hughes, who each destroyed texts they did not approve of. Bundtzen leaves the reader with a flawed covey that used whatever apparatus was available to each. In time, other critics will redraw the battle lines--art versus sanity, sanity versus artistic compulsions. In the meantime readers have much to choose from, much of it unpleasant and vexing. Graduate students through faculty; general readers. H. Susskind emerita, Monroe Community College

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1. A Rare Bodyp. 6
Chapter 2. Private Propertyp. 37
Chapter 3. A Late Winter Miraclep. 101
Chapter 4. Mourning Eurydice: Ted Hughes as Orpheus in Birthday Lettersp. 163
Notesp. 183
Works Citedp. 205
Indexp. 211