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Sylvia Plath is Miss Popularity

By Harriet Staff

As the school year begins, we’re taking stock here at poetryfoundation.org, gathering together our most-read poems, articles, blog posts, and podcasts to put on display for this here Harriet show-and-tell. Yesterday, we looked at the summer’s most popular poem, and today, we’ve set our sights on the most popular feature: Emily Gould’s look back on the Bell Jar.

It begins:

In March 1970, the poet Ted Hughes found himself in a tricky real estate situation. There was a charming seaside house he wanted to buy, in Devonshire, but the necessary funds weren’t at hand. Of course he could have sold one of his two other homes, but one was the home he had shared with his now deceased ex-wife Sylvia Plath, another was a solid investment, and so on. In the end, he wrote to Sylvia Plath’s mother, Aurelia, asking for her blessing to sell one of his other assets: her daughter’s first and only novel, written a year before her suicide in 1963, for which Hughes suspected there might now be a market in the United States . . .

It’s a doozy of a piece, and for those of you who missed it over the summer break, it’s all right here for your perusal. Enjoy.


Posted in Foundation News on Thursday, September 1st, 2011 by Harriet Staff.