Poetry News

Book Marks Celebrates The Bell Jar's 56th Anniversary

By Harriet Staff
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, cover.

Not sure how to mark the 56th anniversary of the publication of Sylvia Plath's novel, The Bell Jar? Why not visit Book Marks, where the staff has compiled a few of the "most intriguing" reviews from the first year of its publication. Originally published in the UK under Plath's initial pseudonym, "Victoria Lucas," the novel (and author) have had a "seismic impact" on literature despite Plath's suicide, "less than a month after The Bell Jar first hit shelves." Reading on from there: 

Though often considered a lesser work than her poetry collections, in the years since Plath’s death The Bell Jar has become a totemic novel for teenage girls and young women around the world. Despite initially being rejected by American publishers (who complained that it lacked plot and cohesion), the book has now sold over 3 million copies in the US and is a staple of high school english classes countrywide.

By the time The Bell Jar finally finally reached American readers in 1971, it was impossible for critics to consider the novel outside of the context of Plath’s suicide and the mythos which had been built up around her tragically short life in the years that followed. This made for some particularly interesting, albeit loaded, criticism.

Read more at Book Marks for key reviews from 1971.

Originally Published: January 15th, 2019