Loving Sylvia Plath: A Reclamation (Hardcover)

Loving Sylvia Plath: A Reclamation By Emily Van Duyne Cover Image
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A nuanced, passionate exploration of the life and work of one of the most misunderstood writers of the twentieth century.

Sylvia Plath is an object of enduring cultural fascination—the troubled patron saint of confessional poetry, a writer whose genius is buried under the weight of her status as the quintessential literary sad girl. Emily Van Duyne—a superfan and scholar—radically reimagines the last years of Plath’s life, confronts her suicide and the construction of her legacy. Drawing from decades of study on Plath and her husband, Ted Hughes, the chief architect of Plath’s mythology; the life and tragic suicide of Assia Wevill, Hughes’s mistress; newly available archival materials; and a deep understanding of intimate partner violence, Van Duyne seeks to undo the silencing of Sylvia Plath and resuscitate her as the hardworking, brilliant writer she was.

About the Author

Emily Van Duyne is an associate professor at Stockton University and a 2022 Fulbright Scholar. Her work has appeared in Literary Hub, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Harvard Review, and American Poetry Review. She lives in New Jersey.

Praise For…

[Van Duyne] carefully, almost tenderly, combines research with experience.
— Bethanne Patrick - Los Angeles Times

In Loving Sylvia Plath, Emily Van Duyne sets out to radically reimagine the last years of Plath’s life and recontextualize her legacy by undoing her silencing and exploring the brilliance of her work. This book is perfect for lovers of poetry and literary history alike.

— Michael Welch - Chicago Review of Books

[A] deeply researched analysis of how the popular myth of Plath’s life, one that subordinates her poetry to her depression and her suicide, was constructed by Hughes and maintained by critics from the time of her death in 1963 to the present.
— BookPage

A fresh melding of scholarly investigation and personal reflection.
— Kirkus

Brilliant, lyrical, and moving, Loving Sylvia Plath is a riveting story of misogynistic abuse, gaslighting, and the way our culture protects treasured male heroes at the cost of female victims. A must-read for any feminist, any lover of literature, and anyone who simply values a gripping story.

— Kate Manne, author of Unshrinking

Loving Sylvia Plath is indeed a reclamation, and one that not only centers, but in many ways, resurrects Plath’s own voice to speak her own truth.

— Gail Crowther, author of Three-Martini Afternoons at the Ritz

Emily Van Duyne reveals Plath as she was: the best of her, the worst of her, the parts she hid in plain sight, the parts she made harder to find. I inhaled Loving Sylvia Plath: A Reclamation like (what else?) air.

— Jessica DeFino, Guardian columnist and beauty reporter

This disquieting debut from Van Duyne… examines how Ted Hughes’s physical and psychological abuse of his wife, Sylvia Plath, shaped her life, work, and legacy… [Loving Sylvia Plath is] an incriminating account exposing the depths of Hughes’s cruelty, this is sure to reignite debate in literary circles.

— Publishers Weekly

Emily Van Duyne takes a deeper look at Plath and does away with the trappings of her sad-girl persona—perpetuated, in many ways, by Plath's husband, the writer Ted Hughes—to focus on her accomplishments and the enduring power of her work. This book is part celebration and part repossession, looking at the writer on her own terms instead of through the lens for her that others have created.
— Adam Rathe - Town & Country
Product Details
ISBN: 9781324006978
ISBN-10: 1324006978
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: July 9th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English