In her brief but momentous career, Sylvia Plath rewrote the story that women writers could tell in poetry and, to some extent, in fiction and diaries as well. Writing

avant la lettre

of American feminism, and before Adrienne Rich's feminist awakening, Plath wrote unforgettable poems concerning women's victimization, rage, and rebellion. Having studied Sigmund Freud and James Frazer, she also wrote poems with psychoanalytic and mythic dimensions, the most startling and unsettling such poems of her time. These poems enact loss and grief in such a devastating fashion that one wonders how the reader, much less the author, can survive them. Plath also involved political and social realities in her dramas of disclosure, so that her description of trees (in “Winter Trees”) as being…

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Citation: Axelrod, Steven. "Sylvia Plath". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 September 2003 [, accessed 14 April 2024.]

3579 Sylvia Plath 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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