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Showing posts from January, 2016

The Mental Hospital Trilogy: Sylvia Plath, Jennifer Dawson, & Ken Kesey

On Saturday 13 June 1959, the same day she and Hughes attended the wedding of Margaret Cantor's oldest daughter, Sylvia Plath wrote in her journal, Read COSMOPOLITAN from cover to cover. Two mental health articles. I must write one about a college girl suicide. THE DAY I DIED. And a story, a novel even. Must get out SNAKE PIT. There is an increasing market for mental-hospital stuff. I am a fool if I don't relive it, recreate it" (495). Well, Plath was no fool. Published on 14 January 1963, Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar was the third in an unrelated trilogy of novels set in mental hospitals to appear in print in three years. British author Jennifer Dawson's The Ha-Ha came first, published in early 1961. Then came the American writer Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest , published in the United States in February 1962 (and in the United Kingdom in January or February 1963). The connections between these authors and their books is most i

Sylvia Plath Visits the Wayside Inn

Listen, my children, or face my wrath Of the midday meal of Sylvia Plath, On the Thirtieth of August, in Forty-five... Sylvia Plath kept a daily diary for several years starting in 1944. I recently worked with her diaries for the first time, delving deeply into them looking for contextual and other reference information to try to improve notes on the letters for that period. On 30 August 1945, Sylvia Plath wrote in her diary about a day spent she and Warren had, from the dentist in Boston and out for lunch in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Plath's dentist was Howard C. Reith, a Winthrop, Massachusetts resident. According to the Boston city directory, his office was located at 370 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston ( map ), which is now the location of the Eliot Hotel at the corner of Commonwealth and Massachusetts Avenues. The trip to Sudbury was made with Ralph Gaebler, his brother Max, and Max's wife Carolyn. Plath commented on Ralph's driving (fast). They at at the fam