The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under -- maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that Esther's insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.
About the Author
Sylvia Plath was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1932, and was a writer from early in life, publishing poems in local newspapers from the age of eight. Despite the clinical depression that affected her deeply, Plath excelled at Smith College and subsequently attended Newnham College in Cambridge on a Fulbright fellowship grant. In England, Plath met and married fellow poet Ted Hughes. Their marriage was often an unhappy one, and Hughes left Plath after the birth of their second child. In the time following, Plath wrote many of her most famous poems, often drawing inspiration from the rocky relationships with the men in her lifein particular her marriage to Hughes and her relationship with her father, whose strict manner and death during her childhood had greatly impacted her. Plath s works include the poems Daddy, Lady Lazarus, and Poppies in July, as well as the novel The Bell Jar, which reflects Plath s own experiences with severe depression. Plath was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Collected Works nearly twenty years after her suicide in 1963.
Maggie Gyllenhaal's stunning performance in the film Secretary garnered her a Golden Globe nomination, an Independent Spirit Award nomination and awards from the Chicago Film Critics Association, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the National Board of Review. She recently appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Adaptation and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.