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Sylvia Plaths Collected Poems A Review-Essay At last almost twenty years after her death on February 11 1963 here are the Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath It is a book that should have appeared much sooner By 1982 its publication seems somehow anti-climactic witness the rather cool response it has received from newspaper reviewers To reread Sylvia Plath today is to realize somewhat ruefully how different the early 1980s are from the early 1960s Schizophrenia of consuming interest to a generation brought up on R D Laings The Divided Self is now regarded either as a disease to be controlled biochemically or as part of a larger cultural phenomenon Lacanian criticism for instance is more interested in unmasking the verbal strategies ofsane discourse than in dealing with individual psychosis Again the feminist revolution -- the only real revolution of our time -- has put themarriage plus career problem at the center of Plaths writing in a rather different perspective it is not that the problem has been solved but Plaths stated desire to havemillions of babies and her scorn for thespinster bluestockings of Cambridge and Smith is not likely to strike a sympathetic chord in women undergraduates today Most important Plaths rhetoric at least the rhetoric of the poems she wrote prior to Ariel now seems anything but revolutionary Her controlled stanzas heavy with assonance and consonance her elaborate syntax with its inversions and subordinate clauses her ingenious metaphors -- all these now look almost genteel almost Victorian Nevertheless Plath remains an extraordinary poet and The Collected Poems reveals a side of her we have not really seen before In his brief introduction Ted Hughes remarksSome time around Christmas 1962 she gathered most of what are now known as the Ariel poems in a black spring binder and arranged them in a careful sequence At the time she pointed out that it began with the word Love and ended with the word Spring The exact
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