Against Completism: On Sylvia Plath’s New Short Story

1960s: Days of Rage


“When I heard that a previously unpublished Sylvia Plath short story would appear in January 2019, I requested an electronic galley and then let the file sit unopened in my inbox for several weeks. I felt apprehensive, even frightened of it. I love Plath’s poetry, but what if I didn’t like this story? I read The Bell Jar so long ago, when I was fourteen or so, that I couldn’t remember anything about it. But I read The Catcher in the Rye at around the same time, and I remember that book clearly. Had I only meant to read The Bell Jar, and never finished it? Oh God, I thought, what if none of Plath’s fiction is good? I decided to read The Bell Jar again before addressing the new old short story. … The Bell Jar is also not just autobiographical but meta, which may be the defining…

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