Abstract

The legacy of Sylvia Plath’s poetry and the received notion of the teenage girl writer wallowing in self-pity are discussed in terms of their significance to adolescent female readers and their ramifications for girlhood culture at large. Plath’s legacy endures in part because of the recognition that a fluctuation in moods and personas is often the experience of young women, of writers, of those who struggle with depression or anxiety (and the overlap between these populations), and also because of Plath’s ability to craft the fever of her emotions into poems that rely on bold and rich figurative language. This essay uses memoir, a survey of Plath’s popular and critical reception, and a close reading of Plath poems that take on more adolescent concerns and themes, then concludes by looking at contemporary women poets whose aesthetics, attitudes and themes are relevant to contemporary teenage girl readers.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4286
Print ISSN
0093-3139
Pages
pp. 179-207
Launched on MUSE
2009-11-04
Open Access
No
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