“Art is long,” wrote the poet Randall Jarrell, “and critics are the insects of a day.” Which is another way of saying that writing book reviews can make you feel like a manic-depressive housefly. You buzz and bang your head on the window out of sheer guilt and frustration. Siri …
Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted
by Andrew Wilson
American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath
by Carl Rollyson
Five decades after her death Sylvia Plath continues to provoke inflaming conflict and scandal—and no more corrosively than among those who care most intensely about her. Nothing about her life or legacy seems wholesome or resolved. The world of Plath biography is an especially crowded and rancorous one, having been distinguished since the 1970s by fractured friendships, vicious public feuds between members of the Plath and Hughes families, accusations of censorship and arguments over withheld papers, and enough free-spouting venom and spleen to scar anybody so foolish as to offer an opinion on any of it.