Sylvia Plath – Drawings
Sylvia Plath is, of course, best known for her poetry, her novel “The Bell Jar” and (unfortunately) her suicide in 1963. However, there is another aspect of her art which is not so often focused upon, that of the visual arts. Last year I read a wonderful book on this, “Eve Rhymes”, which I reviewed here. As an addition to that, I was so pleased to receive at Christmas this slim volume, published by Faber and Faber, which covers the period between 1955-1957 while Plath was a Fulbright scholar at Newnham College, Cambridge. It was a pivotal time in her life as this was when she met and married (in secret) Ted Hughes and they spent time in Paris and Spain before returning to the USA in 1957.
Edited and with foreword by Plath’s Daughter, Frieda Hughes, the book is divided into four sections, each covering one particular set of drawings from a particular place: England, France, Spain and the USA. The individual sections also have an extract from a letter or diary accompanying the relevant pictures. Reading Plath’s prose is always a great delight, and when it’s accompanied by the drawings it’s even better. It’s clear that Plath had quite a talent as a visual artist, and obviously took great pleasure in her art; though I still believe that the written word was her ideal medium.
As a Plath completist, I obviously have to have this book; but for a more general reader it would make a great introduction to Plath’s artwork, rather than diving straight into something like “Eve Rhymes” which is much more in depth, but demands a lot more commitment. This is a poignant reminder of Plath in her younger years when she seemed to have all she wanted and a perfect life ahead of her….