Monday, 14 October 2013


I've been immersed in Sylvia Plath for the past few days and it was interesting to discover in the last few pages of this biography how Ted Hughes very nearly slipped from her clutches ...
The more I've read over the years, the more I struggle to have much sympathy with Sylvia, who seems like a weapon of destruction.
But it was fascinating to listen to her voice here.
There is an exhibition at Ben Pentreath's shop this week of photographs relating to 18 Rugby Street where Hughes and Plath spent their wedding night and where he spent the night that she killed herself.
It's a building that always pulls at my heartstrings as I go by (it's just around the corner from Persephone Books) but I'm not quite that much of a completist.

12 comments:

callmemadam said...

I struggle to have much sympathy with Sylvia,

Oh, thank goodness. I feel the same way but it's lonely in a world of fanatics.

mary said...

I'm waiting to be lynched. But she's not my idea of a feminist icon, Callmemadam.

Alex said...

OK I'm making number three here. Have you read Hughes's 'Birthday Letters'? I think they help to give a much more balanced view to the relationship than is often taken as the accepted one.

mary said...

I read it years ago when it first came out, Alex. Definitely time for a re-read.

Toffeeapple said...

Oh good, it seems that I am not alone! Thank you everyone.

Anonymous said...

What did you think of Le Week-end, was it worth the effort and expense of going to the pictures?

Best, Herts

mary said...

If you scroll back to September, you'll see what I wrote when it was fresh in my mind, Anonymous. Lindsay Duncan and Jim Broadbent are terrific, but I do find that theme of middleaged disappointment a bit depressing ... bit too close to home probably! But I always think it's worth going to the pictures! Usually in the afternoon when it's half-price!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this review, I did scroll back and your pithy comments completely rang home, so we're off to Paul Klee at Tate Mod instead.

Best, Herts

mary said...

Much better decision! And Le Weekend will be on TV before you know it!

Anonymous said...

True and thanks again.
Herts

Ruth said...

I really enjoyed Anne Stevenson's 1989 biography 'Bitter Fame' and I still have it in my bookcase, but I can't help feeling she was probably more fun to read about than to live with. I'm tempted to read it again (or maybe I'll try the new biography) - I was a student in Bristol the first time I read it and it would be interesting to visit her again from the perspective of a mother/married woman. I suspect I might find some of her behaviour even more infuriating though. Thank you to Alex for suggesting 'Birthday Letters' - I think I might have a Sylvia reading session coming on!

mary said...

I have a feeling I read that many years ago, Ruth. Birthday Letters is fascinating if you haven't read it before.