A Critical Study
By Tim Kendall
(Faber & Faber, Paperback, 9780571192359, 240pp.)
Publication Date: September 1, 2001
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A fresh and unique look at the work of one of America's most compelling and enigmatic poets
Sylvia Plath was one of the most gifted and innovative poets of the twentieth century, yet serious study of her work has often been hampered by a fierce preoccupation with her life and death.
In this new analysis, Tim Kendall seeks to redress the balance in his detailed and dispassionate examination of her poetry. Taking a roughly chronological structure, he traces the unique nature of Plath's poetic gift, finding-with reference to Letters Home, The Bell Jar, The Journals, and the stories and autobiographical reminiscences-an essential unity in her inspiration, tracing the evolution of recurring themes and at the same time exhibiting her accelerated development from the formal restraint of The Colossus through to the groundbreaking techniques of Ariel. In the process, Kendall shows that Plath was a poet constantly remaking herself, experimenting with different styles, forms, and subject matter, while at the same time firmly reinforcing her rightful place in the canon of world literature.
Tim Kendall edits the literary magazine, Thumbscrew, and is the author of the critical study, Paul Muldoon. He received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry in 1997 and appears in the Oxford Poets 2000 anthology. He teaches at the University of Bristol.