I finished “Her Husband” last weekend and dived into “The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath” this week. I have to say, I really wish that this was the first thing I’d read about or by Plath. About 25 years ago I read The Bell Jar which I loved, but very soon after I read a biography about her called, “Bitter Fame” written by someone who didn’t seem to like her. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I remember putting the book down and thinking that Plath was just a crazy lunatic. Which is really sad, considering I’ve found myself battling depression over the years. I look at her now as someone I can relate to just a little bit. I really feel that way reading her journals. I am at the very beginning of this book and I am loving the Plath I am seeing in these pages. She is a young woman just at the beginning of adulthood, finding her way. She has really amazing insights and observations about life. The best thing about this book, though, is the writing. She truly was an amazing talent, even at a young age. Her journal is especially wonderful because she is so open and uninhibited. I feel like there is something slightly contrived about her poetry, like it’s a little bit stiff (if that makes sense). So far in her journals, that feeling is not there. It feels pure, unfiltered.
I’ve also been thinking about the fact that these journals are available for me to read, and whether or not this is OK. I’ve been thinking a lot about how Ted Hughes had control of her estate after she died and controlled how her poetry and journals were published posthumously. I think about how much money he made off of her poetry. Is this OK? Is this something that Plath would’ve wanted? Would have Plath wanted the world to read all of her journals in their entirety? It all seems a little bit exploitative. I mean, she is no longer with us, but still.