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The picture he paints is of a woman who is nothing like the real Sylvia Plath, a non-smoker who was meticulous about housekeeping and not, as far as I know, renowned for her ability to bathe men.
Instead, she’s a sort of conglomeration of projections and fantasies – a woman who walks the fine line that men seem to believe exists between sexy and mentally ill.
A friend and I were chatting over MSN Messenger, which should give you an idea of what year it was.
We were talking about music – part of a long and ongoing conversation about Songs That Really Get Me – and at some point she sent me a link to a You Tube video of Ryan Adams’ Sylvia Plath.
The most common cultural association that we have with her is an image of a young woman with her head in the oven.
Her final breakdown and death have overshadowed her life and accomplishments, and her name has become a placeholder for a specific type of tragic beauty.
A woman who is not so much a person as she is a thing on which men can act out whatever it is they need to act out.Although Sylvia Plath was a fiercely brilliant poet and novelist, she is arguably most famous for her suicide.he kind,” he says, “that goes out and then sleeps for a week.” He fantasizes about her semi-reckless behaviour, which includes ashing on the carpets of a fancy house, sleeping on a boat, and slipping him pills.At one point he hopes that she might give him a bath, which could either be a reference to the scene in The Bell Jar where Esther Greenwood waxes poetic about the joys of lying in a tub of steaming hot water or, more realistically, is the only word he could think of that rhymes with Plath.I have a very clear memory of the first time I recognized the Sexy Tragic Muse.
I was in my early 20s and living in ramshackle old wooden house in Halifax’s North End.