chapter  1
44 Pages

The Outline of the World Comes Clear

This chapter discusses a few poems of Sylvia Plath that particularly focusing on 'things of this world'. The excerpts and Foreword in the first edition of Ariel frame Plath's own writing, and suggest that the poems themselves made their author's death inevitable. The status of Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams and Other Prose Writings, a posthumously published collection of some of Plath's stories, journalism and journal fragments, is also indeterminate. Since the first American edition of The Bell Jar appeared in 1971, this has been the strategy for marketing Plath's work in America. American cover designs for Plath's writing have not been any subtler than their British counterparts in perpetuating the message that Plath's life is the subject matter of her art. Throughout the 1990s, Faber and Faber's often reprinted paperback edition of The Bell Jar placed a large, air-brushed illustration of Plath on its front cover, and a smaller illustration of her on its back.