Sylvia Plath - The Tragic Destiny Of One Of The Most Famous Poets In History

sylvia plath

Sylvia Plath:


Google has dedicated a Doodle to the famous poet Sylvia Plath, this Sunday, October 27, 2019.

Born just 87 years ago, this woman of great talent has helped to better know the depression and bipolar disorder that will lead to his suicide...

Sylvia Plath Born:


Born in Boston on October 27, 1932, Sylvia Plath is one of the most celebrated English-language poets of the twentieth century.

More than 50 years after her death, she continues to fascinate. A figure of poetry, with painfully honest prose, she is also the author of short stories, essays, children's books and especially a novel, "The Bell Jar" ("The Bell of Distress" in French). ).

This one, inspired by his life and his episodes of manic depression, will allow taking a different look at the depression and bipolar disorders.

To celebrate Plath's contribution to poetry, Google has dedicated a Doodle to him for what could have been his 87th birthday. A Doodle in the image of his poetry, reflecting winter and icy scenes.

Sylvia Plath biography:


Sylvia Plath grew up in the United States with her father, a professor of German and biology specializing in the study of bees, who died as a result of gangrene in 1940.

A shock to the bright child she was already. This death will trigger in Sylvia Plath the first depressive manifestations.

But despite these initial troubles, Sylvia Plath is very early convinced of his vocation for writing and his talent allows him from the year 1950 to integrate Smith College, near Boston, one of the most prestigious universities for women in the United States at the time.

She then goes through a heavy depressive episode in 1953, which will lead her, after a suicide attempt, to a psychiatric institution.

It is this period of her life that she will tell ten years later in her autobiographical novel "The Bell Jar". Despite this depression, she graduated in 1955, with honours.

Sylvia Plath - between moments of intense joy and heavy depressions


The following year, Sylvia Plath left for England after earning a scholarship to study at Newnham College at Cambridge University.

There, she will meet a young English poet, Ted Hughes, with whom she will spend much of her life and have two children, Frieda in 1960 and Nicholas in 1962.

In the meantime, Sylvia Plath has been published in national publications, won awards, worked as a publisher.

Her private and family life will alternate moments of intense joy, such as the birth of her children or her return to London in 1962, with deep relapses in depression, reinforced by difficult living conditions, miscarriage and separation.

Sylvia Plath poet:


Paradoxically, it is these episodes of intense suffering that will feed the most, and beneficially, the writings of Sylvia Plath. 

"For the one who is under the glass bell, empty and frozen like a dead baby, the world itself was just a bad dream," she writes in "The Bell Jar" (French translation may slightly to distort the written word).

"I saw the years of my life punctuating a road like telegraph poles, connected by wires. I counted one, two, three ... nineteen poles ... but after, the wires Dancing in the void, and despite all my efforts, I did not see a single post after the nineteenth. " she writes in the same novel.

Sylvia Plath poetry - under the sign of winter


If Sylvia Plath's crises of depression often occur in winter, echoing the season of her father's death, and inspired her the most striking passages of his work.

Thus, his poetry is characterized by heavy images and metaphors, set in scenes of icy winter and dark. Here are some of his poems translated into French:


"Les lavis bleus de l'aube se diluent doucement
Posé sur son buvard de brume
Chaque arbre est un dessin d'herbier – 
Mémoires accroissant cercle à cercle
Une série d'alliances.

Plus de clabaudages et d'avortements,
Plus vrais que des femmes,
Ils sont de semaison si simple!
Frôlant les souffles déliés
Mais plongeant profond dans l'histoire –

Et longés d'ailes, ouverts à l'au-delà.
En cela pareils à Léda.
Ô mère des feuillages, mère de la douceur
Qui sont ces vierges de pitié?
Des ombres de ramiers usant leur berceuse inutile."

"Arbres deliver", Sylvia Plath




Sylvia Plath death:


Sylvia Plath will end her life on February 11, 1963, at the end of one of England's harshest winters. "To die is an art, like everything else," she had written.

The poetess was only 30 when she fell into a deep depression. In the process of divorce following adultery, she had been living in an apartment in London with her two children for only a few months.

This is where she decides to lie in the kitchen and open the gas, after taking care to protect her daughter and son, who slept on the top floor, by caulking the kitchen.

In 1982, she won a Pulitzer Prize posthumously. A large part of his poetry was published after his death: this is the case of "Ariel", which was a huge success.

At the beginning of 1998, her husband published "Birthday Letters", 35 years after the disappearance of Sylvia Plath: a tribute to the poet who shared her life for seven years.

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