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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 379M • Sylvia Plath

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34548 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
PAR 208

Course Description

Sylvia Plath is regarded as one of the most inventive and influential contemporary poets. We will spend a good deal of time on close readings of her late poems, particularly those written in the months before she died at age 30.

We will also devote time to discussing topics such as: Plath's astonishingly fast development as a poet; her autobiographically-based novel The Bell Jar; her relation to feminism and the history of women's literature (Plath took her life in 1963, the year in which Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique was published); Plath's creative partnership with poet Ted Hughes, whom she married in 1956; questions concerning biography and poetry; the ways in which her poetry both fits and resists categorization as 'confessional' poetry.

Grading Policy

One short paper (5-6 pages); term paper (10-15 pages); written class presentation (5 pages).
Papers and presentation: 80%
Class participation: 20%


Books to be read or consulted include:
By Sylvia Plath: The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath; Ariel: The Restored Edition: A Facsimile of Plath's Manuscript; The Bell Jar
Birthday letters, by Ted Hughes
Her Husband, by Diane Middlebrook
Chapters in a Mythology: The Poetry of Sylvia Plath, by Judith Kroll (2007 edition)


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