Sylvia Plath is one of the best-known women poets of the twentieth century. Her fame has eclipsed even that of great, world-famous female poets, such as the Russian Anna Akhmatova, or Gabriela Mistral, the Chilean writer who won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1945. Yet unlike those poets, whose international reputations were established during their lifetime, Plath’s fame came more slowly, growing gradually after her death in 1963 to the point where, at the end of the century, she had acquired an almost mythical status, inspiring dozens of biographies, critical studies, memoirs, performances and even, by 2003, a Hollywood film about her life, with Gwyneth Paltrow playing Sylvia.
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