A confessional poet, an extremist poet, a post-romantic poet, a pre-feminist poet, a suicidal poet — all these terms have been used (and are still being used) in attempts to define and explain Sylvia Plath’s writing. Some critics have seen her as schizoid, carrier of a death wish that they perceive in everything she ever wrote. Others have seen her as the victim of male brutality, destroyed by a faithless husband, having been undermined by an ambitious mother, over compensating for her own inadequate marriage. There will no doubt be other equally extravagant ‘explanations’ of her writing in the future, since, like the works of Keats, with whom she shares the dubious honour of having died young, her writing does not slot easily into categories and headings.
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