Bell Jar

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A novel by S. Plath, published 1963 under the pseudonym of Victoria Lucas, and under her own name in 1966.

It opens in New York in the summer of 1953 as the narrator, Esther Greenwood, a highly ambitious intelligent college girl from Boston, spends time working on a training programme for a women's magazine and throws herself recklessly into the dangers of city life. Her story is interwoven with recollections of her boyfriend, Yale medical student Buddy Willard, who represents in part the threats of the flesh, in part the dullness of the provincial existence she fears will engulf her. She returns home, suffers a nervous breakdown, undergoes ECT, attempts suicide, is kept in psychiatric care, and in the penultimate chapter succeeds in losing her virginity to a mathematics professor. At the end of the novel she prepares to leave the asylum and return to college. The subject matter of the novel is highly autobiographical.

Subjects: Literature.

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Sylvia Plath (1932—1963) poet and writer

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