Saturday, May 05, 2007

Addendum to the Plath Complex

My previous post on Sylvia Plath got the most feedback I’ve ever received, both in comments (I know, 3! Wow! Thanks to those who commented) and in verbal communication. Shortly after I wrote the post, the intern who “didn’t like Sylvia Plath,” went out and bought the Pulitzer Prize winning Collected Poems , and now she’s a convert.

One of my friends mentioned in the post e-mailed me to say he felt I had characterized him as a “beer-swilling, unintelligent woman-hater.” I want to clarify that he did at one point express interest in giving Plath’s poems “a look.” Whether he has or not, I’ve yet to confirm. I’d also like to mention that on one of the first occasions where we spent time alone together, he was able to speak at length on the beauty of To the Lighthouse , and I’ve continued to be impressed with his literary prowess ever since.

One of the highlights of this past week was reading “Letter in November” and “Street Song” with the newly minted Plath fan over dinner. As we discussed these poems and others, I thought to myself, perhaps someplace other people, male or female, are doing the same. Just yesterday, I was re-reading The Bell Jar, when one of my colleagues stepped up and asked, “Are you a SP fan?” And I said “Yes, are you?” To which she replied, cheerfully, “Of course!” Perhaps, right now, there’s a thirteen year old girl picking up Ariel for the first time, or an eighteen year old recent high school graduate picking up Plath’s Unabridged Diaries at a Borders bookstore while visiting Northwestern University. One can only hope.