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Literature / Ariel (Plath)

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This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary.
The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.
"The Moon and the Yew Tree"

Ariel is a collection of poetry by Sylvia Plath. Published posthumously, it's her most well known work (well, that or The Bell Jar), and her most critically acclaimed. Ariel is generally regarded to be one of the most important books of poetry of the twentieth century.

Ariel was originally published in 1965, two years after Plath died, by her husband Ted Hughes. However, the contents of this edition weren't exactly what Plath wrote the contents were to be, and another version (called "The Restored Edition") was published in 2004, with Plath's original table of contents.

This Book Contains:

  • Animal Motif : Bees, in a collection of poems written around the author's bee-keeping ventures. Also cows, and the occasional bird.
    • The title itself is the name of Plath's horse, and comes from a poem in which she describes the feeling of oneness she shares with the animal while riding.
  • Audio Adaptation: Sylvia Plath read several of the poems from Ariel on a radio show for the BBC in 1952, including "Lady Lazarus," "Daddy," "Fever 103," "Ariel," "The Applicant," and "A Birthday Present." You can still find them, too - in a collection the Beeb did, or online (if you know where to look.)
  • Foreign Language Title: "Berck-Plage," "Purdah."
  • Gratuitous German: Lots, but most notable in "Daddy" and "Berck-Plage"
  • The Grotesque: The narrator of "Lady Lazarus" describes herself as a sideshow freak.
  • Literary Allusion Title: "Ariel," "Lady Lazarus," "Nick and the Candlestick," "Gulliver," "Mary's Song."
  • The Mistress: The other woman in "The Rival."
  • Parental Abandonment: The father of the narrator of "Daddy" (and Sylvia Plath's own father) died when she was young, resulting in the narrator feeling abandoned.
  • Signature Style: It's not until Ariel that Sylvia Plath really developed hers.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: The narrator of "Lesbos" is definitely getting this vibe from her husband and friends.
  • Taken for Granite: The woman in "Edge" is (metaphorically) this.
  • Updated Re-release: The 2004 edition.