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Sylvia Plath had the instincts of a literary tourist

In 1962 Sylvia Plath decided to return to London from Devon, where her marriage to Ted Hughes had fallen apart. In November of that year she and her two children moved into a maisonette at 23 Fitzroy Road,  a house in which W.B Yeats had lived as a boy. Plath reportedly liked this connection and saw it as a good omen. Each morning at four o’clock she would get up to write in a “white heat” what would become known as the Ariel poems. Less than three months later she committed suicide.

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3 Responses to “Sylvia Plath had the instincts of a literary tourist”

  1. df Says:

    Nigel, I feel like you posted this for me. I’ve stood right there, in front of 23 Fitzroy Road, and wondered what those final months were like for Plath. The fact that Yeats lived there in his childhood is amazing (I’ve also visited another of his homes in Howth, near Dublin). The ‘white heat’ of Plath’s writing is so evident in what she produced, and it still feels to me that somehow she produced what she was meant to, although the cost to her was much too high.

  2. Nigel Beale Says:

    Just watched this beautifully produced show on Plath over the weekend; you might enjoy it: . Several weeks ago was in Northampton, MA to visit Smith College special collections library where I held the original manuscript of ‘Daddy’ in my hands. Later stopped by the house in which Plath and Hughes lived the year she taught at the college. Will post photos shortly!

  3. df Says:

    Thanks so much for this Nigel, I will definitely take the time to watch it. Lucky you visiting the house IN MA and holding that manuscript! I’ll watch for those photos.

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