Book Review: “The Bell Jar” (1963) by Sylvia Plath

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“An Education” (2009) still.

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“Sylvia Plath – interesting poetess whose tragic suicide was misinterpreted as romantic by the college girl mentality.”

Annie Hall (1977)

That quote is the perfect illustration of why it can be difficult to say that you love Sylvia Plath, especially for young women; her name and the title of her novel have become synonymous with a whole set of implications neither Plath nor the reader ever asked for.

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Literary Theory: “The Madwoman in the Attic” (1979) by Susan Gubar and Sandra M. Gilbert

“Penny Dreadful” still.

“It would not be too much to say that Anglo-American feminist criticism barely existed before [Gilbert and Gubar] rocked literary studies.”

Deborah D. Rogers, The Times Higher Education.

In 1979, Susan Gubar and Sandra M. Gilbert published The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, a hallmark of second-wave feminist criticism. Over 700 pages long, The Madwoman in the Attic presents an analysis of a trope found in 19th-century literature. Gilbert and Gubar proposed that all female characters in male-authored novels can be categorised as either an angel or a monster; women in fiction were either pure and submissive or sensual, rebellious, and uncontrollable (very undesirable qualities in a Victorian daughter/mother/wife).

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Book Review: “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” (1891) by Thomas Hardy

Gemma Arterton in the 2008 BBC adaptation.

Gemma Arterton in the 2008 BBC adaptation.

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When I first read Tess of the D’Urbervilles, I was nineteen years old; every fifty pages or so I would let out a sound of frustration, slam the book shut, and fume silently with my arms crossed for a few minutes before sighing and picking it up again. Tess made me angry. Six years and a whole lot of gender studies later, this book makes me furious.

And that is a good thing.

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