Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: And Other Prose Writings

Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: And Other Prose Writings

Paperback

By (author) Sylvia Plath

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  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 196mm x 22mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 9 April 2001
  • ISBN 10: 0571049893
  • ISBN 13: 9780571049899
  • Sales rank: 75,216

Product description

I lay there alone in bed, feeling the black shadow creeping up the underside of the world like a flood tide. Nothing held, nothing was left. The silver airplanes and the silver capes all dissolved and vanished, wiped away like the crude drawings of a child in coloured chalk from the colossal blackboard of the dark. The writings in this collection outline Plath's early preoccupation with issues of mental illness, creativity and femininity, all of which would become recurrent themes in her later work. They offer special insight into her development as a writer, and arguably paved the way for her only full-length piece of prose writing, the loosely veiled fictional autobiography, The Bell Jar. This second edition contains the thirteen stories included in the first edition together with five pieces of her journalism, as well as a few fragments from her journal; and a further nine stories selected from the Indiana archive.

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Author information

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright scholarship, where she met and later married Ted Hughes. She published one collection of poems in her lifetime, The Colossus (1960), and a novel, The Bell Jar (1963); Ariel was published posthumously in 1965. Her Collected Poems, which contains her poetry written from 1956 until her death, was published in 1981 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Editorial reviews

These gleanings from Sylvia Plath's largely unpublished prose are sure to interest the admirers of her poetry. And students of the psychology of creativity will be intrigued too, because it is all here: the soul laid bare, the true confessions, mostly of despair, and the fumbling attempts toward commercial success, inhibited by the interior doubts. Her husband, Ted Hughes, contributes a thoughtful introduction, arguing that these little pieces - arranged in reverse chronological order, stories next to journal entries - have value "if only as notes toward her inner biography," but admitting that probably "her real creation was her own image." He convincingly connects the Flaubertian drudgery of her daily recording of details to the solidity of the last Ariel poems. Sylvia wished above all to be a successful writer of successful, marketable short stories, and had not, at the time of her death, succeeded. Would she ever have? One may, if one cares to, speculate about her schizophrenia, "this absolutely new white person and the old yellow one." Her problem was that she had a Mademoiselle mind and a New Yorker ambition; her wide reading and her earthy intelligence fused only occasionally, in those late poems. Here we have the record of her ambition - and a few glimpses of its partial fruition. (Kirkus Reviews)