JOHNNY PANIC AND THE BIBLE OF DREAMS: Short Stories, Prose and Diary Excerpts by Sylvia Plath

JOHNNY PANIC AND THE BIBLE OF DREAMS: Short Stories, Prose and Diary Excerpts

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KIRKUS REVIEW

These gleanings from Sylvia Plath's largely unpublished prose are sure to interest the admirers of her poetry.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.

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row