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.
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.