Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001
Subject: Sylvia Plath SELBSTMORD [German: "self-murderer"]

Sylvia Plath is to mental illness/disability (as objected by others earlier on
this list, 7/10) as was Faulkner in regard to racism, or Eza Pound in regards to
anti-semitism or fascism.

Their ultimate wrong-doing potentially invalidates their entire oeuvre, . . .
except as an empty aesthetic shell, appreciable for its style but "evil" in its

Only worse. Perhaps more like Paul De Man and post-structuralism, or that
convict protegé of Norman Mailer's whose snuff lit Mailer championed, who then
went on to kill that East Village waiter.

Pound etc. are problematic in that, after all, they went no further than testing
the limits of free speech. They never killed anyone.

Plath/Sexton used writing as a public announcement of the intention to murder.
The work outlines a programmatic plan to kill. Poetic death threats in print.

This is exactly where a Hannah Weiner or James Schuyler or whoever become a heroic antithesis, in their strength of character to endure through substantial decay
and the humiliation of survival until the anticlimax of a natural, slightly pathetic, elderly death.

In the mid-'70s/late '80s, its heyday, --- I can think of at least three
separate locked ward people I knew --- The Bell Jar was studied like a how-to
manual before suicide attempts, the way The Turner Diaries is more recently
used by the Michigan Militia.

Plath's work thinly and only temporarily sublimated an eventually cold-blooded

---in my opinion.