Sylvia Plath: Drawings

“It gives me such a sense of peace to draw.”

sylvia plath coverWith the recent release of Sylvia Plath’s drawings, we get a glimpse at a side of the writer that was previously a mystery to most. The book is a collection of the author’s drawings and sketches, along with letters and diary entries edited and with an introduction by her daughter, Frieda Hughes. Frieda states, “She had dreams of grandeur in hoping that the New Yorker might use her illustrations alongside her written work, as the Christian Science Monitor did.”

Paired with the personal letters and diaries, one can track Plath’s progression as a secret visual artist. The book is divided into four sections, each titled ‘Drawings from…’ [insert England, France, Spain, USA]. The correspondences and diary entries that precede the drawings are a curious thing. They, of course, give insight into one of our favorite American authors. She speaks gushingly of her courses and scholarship, along with her husband, poet Ted Hughes. To see the subjects and point of views change ever so slightly when she is in a new locale at a new point her life is where I find most pleasure.

Drawings is a brief book and by the end, I was unhappily reminded of a great writer who left us with too little. The book closes with a timeline of her life, which was a stark comparison to the jovial letters and diary entries that were included.

In the gallery below, I’ve chosen some of my favorites. Also, included is the article with illustration that Sylvia Plath had accepted by the Christian Science Monitor. 



    1. I was really pleasantly surprised by her drawings. There is a bit of text beforehand by herself and her daughter’s intro speaking about having her drawings appear in the New Yorker and how she would have liked to shake things up a bit against their same-old-same-old. I think she could have. Glad to see that at least the Christian Science Monitor printed the image with her article.

  1. I first saw Plath’s drawings when I discovered The Bell Jar (not a great combination with for a 15-year-old with angst) and was dreaming of some day becoming an illustrator (an old skool pen and ink illustrator, way before computers…). I couldn’t believe what an amazing artist and draftsperson she was. Her drawings, the strength of her lines, showed such confidence and a grasp of reality and mastery of rendering her surroundings, yet they seemed so at odds with her pain and fragility expressed in her memoir.

    Somehow it made her suicide that much sadder. Many artists would have been grateful just to have her drawing ablility…

    I am so glad that there is finally a monograph- will run right out and get it. Great post!

    1. This was the first time (I think) that I ever saw her drawings. I was surprised about how much I liked them and in this book of her drawings, it includes some of her letters that seemed so positive. It was a different side of Plath and it was an enjoyable one. In a way, it makes me want to re-read The Bell Jar to see the contrast or similarities.

      I hope to read your opinion when you get a copy of the book!

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