Friday, September 23, 2011

First Lines Second Thoughts — The Bell Jar



First Lines Second Thoughts is a look at the first lines of well known literary works. On second thought, do these opening words stand alone as poetry? Today we look at The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Published in 1963.

It was a queer,
sultry summer,
the summer they electrocuted
the Rosenbergs,
and I didn't know
what I was doing
in New York.

—  Sylvia Plath

Described as a fictional account of the author's descent into madness The Bell Jar was first published under the pseudonym Victoria Lewis. Sylvia Plath committed suicide a month after its initial publication. It did not appear under her name until 1967 and was not published in her native United States until 1971.