ENG540: Her/His Stories Plath Hughes

Sylvia Plath (author of The Bell Jar) gained acclaim for the striking collection of poems, Ariel, which she left completed on her desk before her suicide in 1963.

Sylvia Plath (author of The Bell Jar) gained acclaim for the striking collection of poems, Ariel, which she left completed on her desk before her suicide in 1963. What many do not know, however, is that her then-estranged husband and editor, poet Ted Hughes, significantly altered this manuscript (which she had intended to be titled Ariel and Other Poems) before publishing it in 1965 - by including poems that were meant to be part of a separate manuscript and taking out poems, some of which were condemning to him. He revealed this 16 years after the fact, and during that time, the collection that he had refashioned became iconic. Through a close examination of the two versions of Ariel, and through the editing and writing of their own poem sequences, students will be asked to consider the narrative and thematic arc of a collection, the creative process, and the influence and complexities of editorship.