New York: Harper & Row, 1971. First American edition. A just about Fine example with the slightest rubs to the spine extremities of the dust-jacket. A lovely example. First published in the UK under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas in 1963. The Bell Jar was Plath's first novel, which was largely autobiographical, paralleling and documenting her downward spiral into mental illness. Plath committed suicide a month after initial publication in 1963.
Through her character Esther Greenwood, Plath unfolds a fictionalized account of her own life that is "told with blistering honesty and vivid attention to detail. It's a raw, unsettling book with flashes of brilliance, a roman a clef that's a tormented footnote to Plath's tormented poetry" (The Guardian). Like Plath herself, Esther struggles in the space between genius and madness; having escaped from a controlling mother, she seeks to own her life but falls into a deep and smothering depression. "Esther's predicament is how to develop a mature identity as a woman, and be true to that self rather than conform to societal norms. It's this quest that makes The Bell Jar a founding text of Anglo-American feminism" (The Guardian).
The Guardian 100 Best Novels. Feminist Companion 859. Near Fine in Near Fine dust jacket. (Item #3220)