Posts Tagged Sylvia Plath
Black Butterflies 
Director: Paula van der Oest
Starring: Carice van Houten, Liam Cunningham, Rutger Hauer
–about the volatile life of South African poet Ingrid Jonker
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig
Director: Christine Jeffs
–focuses on relationship between poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
Starring: Judi Densch, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet
Director: Richard Eyre
–lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley from their days as students through her battle with Alzheimer’s disease
Becoming Jane 
Starring: Anne Hathaway
Director: Julian Jarrold
–pre-fame Jane Austen and her romance with a young Irishman
Miss Potter 
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson
Director: Chris Noonan
–Beatrix Potter, the author of the beloved and best-selling children’s book, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”
The Children of the Century 
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Benoit Magimel
Director: Diane Kurys
–love affair between novelist George Sand and author Alfred de Musset
Mrs. Parker and the Viscous Circle 
Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Cambell Scott, Peter Gallagher
Director: Alan Rudolph
–Dorothy Parker and her heyday with the Algonquin Round Table circle of friends
Starring: Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, Mandy Patinkin
Director: James Lapine
–writer George Sand pursues pianist/composer Frederic Chopin in 1830s France
An Angel at My Table 
Starring: Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson
Director: Jane Campion
–Janet Frame grows up with lots of brothers and sisters in a poor family in 1920s and 1930s New Zealand. She always feels different from others. After getting education as a teacher, she’s sent to a mental institution for eight years. She gains success when she begins writing novels.
[reprinted from March 2013]
As an English major at a women’s college (Simmons College in Boston), I didn’t read as many women authors as you’d think. I remember a Victorian Experience class with George Eliot as one of the authors along with Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens, naturally. I took a wonderful summer course at Emerson College that included Edith Wharton on the syllabus and I immediately fell for her. Upon graduating I’ve made up for not reading that many female authors and likely read more female than male authors. As with any business, I know that the literary world’s filled with many more big-name male authors and lesser-known female authors. More literary prizes go to men than to women. Female authors usually get pushed into the “women’s fiction” a.k.a. “chick lit” genre whereas men nearly always write literary fiction, mystery/thriller and nonfiction. There’s little parity. So I’m all for this #ReadWomen2014 movement.
Here are 25 of my favorite books by women, a mix of classic and modern, if you need some reading suggestions:
1. Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton
2. The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
3. A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
4. Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton
5. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
6. Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker
7. The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
8. Intuition by Allegra Goldman
9. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
10. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
11. Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende
12. The Good Earth by Pearl Buck
13. The Revolution of Every Day by Cari Luna
14. The Group by Mary McCarthy
15. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
16. Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark
17. The Vagabond by Collette
18. The Education of Harriet Hatfield by May Sarton
19. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
20. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
21. Possession by A.S. Byatt
22. Don’t Cry by Mary Gaitskill
23. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
24. The Wholeness of a Broken Heart by Katie Singer
25. On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Now this particular girl
During a ceremonious April walk
With her latest suitor
Found herself, of a sudden, intolerably struck
By the birds’ irregular babel
And the leaves’ litter.
By this tumult afflicted, she
Observed her lover’s gestures unbalance the air,
His gait stray uneven
Through a rank wilderness of fern and flower.
She judged petals in disarray,
The whole season, sloven.
How she longed for winter then!—
Scrupulously austere in its order
Of white and black
Ice and rock, each sentiment within border
And heart’s frosty discipline
Exact as a snowflake.
But here—a burgeoning
Unruly enough to pitch her five queenly wits
Into vulgar motley—
A treason not to be borne. Let idiots
Reel giddy in bedlam spring:
She withdrew neatly.
And round her house she set
Such a barricade of barb and check
Against mutinous weather
As no mere insurgent man could hope to break
With curse, fist, threat
Or love, either.
I do not want a plain box, I want a sarcophagus
With tigery stripes, and a face on it
Round as the moon, to stare up.
I want to be looking at them when they come
Picking among the dumb minerals, the roots.
I see them already–the pale, star-distance faces.
Now they are nothing, they are not even babies.
I imagine them without fathers or mothers, like the first gods.
They will wonder if I was important.
I should sugar and preserve my days like fruit!
My mirror is clouding over —
A few more breaths, and it will reflect nothing at all.
The flowers and the faces whiten to a sheet.
I do not trust the spirit. It escapes like steam
In dreams, through mouth-hole or eye-hole. I can’t stop it.
One day it won’t come back. Things aren’t like that.
They stay, their little particular lusters
Warmed by much handling. They almost purr.
When the soles of my feet grow cold,
The blue eye of my turquoise will comfort me.
Let me have my copper cooking pots, let my rouge pots
Bloom about me like night flowers, with a good smell.
They will roll me up in bandages, they will store my heart
Under my feet in a neat parcel.
I shall hardly know myself. It will be dark,
And the shine of these small things sweeter than the face of Ishtar.