Sunday, February 17, 2013

Plath drahms

1. Sylvia Plath's death date rolled around last week.  I know this because I in some fucking incomprehensible moment had recorded it in my phone's calendar, and so on the morning of Feb. 11 received an alert that said "Plath 1963".  What?  I don't even.  And secondly, I noticed multiple blurbs on the internet and in the news.  I found it a little strange that her death date was so widely marked.  What other celebrities are as well known for their deaths as they are for their lives?  I hate that she's handled as such a grisly specter.  Does anyone ever talk about Hemingway's suicide?  Even Hunter Thompson's death is just a little footnote, but it's a big old deal when talking about Plath or Woolf or Sexton or whatever.  Is it more shocking when women kill themselves?  Or are people just focusing on their biographical details instead of their bodies of work, as usual.

2. Certain persons of taste are pissed off at the generic and lame cover chosen for Faber & Faber's 50th anniversary edition of The Bell Jar, which would imply that the book is a kicky vintage adventure rather than a broody, complex masterpiece.  Apparently, the book should come in packaging that suggests the difference between it and lower tiers of fiction.  Clearly, the argument is kind of asinine and can't be made without making some unkind characterizations of other types of books.  Then again, perhaps silly mispackaging is just another way for the world to try to negate something it doesn't care to understand.  I've seen a lot of stupid and confusing covers on many classic books.  Sometimes publishers are just tasteless, right?  More here.

I went to google to view prior covers of The Bell Jar, and noticed that tons of past covers have been every bit as dumb and irrelevant as this one.  Perhaps I should speculate on what each cover is trying to suggest about the book:

Note the dead rose. This book must be hell of dark. Incidentally, my favorite cover.

The scandal-making cover. This book is about a glamorous girl having an affair or something. Also, the 60s.

Obviously, this book is about craziness, because circles.

This book is about an exciting trip to New York!

An early cover, still bearing the pseudonym of Victoria Lucas.  This one pretty much says it, right?

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