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Views & Reviews Medical classics

The Bell Jar

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 21 June 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1325
  1. Iain McClure, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, Murray Royal Hospital, Perth
  1. imcclure{at}

    Chiefly celebrated for her “confessional poetry,” Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was also ambitious to break new ground with prose. Poignantly, The Bell Jar, published under a pseudonym a month before her death, was her only attempt at the novel form. One of the compelling aspects of this increasingly respected novel is the degree of connection between the troubled life of its heroine, Esther Greenwood, and Plath herself. Inevitably, as we encounter Esther's subtle mental breakdown and successive suicide attempts, we are drawn further into the now …

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