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Sylvia Plath
A black-and-white photo of a woman with her hair up, looking to the left of the camera lens
Plath photographed in July 1961 at her Chalcot Square flat in London
Born (1932-10-27)October 27, 1932
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Died February 11, 1963(1963-02-11) (aged 30)
London, England, UK
Resting place Heptonstall Church near Vermaak’s Farm, West Yorkshire, England
Pen name Victoria Lucas
  • Poet
  • novelist
  • short story writer
Language English
Nationality American
Alma mater Smith College (BA)
Newnham College, Cambridge
Period 1960–63
  • Poetry
  • fiction
  • short story
Literary movement Confessional poetry
Notable works The Bell Jar and Ariel
Notable awards
  • Fulbright Scholarship
  • Glascock Prize
  • Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
    1982 The Collected Poems
Ted Hughes
(m. 1956; her death 1963)
  • Otto Plath (father)
  • Aurelia Schober (mother)

Signature Sylvia Plath
23 Fitzroy Road, London - Sylvia Plath - W.B. Yeats
The house where Sylvia Plath lived

Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was an American writer. She was most well known for her poetry, but she also wrote novels, children's books, and short stories. Her most well-known novel is The Bell Jar, which was partly based on her life. She married another famous poet, Ted Hughes. She suffered from bipolar disorder.

Early life

Plath was born in 1932 in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Her parents were called Otto Emile Plath and Aurelia Schober Plath. Her father, Otto, was from Germany; her mother was Austrian American. He was a college professor and wrote a book about bumblebees. Aurelia Plath was ten years younger than her husband. In April 1935, Plath's younger brother Warren was born. The family moved to Winthrop, Massachusetts in 1936. This was where Aurelia had grown up. Plath published her first poem here, when she was eight. It was in the children's section of a newspaper called the Boston Herald.

In 1940, Otto Plath died. He was buried in Winthrop cemetery. In 1942, Aurelia and the children moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts.


Plath went to Smith College. After her third year, she became a guest editor for a magazine called Mademoiselle, and spent a month in New York City. At this time, she became depressed. She went to a mental hospital called McLean Hospital and was treated for her depression. She was given a treatment called electric shock therapy. She began to improve and was able to graduate from Smith College in 1955.

Plath then went to the University of Cambridge in England, on a scholarship called the Fulbright scholarship. She attended Newnham College, Cambridge and carried on writing poetry. She also wrote for the student newspaper at Cambridge. At a party she met an English poet called Ted Hughes. She married him on June 16, 1956.

Later life

After they were married, Plath and Hughes went to live in the United States. Plath taught at her old college, Smith College. They met and became friends with a poet named W. S. Merwin. Plath found out that she was pregnant. They moved back to England. They lived in London for a while, and then in a small town in Devon called North Tawton. Plath published her first collection of poems. It was called The Colossus. In February 1961 she had a miscarriage. She wrote about her miscarriage in some of her poems.

Plath and Hughes' marriage was unhappy. Plath and Hughes separated (lived apart) in 1962. Plath moved to London with their children, Frieda and Nicholas.

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