Sylvia Plath: Life and Works: Timeline

Sylvia Plath: Life and Works: Timeline

Sylvia Plath: Life and Works: Timeline

Sylvia Plath: Life and Works: Timeline


Sylvia Plath: Life and Works: Timeline

“Some writers are born to be perpetual exiles and think of themselves as sea creatures.”   (American Isis The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath by Carl Rollyson)

27 October 1932: Sylvia Plath was born in Boston, three weeks early at 2:10 P.M. at Robinson Memorial Hospital while her family lives in Winthrop, Massachusetts.

Her mother was Aurelia Schober Plath and Otto Plath was her father. The name ‘Sylvia’ was taken from “the herb salvia and the poetic adjective sylvan” The name connotes Otto and Aurelia’s interests -botany and poetry.

1934: Otto Plath was an entomologist and a professor of biology at Boston University. He publishes Bumblebees and Their Ways, a landmark study in entomology.

27 April 1935: Warren, Sylvia’s brother is born.

1936: The family moved to Johnson Avenue in Winthrop Centre near grandparents, Schober home.

21 September 1938: The great New England hurricane occurs.

5 November 1940: Otto Plath dies of an embolism after an amputation. Sylvia and Warren do not attend the funeral. But the death of her father left lasting psychological scars on Plath.

10 August 1941: Sylvia’s first poem is published in the Boston Herald.

1942: Aurelia Plath along with Schobers moves her family to  23 Elmwood Road in Wellesley, Massachusetts and Aurelia begins teaching at Boston University.

Sylvia from a very early childhood wrote poems and stories. She was also proving her excellency as an artist. She often illustrates her own books, notecards, and sketchbooks.

1944: Sylvia enrols in Alice L. Phillips Jr. High School and begins keeping a journal and writes for her junior high school literary magazine, the Philippian.

20 January 1945: Sylvia and her mother attend a performance of The Tempest in Boston.

6, 9 August 1945: Atomic bombs dropped on Japan.

1947: Sylvia enters Gamaliel Bradford Senior High School in Wellesley. During this time she coedits the school newspaper, the Bradford.

1950: Sylvia is accepted as a scholarship student at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, and lives on campus in Haven House. She publishes a story in Seventeen and a poem in The Christian Science Monitor.

August 1950: Sylvia publishes “And Summer Will Not Come Again” in Seventeen.

1950–51: A scholarship student at Smith College, Plath begins dating Dick Norton (the model for Buddy Willard of The Bell Jar).

1951–52: She works at a hotel and then as a mother’s helper to earn spending money.

1952: Sylvia’s short story “Sunday at the Mintons” wins a prize and is published in Mademoiselle.

1952: She was chosen as a guest editor in Mademoiselle’s College Board Contest for one month in New York City as a magazine editor. But the new life that she encounters -expensive neals, meeting celebrities, parties, wine, gossip, dating all seem artificial to her.

This general disillusionment is reflected in her novel: The Bell Jar.

June 1953: Plath experiences an intense period in New York City at Mademoiselle and finds it exhilarating, then exhausting.

Returning home to Wellesley in late June, she becomes depressed, and then receives electroconvulsive shock treatment on 24 August.  She attempts suicide.

1954: She returns to Smith for the Spring semester. She attends Harvard summer school.

1955: Sylvia graduates summa cum laude and leaves for England as a Fulbright scholar at Newnham College, Cambridge.

By early May the news got even better: Sylvia was awarded the Mademoiselle guest editorship. She had been selected by the magazine’s college board, headed by Marybeth Little.

September 1955: Plath arrives in England.

25 February 1956: First meeting with Ted Hughes.

Sylvia Plath: Life and Works: Timeline

16 June 1956: Plath and Hughes marry secretly with her mother in attendance.

1957: Plath earns her Cambridge degree, and the couple moves to America.

1957: Plath and Hughes summer at Cape Cod. Then they move to Northampton. There Sylvia begins teaching freshman English at Smith for the year while Ted obtains a part-time teaching position at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

 1958: The couple moves to Boston, and Sylvia resumes treatment with Dr Ruth Beuscher. She takes part-time jobs to concentrate on her writing.

 1959: She enrols in Robert Lowell’s poetry seminar and meets the poets Anne Sexton and George Starbuck.

 Sylvia and Ted spend a summer at Yaddo, the writer’s colony in Saratoga Springs, New York and then sail in December to return to England.

1960: Plath and Hughes rent a London flat. Ist April Frieda Rebecca, their first child, is born.

October, 1960: The Colossus, Plath’s first book, is published in England.

6 February 1961: Plath has a miscarriage.

28 February 1961: Plath undergoes an appendectomy;

March 1961: Plath begins writing The Bell Jar.

July 1961: The couple purchases a manor house, Court Green in North Tawton, Devon.

17 January 1962: Nicholas Farrar Hughes is born.

May 1962: David and Assia Wevill visit Court Green.

July 1962: Sylvia Plath receives a call that kills their marriage—Plath discovers her husband’s infidelity with Assia Wevill.

October 1962: The couple separates, and Hughes moves to London.

December 1962: Plath moves to a London flat with her two children.

January 1963: The Bell Jar is published in England under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas.

11 February 1963: Plath commits suicide in her London flat.

1965: Ted Hughes published her poem collection: Ariel.

1966: The Bell Jar is published in England under Plath’s name.

1969 23rd March: Assia Wevill commits suicide along with her four-year-old daughter Shura from Ted Hughes.

1970: Ted Hughes marries Carol Orchard.

1971: The Bell Jar was published in the United States. It has sold more than 2 million copies.

1975: Aurelia collected and edited her daughter’s letters as Letters Home.

1981: Hughes publishes The Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath.

1982: The Collected Poems is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, posthumously.


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