When Sylvia Plath died, she not only left behind a prolific life but also her unpublished literary masterpiece, Ariel. Her husband, Ted Hughes, brought the collection to life in 1966, and its publication garnered worldwide acclaim. This collection showcases the beloved poet’s brilliant, provoking, and always moving poems, including "Ariel" and once again shows why readers have fallen in love with her work throughout the generations.
Along with withholding (or allegedly destroying) one of Plath's journals after her death in 1963, Plath's husband, the late English poet laureate Ted Hughes, brought out a version of her second and final book of poems, Ariel, that differed from the manuscript she left on her desk. That edition--for which Hughes dropped 12 poems, added 12 composed a few months later, shifted the poems' ordering and included an introduction by Robert Lowell--has become a classic. The present edition restores the 12 missing poems, drops the 12 added ones, and prints the manuscript in Plath's own order, followed by a facsimile of the typescript Plath left, along with a foreword by Plath and Hughes's daughter Frieda Hughes (Wooroloo), several hand- and typewritten drafts of the book's title poem and notes by David Semanki. The original manuscript's contents have been widely known since Hughes published them in the 1981 Collected Poems, but there is an undeniable thrill to reading Plath's book as she left it--the lacerating "The Rabbit Catcher," left out of the Ted Hughes edition, comes third here, with its rhyme of "force" with "gorse," the flowers of which "had an efficiency, a great beauty,/ And were extravagant, like torture." As to whether this version is a better book, only time will tell. For now, despite Frieda Hughes's repeated references to her father's respect for Plath's work, tally another shot in the Plath wars.