The Colossus and Crossing the Water

Gill, J. (2006) The Colossus and Crossing the Water. In: Gill, J. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath. Series: Cambridge companions to literature. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge ; New York, pp. 90-106. ISBN 9780521844963 (doi: 10.1017/CCOL0521844967.007)

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Sylvia Plath's first collection, The Colossus and Other Poems, was published in England in October 1960 and in the US in 1962. Crossing the Water, the third of Plath's collections, was published posthumously, after Ariel, in 1971. It contains some poems written around the same time as those in The Colossus ('Private Ground' (CW) and 'The Manor Garden' (C) were both written in 1959) and others which predate, or in some cases coincide with, the poems of Ariel; 'In Plaster' (CW), for example, was written on the same day as Ariel's 'Tulips'. The poems in these two collections, then, span some five or six years. They include a range of voices, themes and styles and have their roots in diverse locations; the American coast and desert, the Yorkshire moors, Cambridge, Devon and numerous indeterminate and imaginary places. Influenced by Yeats, Eliot, Auden and Marianne Moore, among others, they look back to classical mythology, to Shakespeare and to folk stories. Ted Hughes describes these poems as mathematical in design and as a form of science or alchemy (WP, pp. 174, 180-82, J Abr., p. xiii). One might equally think of them as visual and painterly, as influenced by art and sculpture (Brueghel, de Chirico, Baskin, Gaugin, Klee ( J, p. 359)). And one might also note their struggle to represent the unconscious and unknown.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gill, Professor Jo
Authors: Gill, J.
College/School:College of Arts
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
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