Books: Lady Lazarus

THE BELL JAR by Sylvia Plath. 296 pages. Harper & Row. $6.95.

This book, which is just now scaling the bestseller lists, has actually been around for eight years. It was published in London, without causing much commercial stir, shortly before the author, a young American poet, killed herself. Bringing it out in the U.S.—after years of opposition from the author's mother —was either smart publishing or egregious good luck.

Sylvia Plath is already well known for her last poems, which are brilliant songs of self-destruction, the ne plus ultra of confessional verse. The...

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