Ariel (book)

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For the science fiction novel, see Ariel (novel).
First edition (Faber and Faber)

Ariel was the second book of Sylvia Plath's poetry to be published, and was originally published in 1965, two years after her death by suicide. The poems in the 1965 edition of Ariel, with their free flowing images and characteristically menacing psychic landscapes, marked a dramatic turn from Plath's earlier Colossus poems.[1] The distinction often cited by critics[who?] between the two books is that there's something much swifter, more abrupt, and more sardonic about the former.[citation needed]

In the 1965 edition of Ariel, Ted Hughes changed Plath's chosen selection and arrangement by dropping twelve poems, adding twelve composed a few months later, and shifting the poems' ordering, in addition to including an introduction by the poet Robert Lowell.[2] Having Lowell write the introduction to the book was appropriate, since, in a BBC interview, Plath cited Lowell's book Life Studies as having had a profound influence over the poetry she was writing in this last phase of her writing career.[3] In the same interview, Plath also cited the poet Anne Sexton as an important influence on her writing during this time since Sexton was also exploring some of the same dark, taboo, personal subject matter that Plath was exploring in her writing.[3]

In 2004 a new edition of Ariel was published which for the first time restored the selection and arrangement of the poems as Plath had left them; the 2004 edition also features a foreword by Plath and Hughes' daughter Frieda Hughes.[2]

Contents (1965 version)[edit]

Poems marked with an * were not in Plath's original manuscript, but were added by Ted Hughes. Most of them date from the last few weeks of Plath's life.

  1. Morning Song
  2. The Couriers
  3. Sheep in Fog *
  4. The Applicant
  5. Lady Lazarus
  6. Tulips
  7. Cut
  8. Elm
  9. The Night Dances
  10. Poppies in October
  11. Berck-Plage
  12. Ariel
  13. Death & Co.
  14. Lesbos (censored in some publications, not included in UK version)
  15. Nick and the Candlestick
  16. Gulliver
  17. Getting There
  18. Medusa
  19. The Moon and the Yew Tree
  20. A Birthday Present
  21. Mary's Song * (only in US version)
  22. Letter in November
  23. The Rival
  24. Daddy
  25. You're
  26. Fever 103°
  27. The Bee Meeting
  28. The Arrival of the Bee Box
  29. Stings
  30. The Swarm * (only in US version)
  31. Wintering
  32. The Hanging Man *
  33. Little Fugue *
  34. Years *
  35. The Munich Mannequins
  36. Totem *
  37. Paralytic *
  38. Balloons *
  39. Poppies in July *
  40. Kindness *
  41. Contusion *
  42. Edge *
  43. Words *

Additional poems in her manuscript[edit]

  1. The Rabbit Catcher
  2. Thalidomide
  3. Barren Woman
  4. A Secret
  5. The Jailer
  6. The Detective
  7. Magi
  8. The Other
  9. Stopped Dead
  10. The Courage of Shutting-Up
  11. Purdah
  12. Amnesiac
  13. Lesbos (included in US version)


  1. ^ "On "The Colossus"". Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  2. ^ a b "Ariel: The Restored Edition: A Facsimile of Plath's Manuscript, Reinstating Her Original Selection and Arrangement by Sylvia Plath – Powell's Books". Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  3. ^ a b "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 

External links[edit]