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This is an auction for ROUGH MAGIC: A BIOGRAPHY OF SYLVIA PLATH, by Paul Alexander.

"Nearly 30 years after Plath's suicide, her troubled life proves to be fertile ground for biographers, as witness this work by Alexander, which may be the most objective portrayal yet of the controversial American poet. Choosing to write Plath's life without the consent and probable constraints of the estate, Alexander eschews quoting from Plath's work; his is not a literary study. Yet the results are impressive: a thorough, beautifully fashioned chronicle rich in new materials and significant minutiae, beginning with the convergence of her parents' lives, continuing with Plath's precocious childhood and tumultuous adulthood, and concluding with her posthumous literary career. The book's achievement is to record Plath's notable vicissitudes with respect and sensitivity, implying but not imposing an interpretation on complex, often ambiguous evidence. Alexander's understated approach has the considerable virtue of allowing readers to determine for themselves what forces nurtured Plath's extraordinary lyrical gifts and what finally ended them."
- Publishers Weekly review:

"The strength of this is the great number of personal stories from Aurelia's numerous talks with Alexander, and so many other close friends of the author which range over much of Syliva's lifetime. I would strongly urge anyone who has even a modicum of interest in Sylvia Plath to beg, borrow, steal or even buy this book. It is one of the best biographies I have had the enormous pleasure and at times sadness in reading."

More very favourable reviews on

Paperback 2003.

402 pages + photographs.

Good condition.

The cost of shipping is $4.95, or $6.95 for tracked mail. If you are on rural delivery and want tracked mail, the shipping cost will be $9.95.

There is of course no charge for shipping if you collect this book from my shop in Palmerston North following the auction.

Payment within seven days, please.
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Shipping options

  • NZ Post$4.95
  • tracked mail$6.95
  • tracked mail for rural delivery$9.95
  • Seller allows pick-ups
  • Seller location: Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ

Payment options

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  • Cash