Sylvia Plath's Greek Tragedy

Ranger, H. 2022. Sylvia Plath's Greek Tragedy. in: Helle, A., Golden, A. and O'Brien, M. (ed.) The Bloomsbury Handbook to Sylvia Plath Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 139–152

Chapter titleSylvia Plath's Greek Tragedy
AuthorsRanger, H.
EditorsHelle, A., Golden, A. and O'Brien, M.
Abstract

This chapter argues that Plath’s immersive study of ancient tragedians at the University of Cambridge, especially Aeschylus and Sophocles, has been understudied in relation to the iconic figure of Electra. Drawing on Plath's curricular materials, including the Cambridge Tripos Tragedy paper, and Plath's published review on versification of ancient poets, the chapter revisits the “mythological” approach to reading Plath, but without the anti-historicized focus that characterized earlier mythic criticism. The chapter uncovers a subtle yet pronounced critique of the transposition of classical texts into modernist critical discourse through sophisticated and self-reflexive “meta-poetic” commentary on canonical tragic figure and forms. “I borrow the stilts of an old tragedy” (CP 116), Plath’s speaker in “Electra” protests, both recognizing and swerving from the elevated canon and the conserving culture it represents.

Book titleThe Bloomsbury Handbook to Sylvia Plath
Page range139–152
Year2022
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Publication dates
Published21 Feb 2022
ISBN9781350119222
9781350119253
9781350119246
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.5040/9781350119253.ch-12
File
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Web address (URL)https://www.bloomsburycollections.com/book/the-bloomsbury-handbook-to-sylvia-plath/

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