(1932 - 1963)
Described as a “dangerously brainy” child, Sylvia Plath published her first poem at the age of eight. She later wrote in her journals of a need “to be true to my own weirdnesses” and to convey in her poetry “real situations, behind which the great gods play the drama of blood, lust, and death.” After attempting suicide with sleeping pills in 1953 and undergoing shock treatment at McLean Hospital, Plath wrote her honors thesis on Fyodor Dostoevsky and graduated from Smith College in 1955. She published her first collection of poetry, The Colossus, in 1960 and her novel, The Bell Jar, under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas, in 1963. Less than a month after the novel appeared, she committed suicide at the age of thirty.