Lynda K. Buntzen: On "Plath's Writing on the Verso"

Plath's textual body is also hopelessly entangled with that of her husband, Ted Hughes.  Many of the manuscripts and typescripts for her final poems are written on his backside, so to speak: Plath recycles old manuscripts and typescripts by Hughes, and often she seems to be balk talking, having the last word in argument.  As she describes the impossibility of separation from Hughes in "The Courage of Shutting-Up," composed on the verge of his leavetaking from their Devon home in October 1962, it is conceived as the transformation of surgical incision to indelible marking: "A great surgeion, now a tattooist, / Tattooing over and over the same blue frievances" (CP 210).  Plath cannot cut herself off from Hughes, cannot surgically amputate her life from his; she can only tattoo his papery body with images of her grief for his deceptions, his desertions, his infidelities: "The snakes, the babies, the tits / On mermaids and two-legged drea,girls" (CP 210).  The friction between these two bodies is palpable at times, as text clashes with text, and one intuits Plath's purposeful coercion and filleting of Hughes's poems and plays as she composes.


From Buntzen, Lynda K.  The Other Ariel.  USA: Thompson-Shore, Inc., 2001. p. 7-8. Print.


Title Lynda K. Buntzen: On "Plath's Writing on the Verso" Type of Content General Poet Criticism
Criticism Author Lynda K. Buntzen Criticism Target Sylvia Plath
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 18 Oct 2015
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication The Other Ariel
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