Behind the Lit: The Happy Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath, usually regarded as the grande dame of depression, did in fact live a very pleasant life before her demise. Even though this period of relative contentment was mostly confined to the early ‘50s — specifically 1953 — it was very much a part of Plath’s character before she became known as the queen of melancholia.
What made Plath her most ecstatic in 1953 was winning a guest editorship atMademoiselle in New York City. In Elizabeth Winder’s Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953, Plath’s ambition to be a writer stands in sharp contrast to the common perception of her as a wilting flower. “Sylvia was in the middle of her waitressing shift when she received a telegram — she had won Mademoiselle's fiction contest — which meant a cash prize of $500 dollars and publication in the August college issue,” writes Winder. “For the first time, the possibility of supporting herself as a writer seemed real.” The excitement of fulfilling her wish to go to New York City trumped every other disappointment Plath was feeling at the time, most of which related to the dating scene.
The other Sylvia.