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Pantagraph.comPlath, chairman of Illinois Wesleyan University's English Department, deploys his captions to both identify and enlighten in a plainspoken style that straddles the informal and the scholarly. The result is the expansive life of 20th century's most celebrated author compressed into a well-lighted nutshell - from his July 1899 birth in Oak Park through his July 1961 suicide in Ketchum, Idaho. In between: a globe-trotting odyssey through wars, loves, homes, marriages, books, celebrities, infirmities, cronies, boats, bars and offspring. Not to mention the proudly born fruits of rods and rifles. Long story short, which is the way the subject would want it, no doubt: the seemingly breezy task of captioning 200-odd photos involved considerable detective work and supplementing from Plath's own resources and contacts, all in the name of doing his literary Papa proud.