Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 [NOOK Book]

Overview

"I dreamed of New York, I am going there."

On May 31, 1953, twenty-year-old Sylvia Plath arrived in New York City for a one-month stint at "the intellectual fashion magazine" Mademoiselle to be a guest editor for its prestigious annual college issue. Over the next twenty-six days, the bright, blond New England collegian lived at the Barbizon Hotel, attended Balanchine ballets, watched a game at Yankee Stadium, and danced at the West Side Tennis Club. She typed rejection letters ...

See more details below
Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price

Overview

"I dreamed of New York, I am going there."

On May 31, 1953, twenty-year-old Sylvia Plath arrived in New York City for a one-month stint at "the intellectual fashion magazine" Mademoiselle to be a guest editor for its prestigious annual college issue. Over the next twenty-six days, the bright, blond New England collegian lived at the Barbizon Hotel, attended Balanchine ballets, watched a game at Yankee Stadium, and danced at the West Side Tennis Club. She typed rejection letters to writers from The New Yorker and ate an entire bowl of caviar at an advertising luncheon. She stalked Dylan Thomas and fought off an aggressive diamond-wielding delegate from the United Nations. She took hot baths, had her hair done, and discovered her signature drink (vodka, no ice). Young, beautiful, and on the cusp of an advantageous career, she was supposed to be having the time of her life.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with fellow guest editors whose memories infuse these pages, Elizabeth Winder reveals how these twenty-six days indelibly altered how Plath saw herself, her mother, her friendships, and her romantic relationships, and how this period shaped her emerging identity as a woman and as a writer. Pain, Parties, Work—the three words Plath used to describe that time—shows how Manhattan's alien atmosphere unleashed an anxiety that would stay with her for the rest of her all-too-short life.

Thoughtful and illuminating, this captivating portrait invites us to see Sylvia Plath before The Bell Jar, before she became an icon—a young woman with everything to live for.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
February 11, 2013, marked the 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath's death and a plethora of new Plath-related publications. Here, poet Winder focuses on May 1953, the month Plath spent in New York City as a guest editor at Mademoiselle. Winder contextualizes this brief, intense period as the basis for Plath's autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar. Her life that month was harried, filled with glitz and exhaustion, and may have contributed largely to Plath's subsequent breakdown and first suicide attempt. The book is loosely organized, contains extensive sidebars, and possesses a poetic sensibility. Although the tone and arrangement appear more artistic than academic, the volume isn't frivolous and is largely based on original interviews or correspondence with 15 of the other 19 "girls" who were, along with Plath, guest editors. VERDICT Winder poignantly captures a snapshot of a time that directly inspired one of Plath's most famous works. She also captures Plath as bright, vivacious, and even brittle. For fans, particularly devotees of The Bell Jar.—Audrey Snowden, Orrington P.L., ME
Publishers Weekly
Marking the 50th anniversary of Plath’s death, poet Winder, in her nonfiction debut, sets out to reveal a lesser-known side of the iconic poet/novelist, paradoxically by chronicling one of the best-known periods in her life. The summer Plath spent as an intern at Mademoiselle magazine’s Manhattan offices, which inspired The Bell Jar, provides the heady context for Winder’s case that Plath was more than the “tortured artist” who committed suicide at age 30. Instead, Winder presents a woman who was an active participant in her midcentury cultural moment and pre–Feminine Mystique peer group. Extensive quotations from Plath’s fellow Mademoiselle “guest editors” reveal a fiercely ambitious young writer and a high-pressure workplace. We also visit the Barbizon Hotel, Grace Kelly’s one-time residence and the interns’ home for the summer—a “debutante’s pretty flophouse.” The former interns’ words are complemented by a lovingly detailed inventory, as Technicolor-vivid as a Douglas Sirk film, of the fashions and foods that filled Plath’s summer. Winder convincingly shows that Plath should be recognized as much for her enjoyment of life and her enduring works as for her tragic death. Readers already familiar with the starkly unromantic facts of Plath’s biography may be thrown by the glamorous, nostalgic picture of the author given here. Agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects. (Apr.)
Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger
“A pixilated gem of a book. . . . In prose as delightful and lively as the champagne Sylvia liked to sip at the St. Regis ball, Winder has made Pain, Parties, Work a prose poem of the senses, and a true account of The Bell Jar.”
New York Times
“An illuminating biography . . . which floods clarifying light on a chapter of the poet’s early life that Plath painted in jaundiced tones in The Bell Jar.
More magazine
“Will recalibrate your mind and heart. . . . We knew about Plath’s ambition - and angst - but her penchant for flaming-red lipstick and princess heels was a bit of a surprise”
Slate
“Winder resuscitates a young woman who, while sick, is electrically alive to her first real adventure. . . . Captivating . . . [Winder] makes a compelling argument that in New York…Plath moved closer to finding the voice that would define her writing.”
Bookslut
“Winder describes the aesthetics of the era beautifully. . . . Reading this book sparks feelings of impossible nostalgia for someone who didn’t live through the fifties; in this way, it is an experience akin to watching Mad Men.”
Women's Wear Daily
“The book offers a new perspective on Plath’s life courtesy of Winder’s exhaustive research.”
USA Today
“Winder has painstakingly sketched a fully fleshed out portrait of Plath’s life during that hot, seminal summer, offering a glimpse into the raison d’etre behind Plath’s revered 1963 roman a clef, The Bell Jar. . . . Winder goes into the dizzying, delightful detail.”
O Magazine
“[An] accessible, eye-opening new biography.”
Meg Wolitzer
“The world of ’50s NYC, in all its glamour, is irresistible reading.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062085528
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/16/2013
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 195,178
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Winder is the author of a poetry collection. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Review, Antioch Review, American Letters, and other publications. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, and earned an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2014

    Hey

    Hey

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    Amberkit

    Rosekit windkit

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Pain, Par­ties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Sum­mer 1953 by

    Pain, Par­ties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Sum­mer 1953 by Eliz­a­beth Winder is a non-fiction book about time men­tioned in the title. The book paints a por­trait of Ms. Plath dur­ing a stress­ful, event­ful and per­sonal emo­tional sum­mer of her life.

    Twenty-year-old Sylvia Plath arrives in New York City with 20 other col­lege aged women to work as guest edi­tors for Mademoiselle's col­lege issue. This is a pres­ti­gious posi­tion which, they hope, will get them ready for life in the big city and even big­ger world.

    The ladies live at the Bar­bi­zon Hotel, attend shows, bal­lets, pro­fes­sional sports and par­tic­i­pate in glam­orous events.

    Pain, Par­ties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Sum­mer 1953 by Eliz­a­beth Winder is the kind of book which seems to be gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity, a short non-fiction book about a spec­i­fied time-frame of a per­son. These books seem to replace the all encom­pass­ing biographies.

    At this day and age where a some­what descent, encom­pass­ing biog­ra­phy on almost every impor­tant, not-so-important and, let's face(book) it, not-important-at-all peo­ple is at one's fin­ger­tips 24/7 these type of short bio­graph­i­cal por­traits are flour­ish­ing. I can cer­tainly under­stand why, when I ran a restric­tive search for "Sylvia Plath biog­ra­phy" on Google I got 6,430 results (417,000 results came back with just a sim­ple search). With that much infor­ma­tion at hand a book which high­lights a cer­tain period does, espe­cially if one is inter­ested only in that spe­cific sub­ject, sounds enticing.

    There seems to be a lot of infor­ma­tion about Sylvia Plath this year which marks the 50th anniver­sary of her untimely death. To be hon­est, this is the first book I read about, or by, Ms. Plath. I have heard of her before, but her work never sparked my inter­est. There was some­thing in the descrip­tion of this book though, that did sound inter­est­ing, maybe the locale (NYC), the time period (1950s), or the sub­ject. But what prob­a­bly made me pick up this book is a vari­ety of rea­sons, a com­bi­na­tion of the ones men­tioned pre­vi­ously plus oth­ers which I can­not put my fin­ger on at the moment.

    When I received the book I thought I had made a mis­take just by look­ing at the cover. A pic­ture in which the color pink (or some vari­a­tion of it) is pre­dom­i­nant, a woman wear­ing a fancy ruf­fle dress, long Cin­derella gloves, jew­elry on her arms, a pearl neck­lace, dia­mond ear­rings and a fancy hairdo sit­ting face for­ward on a chair/couch which seems to be made for the sole pur­pose of act­ing out a most dra­matic and pas­sion­ate faint­ing.
    Not too attrac­tive for some­one who loves to read about World War II, espi­onage and other "manly" books.

    Once I started read­ing the book all my trep­i­da­tions went away, this a remark­able story of an amaz­ing woman liv­ing out an extra­or­di­nary adven­ture. Ms. Winder did an amaz­ing job research­ing, includ­ing talk­ing with first hand sources (other guest-editors) whose rec­ol­lec­tions of Ms. Plath are vivid and enchant­ing. The depressed image I had have of Sylvia Plath is con­tra­dic­tory to the image the author paints, that of flam­ing red lip­stick, posh clothes and high heels.

    The book does a great job describ­ing the pro­fes­sional envi­ron­ment of 1950s New York City as well as mak­ing the month long adven­ture come to life. The asser­tion that the gig of "guest edi­tor" was a defin­ing event in Plant's life seems to have much merit and essen­tial to under­stand­ing her char­ac­ter and writing.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)