Friday, February 8, 2013

Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson's new book is Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted.

From his Q & A with Callie Beusman at Interview magazine:

CALLIE BEUSMAN: Plath mythologized herself, was mythologized by her lovers, and continues to be mythologized by casual readers and academics. I'm interested in how much of this is through Plath's doing and how much happened after she became a literary figure.

ANDREW WILSON: She did constantly mythologize herself, as did many of the people who knew her. I think it's really fascinating, because she did open herself up—like she says—like an anatomical Venus so her psyche could be exposed for all the "peanut-crunching crowd" to see. That opens up to this tendency, this desire, for us to mythologize her. She obviously saw herself as some kind of Electra figure. She also saw herself as Alice in Wonderland, and, to some extent, as Isabel Archer—so not just mythological characters, but fictional characters as well. But also I think it's important to remember that, fundamentally, she was a real person living at a real time. The reason that I call my book Mad Girl's Love Song is really not to call her mad as in the insane sense, but to refer to the fact that she was an angry young woman, and that sense of feminine anger really comes through in her journals and her poetry. I think that many, many women and many people connected with Plath's poetry and her work to such an extent because they saw her as a person, as a real woman dealing with very real concerns.

BEUSMAN: What would you say were the primary sources of this anger?

WILSON: Growing up as a young woman in the 1940s and '50s must have been incredibly difficult, and she articulates all those kinds of concerns—the idea that sex was constrained. Many of the people I interviewed told me that...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue