Fact and Fiction in The Bell Jar

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How much of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is autobiographical, and how much is fictional?

Is her unflinching exploration of suicidal depression more meaningful if it’s a record of real life or if it’s invented?

The Guardian tackles these questions (and posts a fun, short video interview with the designer of the book’s original cover).


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →