Pain, Parties, Work - Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953
On May 31, 1953, twenty-year-old Sylvia Plath arrived in New York City for a one-month stint as a guest editor for Mademoiselle magazine. Over the next twenty-six days, she 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 a diamond-wielding suitor 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 impressive 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. Thoughtful and illuminating, Pain, Parties, Work offers new insight as it introduces us to Sylvia Plath, the girl, before she became one of the greatest and most influential poets of the twentieth century.