Sylvia Plath’s reimagination of the Grimms’ fairy tales in postwar American culture

A new publication by Magic and Esotericism Research Group member Dorka Tamás

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/24692921.2021.1947081

This article discusses Sylvia Plath’s overlooked juvenilia poems and contextualizes them in postwar American culture. The fairy tales were significant cultural products during the 1950s, that also continue to define the culture today through Disney’s adaptations. Plath loved Grimms’ tales; several of her poems show direct engagement with tales. The first half of my article looks at Plath’s juvenilia poems and their reimagination of fairy-tale narratives. For Plath, the fairy tales functioned as a way to retell her life events. Whilst, the second part of my research uses a psychoanalytical approach to link “momism” in postwar America with the evil witch figure. By close-reading “The Disquieting Muses” poem, I demonstrate Plath’s engagement with the ambiguous mother whose food, similar to the witch in “Hansel and Gretel”, function to deceive the children.

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