“[Plath’s] story is stirring, in sneaky, unexpected ways. . . . Look carefully and there’s a new angle here — on how, and why, we read Plath today.”— Parul Sehgal, New York Times
Never before published, this newly discovered story by literary legend Sylvia Plath stands on its own and is remarkable for its symbolic, allegorical approach to a young woman’s rebellion against convention and forceful taking control of her own life.
Written while Sylvia Plath was a student at Smith College in 1952, Mary Ventura and The Ninth Kingdom tells the story of a young woman’s fateful train journey.
Lips the color of blood, the sun an unprecedented orange, train wheels that sound like “guilt, and guilt, and guilt”: these are just some of the things Mary Ventura begins to notice on her journey to the ninth kingdom.
“But what is the ninth kingdom?” she asks a kind-seeming lady in her carriage. “It is the kingdom of the frozen will,” comes the reply. “There is no going back.”
Sylvia Plath’s strange, dark tale of female agency and independence, written not long after she herself left home, grapples with mortality in motion.
Sylvia Plath was born in 1932 in Massachusetts. Her books include the poetry collections The Colossus, Crossing the Water, Winter Trees, Ariel, and Collected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize. A complete and uncut facsimile edition of Ariel was published in 2004 with her original selection and arrangement of poems. She was married to the poet Ted Hughes, with whom she had a daughter, Frieda, and a son, Nicholas. She died in London in 1963.
“[Plath’s] story is stirring, in sneaky, unexpected ways…Look carefully and there’s a new angle here — on how, and why, we read Plath today.” — Parul Sehgal, New York Times