The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful but slowly going under - maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that Esther's insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.
"A must-read for every woman"
Read by the critically acclaimed actress Maggie Gyllenhaal. When Esther Greenwood wins an internship at a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther's life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women's aspirations seriously.
"Esther whispering into your ear"
Two archive BBC Radio programmes in which Judi Dench and Michael Williams, accompanied by friends John Moffatt and Alec McCowen, read a cornucopia of poetry and prose. In this enchanting pair of programmes from 1991 and 1996, Dame Judi Dench and husband Michael Williams shared an eclectic selection of pieces that they loved, admired or simply found entertaining.