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'A certain minor light': Plath in Brontë country

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Abstract

The poet and academic Sarah Corbett reveals Plath’s profound response to Yorkshire’s powerful and often threatening natural and human landscape, as well as to the writings of Emily Brontë and Ted Hughes. In a handful of poems, Plath can be heard sounding out a Hughesian strain of voice against the ghosts and rumoured angels of her own emergent poetic imagination. These West Yorkshire interludes show Plath making use of an ambivalent energy in the landscape to mirror her self/psyche, a technique that can be seen in many of the Ariel poems, and the beginnings of a working out of the struggle between masculine and feminine voices that was to underpin much of her mature work.