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The Bell Jar is Sylvia Plath's only novel. Renowned for its intensity and outstandingly vivid prose, it broke existing boundaries between fiction and reality and helped to make Plath an enduring feminist icon. It was published under a pseudonym a few weeks before the author's suicide. 'This terse account of an American girl's breakdown and treatment gains its considerable power from an objectivity that is extraordinary considering the nature of the material. Sylvia Plath's attention had the quality of ruthlessness . . . Imagery and rhetoric is disciplined by an unwinking intelligence.' Observer