Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’: A Visual History


On this day, 50 years ago, the first edition of The Bell Jar was published in England under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. It didn’t make it to the United States until 1971, because Aurelia Plath was embarrassed by what her daughter had to say about her family. But make it to the States it did (as well as many other countries), and in the last 50 years, Sylvia Plath’s one and only novel has become a cult favorite, a classroom staple, and a source of inspiration and solace for thousands of young people. To celebrate the book’s 50th anniversary, and with the help of excellent Plath resource A celebration, this is, we’ve taken a look at the many changes the cover has gone through over the years — some beautiful, some strange, and some that make us think about it the story in a whole new way. Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

Heinemann First Proof, 1962

Heinemann First Edition, 1963

Contemporary Fiction, 1964

Faber and Faber, 1966

Faber and Faber Paperback, 1966

Faber and Faber, 1966

First American Edition, Harper 1971

Bantam Books, 1972

Finnish Edition, 1975

Trevi (Swedish Edition), 1975

Spanish Edition, 1980

Turkish Edition, date unknown

Książka i Wiedza (Polish Edition), 1989

Quality Paperback Book Club, 1993

Hebrew Edition, date unknown

Harper, 1996

Knopf Everyman Library, 1998

Dutch Edition, date unknown

Faber and Faber, 1999

Harper, 1999

Mondadori (Italian Edition), 2000

Image (Thai Edition), 2003

Estonian Edition, 2003

Faber and Faber, 2005

Harper, 2005

Harper, 2006

Faber and Faber, 2009

Harper Olive Editions, 2009

Spanish Edition, 2012

Faber and Faber, 2013