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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Upstate NY

    'Daddy': FBI files shed new light on Sylvia Plath's poetry, relationship with father

    Generally, it has been thought that Sylvia Plath had exaggerated her troubled relationship with her father, and her father's pro-German sympathies. Now we know that is not necessarily the case.

    FBI files on Sylvia Plath's father shed new light on poet (Guardian)
    When FBI officers noted the "morbid disposition" of a German-born US suspect called Otto Plath during a first world war investigation, little did they realise how incisive their psychological assessment was, or its significance. Fourteen years later, he fathered Sylvia Plath, one of the 20th century's most influential poets who continually battled against depression.

    Scholars of Plath have expressed their astonishment at the newly discovered FBI files, as they were unaware that Otto, a scientist, had even been investigated over alleged "pro-German" sympathies. "My heart literally jumped in my chest," one of them said.
    In the light of the second world war, Plath had mixed emotions about her father, writing in her journal in 1958: "He … heiled Hitler in the privacy of his home."
    Not all Plath scholars find the new information conclusive:
    Heather Clark, who is writing a Plath biography, dismisses the suggestion that Otto had Nazi sympathies: "He was a pacifist … Maybe she was misremembering, or angry towards him."
    much more at link above

    From the Plath poem 'Daddy':
    I have always been scared of you,
    With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
    And your neat mustache
    And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
    Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You--

    Not God but a swastika
    So black no sky could squeak through.
    Every woman adores a Fascist,
    The boot in the face, the brute
    Brute heart of a brute like you.
    There's a stake in your fat black heart
    And the villagers never liked you.
    They are dancing and stamping on you.
    They always knew it was you.
    Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.
    Last edited by wfgodot; 08-18-2012 at 01:02 PM.

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