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