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