The Myth of Women and Madness: Sylvia Plath and Zelda Fitzgerald

Presented with Strand Bookstore


The idea that “b*tches be crazy” is not new. Since the dawn of Christianity, women have been construed and constructed as mentally unstable. We'll examine the origins of these ideas, the lack of protection women had because they were wards of their fathers or husbands, and investigate the lasting implications of this legacy of women and madness. 

In this class, we will look closely at women like Zelda Fitzgerald and Sylvia Plath, deconstructing their actual lived experiences and how that may have contributed to their perceived madness. We will also-- of course-- discuss their husbands F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ted Hughes and how these men factored into the mythologized stories of their respective wives. Topics will include: religion, European precedents, the first biologists and early gynecology.

Wine provided by Jenny & Francois.




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue, the walls lined with leather-bound treasures from a book hand printed in 1480 to a limited edition Ulysses signed by Henri Matisse, the illustrator, and by James Joyce. 


Presented with Thought Gallerydelivering the best of smart New York right to your inbox.


Other upcoming Olios


Jun 23

Man's Separation from Nature and Where to Go from Here

Taught by Manuel Rodeiro
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jun 26

Music, Drugs & Altered States of Mind

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Strong Rope Brewery

Sign Up - $12

Jun 27

Jun 30

The Woman Question

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jul 6

Lassos of Truth: A Celebration of Three Wonder Women

Taught by Three Olio Professors
7:30 p.m. at Brooklyn Art Library

Sign Up - $12

Jul 7

Free As Gods: Picasso, Calder and Artists Take Center Stage

Taught by Charles Riley
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jul 8

*Olio House Party* ​In Search of Greatness in the 1950s: Greatness For All?

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7:30 p.m. at Bed Stuy Brownstone

Sign Up - $12

Jul 9

**Olio Seminar** // Woman as Other, Woman as Lover

Taught by Jamie Warren
3 p.m. at Nowhere Studios

Sign Up - $100

Jul 11

The Art of Noise: Percussion Music and the Urban Jungle

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $12

Jul 14

A History of Analog in Revolt: Sparking Poetic Revolutions

Taught by Jessica Rogers
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jul 16

*Read-In* Meditations

Taught by Michael Prettyman
4 p.m. at Dean Machine

Sign Up - $10

Jul 18

Jul 28

Women, Design, and Empowerment: I Will What I Want

Taught by Michelle Millar Fisher
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20


Find out when we launch new classes!

Official Partner with Penguin Press.