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. 


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