Originally published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas in 1963 — only a month before the author's suicide — Sylvia Plath's harrowing autobiographical novel traces a young woman's descent into an emotional breakdown. After a vulnerable nineteen-year-old college student wins a month-long trip to New York in a fashion magazine contest, she is plunged into alternating bouts of despair and self-evaluation, relieved with comical observations of her experiences. The Bell Jar chronicles the breakdown of the brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful Esther Greenwood, a woman slowly going under — maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath's dramatic autobiographical account details the mental breakdown which imprisons her in an invisible bell jar. She masterfully draws the reader into Esther's demise with such intensity that the character's insanity becomes completely real, even rational — as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.