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The Savage God: A Study of Suicide


Using the untimely death of the poet and friend, Sylvia Plath, as a point of departure, Al Alvarez confronts the controversial and often taboo area ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Savage God: A Study of Suicide

Overall customer rating: 4.000

Excellent, extremely literary, slightly dated

by Greywizard on Oct 11, 2007

This is an excellent study of suicide and talk about suicide from very early days (the Greeks and Romans) until today. It has an especially insightful study of Sylvia Plath's suicide at the beginning. Alvarez believes her suicide was a cry for help gone wrong. Indeed, he tends to think that suicide is, largely, an act of desperation, and not something done with good reason. I think he limits suicide too much to such contexts. He misunderstands the place that suicide plays in the life story of many people, for whom it comes as a blessed release from suffering or the prospect of greater suffering. It is, nonetheless, a necessary book on the shelves of anyone wanting to know about suicide. He has some very interesting details, many taken from John Donne's "Biathanatos", of suicide in the ancient (especially the Roman) world. Well worth reading. It is also a wonderfully expressive book, written by a poet, so its ability to evoke time and place and mood in striking ways is an added bonus in a book on such an apparently morbid subject.

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