'Bell Jar' Gets Ugly New Cover

“There ought, I thought, to be a ritual for being born twice—patched, retreaded and approved for the road.” The Bell Jar has been reborn many more times than that, with a different cover every time. Sylvia Plath’s only novel, about a young woman’s descent into mental illness after she tries to make it as a magazine intern in New York City, was published in January 50 years ago, and the next month Plath committed suicide at age 30. But even if the poet were alive, perhaps she wouldn’t want her name on the cover anymore, just as she insisted that her pseudonym, Victoria Lucas, be used when it was first released. That’s because the 50th-anniversary edition by Faber and Faber sports possibly the worst-looking front yet. Apparently redesigning classics to better appeal to women’s-fiction fans has been a common practice.