Title: The Autofictional Ailing Self: Depression in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Cella Serghi’s The Spider’s Web – A Comparison


Vol. 11(2), 2023, pp. 110-129.



Author: Hristo Boev

About the author: Hristo Boev, Ph.D. is an associate professor of English and American Literature at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Shumen, Bulgaria. He is the author of the published monographs: Modern(ist) Portrayals of the City in Dickens and Dos Passos: Similarities, Differences, Continuities, The Different Dobruja in the Literature between the Wars (original title in Bulgarian) and Feminine Selves in Sylvia Plath’s Prose and Poetry: The Perspective of Compared Lived Experience in Fiction. He is also a translator of English, Romanian and Bulgarian with numerous literary translations to his credit. His main interests lie in the fields of Comparative Literature, Modernism, Literary Urbanism, Geocriticism and the Art of translation.


ORCID iD:    



Citation (APA style): Boev, I. (2023). The Autofictional Ailing Self: Depression in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Cella Serghi’s The Spider’s Web – A Comparison. Studies in Linguistics, Culture, and FLT, 11(2), 110-129.

Abstract: During the COVID-19 pandemic and emerging from it many people went through depressive states, sometimes with a lethal outcome. Depression, however, can be caused by numerous factors not expressly necessitating a global cataclysm, invariably remaining a particular personal response to a perceived strong sensation of discomfort and loss of meaning in one’s life. This paper will examine the major novels by two writers – the American Sylvia Plath and the Romanian Cella Serghi with the purpose of comparing the autofictional representations of depression in both, paying attention to its causes, courses, and outcomes. The comparative analysis will also establish the power of autofiction as a phenomenon and its capacity of producing texts with interdisciplinary dimensions containing a universal appeal. By examining two autofictional responses to an identical issue – the modern disease occasioned by similar causes, the paper aims to provide potential solutions that might have worked to a healing effect in the other text with the potential to transcend the texts in question and be applied to real-life situations since the described incidents have already happened not once and not only as part of the lived experience of the two writers. Last but not least, by effectuating the comparison the article seeks to help promote an author from a smaller national literature to the realms of World Literature.

Key words: autofiction, World Literature, phenomenology, depression, lived experience



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