Friday, November 3, 2023 to Saturday, November 4, 2023

What can plants tell us about the human condition? Sylvia Plath’s bell jar metaphor provides one answer. Plath used bell jars to learn about photosynthesis during a lab exercise in a first-year botany course at Smith College, and it was this intimate interspecies encounter that helped her to understand the condition of women in 1950s USA. In tandem with a year-long exhibit at Lyman Conservatory focusing on that encounter, this year’s Mum Show Lecture traces Plath’s development of the bell jar metaphor and what it might say about our relationship to Chrysanthemums, family, and place.