On 25 February 1956, twenty-three-year-old Sylvia Plath walked into a party and immediately spotted Ted Hughes. The sensational aspects of the Plath-Hughes relationship have dominated the cultural landscape to such an extent that their story has taken on the resonance of a modern myth. Before she met Ted, Plath had lived a complex, creative and disturbing life. Her father had died when she was only eight, she had gone out with literally hundreds of men, had been unofficially engaged, had tried to commit suicide and had written over 200 poems. Mad Girl's Love Song traces through these early years the sources of her mental instabilities and examines how a range of personal, economic and societal factors - the real disquieting muses - conspired against her. Drawing on exclusive interviews with friends and lovers who have never spoken openly about Plath before and using previously unavailable archives and papers, this is the first book to focus on the early life of the twentieth century's most popular and enduring female poet. Mad Girl's Love Song reclaims Sylvia Plath from the tangle of emotions associated with her relationship with Ted Hughes and reveals the origins of her unsettled and unsettling voice, a voice that, fifty years after her death, still has the power to haunt and disturb.