View full screen - View 1 of Lot 12. Sylvia Plath | Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on her latest stories and loneliness, 9 October 1956.
12

Sylvia Plath | Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on her latest stories and loneliness, 9 October 1956

Margin Scheme

Estimate:

8,000 to - 12,000 GBP

Sylvia Plath | Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on her latest stories and loneliness, 9 October 1956

Sylvia Plath | Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on her latest stories and loneliness, 9 October 1956

Estimate:

8,000 to - 12,000 GBP

Lot sold:

15,120

GBP

Sylvia Plath


Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes ("O my darling Teddy")


summarising the plots of two stories, 'The Wishing-Box' and 'The Invisible Man', which she has been writing, returning again to her alienation from her contemporaries and her night-terrors, scattered autograph corrections and a three-line autograph postscript, 5 pages, 8vo (177 x 140mm), [Whitstead, Newnham College, Cambridge], "Tuesday morning" [9 October 1956]

Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate.


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The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

"...In the dreamless woman story, her husband is a complete escapist who accepts his vivid dreams as reality; she reviews her own private sordid and sparse dream-life, gets worried about her powers of imagination (also its like the Dryad poem) and goes from bad to worse, trying to fill her mind by reading (finally can't make out words), then by movies, then TV combined with sherry, finally (being totally sleepless) commits suicide by an overdose of sleeping pills; her day-dreaming husband comes home (having lulled himself with a particularly elaborate dream on the train) and finds her dressed for a fancy ball, dead, with a beatific smile on her face. All in 8 pages. I shamelessly plagiarized some of your magnificent dreams -- notably the fox and pike and American poets..."


Plath's summary of two stories, both featuring suicide, show her ability to generate art from the darker aspects of her psyche; her story of a wife's jealousy of her husband's imagination has unmistakable biographical parallels. The 'Invisible Man' is about a young man who is suddenly unable to see his own body at the height of a successful college career ("...his own identity, obviously, must depend on the verdicts of those around him; hence his sudden invisibility to himself--it is as if he must seek his own true image, the proof of his corporeal existence, in the eyes and reflections about him, which give himself back to himself with varying degrees of distortion...") He lives with this strange condition but at the story's end his son succumbs to the same condition; being "of a more artistic nature", he commits suicide. The story clearly drew on Plath's own breakdown and attempted suicide at college three years earlier, but both stories were also written with the black humour that would later characterise The Bell Jar: "It must be funny, but terribly serious."


The letter also touches on her daily life in Cambridge, her wish to drive herself by hard work through the year, her lack of interest in university social life ("...I talk only to cows and swans..."), and the intensity of her feelings for Hughes: "I think if anything ever happened to you, I would really kill myself".


LITERATURE:

The Letters of Sylvia Plath: Volume One, pp.1291-94