View full screen - View 1 of Lot 13. Sylvia Plath | Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, "we will burn love to death all our long lives", 10 October 1956.

Sylvia Plath | Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, "we will burn love to death all our long lives", 10 October 1956

Lot Closed

July 21, 02:13 PM GMT


8,000 - 12,000 GBP

Lot Details


Sylvia Plath

Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes

on her passionate love for him ("...I can't believe any body ever loved like this; nobody will again. We will burn love to death all our long lives..."), her self-belief as a writer ("...someday, I will be a rather damn good woman writer..."), and her loathing of her fellow students ("...I held my hand over my mouth and froze; I could very horribly hear myself screaming at all the prim scholarly little British bitches, knocking over desks, and strangling as many as I could get my hands on..."), scattered autograph corrections and three-line autograph postscript, 6 pages, 8vo (177 x 140mm), Whitstead, Newnham College, Cambridge, 10 October 1956, creased, dust-staining to third page, rust-marks from paperclip

"...Teddy, I feel I'm walking in my grave cerements. My flesh is colder than wet sod. Do you know that you have the most delicious quirked lovely mouth and your eyes crink up and you are all warm and smooth and elegantly muscled and long-striding and my god I go mad when I let myself think of you; the thinking assaults me and I either cry or pound my head, or go out on a long blind wild walk or pretend you are there and talk out loud to you at night before bed I kneel on the couch in the pitch black and throw all my force and love in the direction, as nearly as I can discern, or your bed in Yorkshire..."

This letter begins with the news that Plath has gained permission to leave Cambridge for London for the weekend on the pretence of a reunion with a female friend (she has discovered herself to be a good liar). The thought of a reunion with Hughes strains her patience with her degree and life in Cambridge: in a grotesquely funny passage she admits to desiring to attack one of her tutors, a "fat vampirish monster", and cut her open to see if she bleeds "onion juice or what". Daily life is banal, although the beauty of Cambridge brings some consolation. She continues her plans for their writing careers, listing their recent submissions and praising his latest draft of a poem and plots for stories. Reading the latest New Yorker fills her with belief in her own talent:

"...If I live 'in-myself' this way, all the quirks and queer musings in my head can bear fruit, without being blurred and blunted by constant prosaic contacts with exterior people; this year will set me deeper than ever in the dark secret well of my own fancies, dreams and visions; living with you will save me from being suffocated with no outlet (except these interminable letters, please forgive their length & tediums) as I am now..."


The Letters of Sylvia Plath: Volume One, pp.1294-99