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View full screen - View 1 of Lot 360. Ted Hughes and others | St Botolph's Review, 1956, Ted Hughes' copy.

Property of Frieda Hughes

Ted Hughes and others | St Botolph's Review, 1956, Ted Hughes' copy

Lot Closed

July 19, 03:58 PM GMT


600 - 800 GBP

Lot Details


Property of Frieda Hughes

Ted Hughes, David Ross, E. Lucas Myers, Daniel Huws, Daniel Weissbort, Than Minton, George Weissbort

Saint Botolph's Review. [Cambridge,] 1956

4to (248 x 165mm.), 36pp., original red paper wrappers, dust-jacket, some leaves with stain at inner margin, pp. 17-20 detached, staples rusting, dust-jacket with dampstain and wear at extremities

"Our magazine was merely an overture

To the night and the party..." ("St Botolph's", Birthday Letters)

TED HUGHES' COPY OF THE CAMBRIDGE STUDENT MAGAZINE THAT LED TO HIS FIRST MEETING WITH PLATH. The magazine is important to Hughes's development as a poet - the voice he crafted in these poems runs directly into his first and breakthrough collection The Hawk in the Rain - but it is its biographical resonance that has made the magazine so famous in post-War poetry. 

It was at the launch party of St Botolph's Review that Hughes and Plath met for the first time, on 25 February 1956. In a lyric from Birthday Letters, his final published volume of verse, Hughes elevates his first encounter with Plath into a cosmically ordained event, with a tragic resonance that he could not grasp at the time, as with Chaucer's Troilus and Shakespeare's Romeo. (For Hughes' preoccupation with astrology, see lot 370)

It was an encounter wholly arranged by Plath. She had bought a copy of the magazine earlier that day from an Bert Wyatt-Brown, a fellow American student studying English. She was immediately struck by the strength of Hughes's poems and hurried back to Wyatt-Brown to ask about their author, and found he would be at the launch party that evening. When they met on the dancefloor Plath introduced hseself by quoting Hughes's own verses to him. The sexual attraction was immediate, immense, and violent: "when he kissed my neck I bit him long and hard on the cheek [...] blood was running down his face" (Plath, Journal).

Another copy of St Botolph's Review, now held at the British Library, has a similar staining on the dust-jacket to that found here. On that copy, a note in Hughes' hand excuses the "wine stains" from when co-contributor E. Lucas Myers "fell off his bike as I hailed him — morning of 25th Feb. 56", accidentally spilling the contents of the bottles and soiling the magazines that were yet to be distributed to student subscribers. It seems likely, therefore, that this copy was also rescued by Hughes after Luke Myers's bicyle accident.