11 October 2007

Sylvia Plath collections: Sylvia Plath VI poems

Another Plath manuscript formerly for sale was "SYLVIA PLATH VI POEMS. (A.M.S., autographed manuscript signed)."

This notebook, described in detail below, sold several years ago. The bookseller recently advised me that it may have gone to an institution in New York, though he is unsure which one it may be. I've searched the catalogs of Cornell, Columbia, and NYU, as well as WorldCat and found nothing. If anyone has worked with or seen this notebook, the Loch Ness of Plath manuscripts, please let me know! Paragraphs added by me.

"Wellesley, MA: circa 1944-45, original notebook, signed, ruled pages wire-stitched in original cloth reinforced red paper covers. The title "Sylvia Plath VI Poems" is written in the author's hand on a white label with double ruled red border, and applied to the upper center of the front cover.

"The following description is taken from the letter of authenticity which accompanies the notebook: "Sylvia Plath created this notebook of favorite poems and schools exercises while in the sixth grade at Marshall Perrin Elementary School in Wellesley, Massachusetts during the 1944-5 school year. It is entirely in her holograph and a gummed label on the upper cover reads 'Sylvia Plath VI Poems.' This remarkable piece of Plath iconography includes seventeen (sic) copies in a fair hand of some of her favorite classic poems, from Emerson, Masefield and others. Her school exercises, including lists of spelling 'demons,' holidays, birthdays of significant people, etc. show much personal precocity. In fact, at this point in her life she was unusually happy and highly successful in school, being of extraordinary creativity and intelligence. . .and this seminal artifact of her youth is a missing link to the final terrible genius of Ariel. . ."

"Of particular interest is the neat and orderly text, along with the uniformly attractive penmanship of a sixth grade girl. Her choice of poems, lyrics & prose pieces (totaling nineteen pages) along with her appliqued embellishment of Emerson's "Concord Hymn" are intriguing. There are copious lists of geographic locations, earth formations, famous birthdays, holidays, and perhaps the most insightful and curious is her list of "100 Spelling Demons". This glimpse into the early development of Sylvia Plath, touching directly both her academic and creative spirit, is a unique window unavailable elsewhere. The physical notebook shows very little wear, and is in remarkably fine condition. One of a kind."

The list price on this item, $19,500, was well below that of the Corrected carbon typescripts of Ariel. This item is contemporary with the poems held by the Morgan Library, New York.

1 comment :

Peter K Steinberg said...

As a follow up to this post, this item is held in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library.


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