|"The Mummy's Tomb", |
The lot details read:
"Autograph manuscript of her early story 'The Mummy's Tomb', headed by her: "The Mummy's Tomb/ by Sylvia Plath/ May 17, 1946", opening: "I had come to the museum to do some research work on Egypt for my history notebook...", recounting the gothic tale of a girl's nocturnal visit to a display of mummies and her encounter with their sinister keeper ("...'Ha!' he leered, 'you got away yesterday, but you won't now. I'll muffle your screams of anguish and let you die from loss of blood and in terrible pain. You must meet the Egyptian gods. I will slowly cut out your eyes and harden them for the show case display!'..."), 4 pages, on two separate sheets, very faint spotting and light pencil-smudging, 4to, 17 May 1946."
The lot details for this read:
"Annotated typescripts of five poems written when at Smith College, comprising 'Aquatic Nocturne', opening: "down where sound/ comes blunt and wan/ like the bronze tone/ of a sunken gong/ or the garbled jargon/ of a drowning man...", two lines revised in ink with an alternative opening indicated in pencil, also marked up by her teacher ("This experiment is a most successful one/ I don't quite get these lines"), typed initials at head, marked in pencil "85"; 'Terminal', opening: "Bolting home from credulous blue domes...", one line revised in ink, typed name and Smith College address at head, marked in pencil "16/2"; 'Van Winkle's Village', opening: "Today, although the slanting light reminds...", first four lines reworked in ink and marked "Rewritten", typed name and Smith College address at head, marked in pencil "80/2"; 'The Dark River (P. N.)', opening: "You are near and unattainable...", dated in ink "1948", marked in pencil "67a"; 'The Invalid', opening: "Half-past four on an April morning...", carbon undercopy, title in ink and dated "1950", marked in pencil "52b", 5 pages, in folders marked with sequence numbers, 4to, Smith College, 1948-1950 where dated."These are select pieces of the big Sotheby's auction from December 2014. See this blog post and this one as well if you want to refresh your memory. That auction failed to sell as a complete archive of its own and as a result, as is typical of this kind of thing, the whole of it will likely be broken apart.
"The Mummy's Tomb", while an early story, is one of a kind. As it is handwritten, no other version of this story is extant in this format. The Lilly Library at Indiana University, Bloomington, holds a three page typescript (four pages if you include the cover sheet).
The poems are also unique. While other copies exist, these contain comments and revisions both by Plath and her instructor. The Lilly Library holds several typescripts of "Aquatic Nocturne" that show the progress of the poem: its final form as well as its initial one, including Plath changing the title from "aquatic nocturne" to "Aquatic Nocturne". What is unique and most attractive about this lot (or at least, this poem as it's the only one with an image) is that it shows the changes to the poem in progress. Completing, if you will, the creative process of her drafts. Additional typescript copies of these poems may be held at Smith College and Emory University, as well.
All links accessed 9 October 2015.