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Showing posts from June, 2013

Sylvia Plath and Big Rock Candy Mountain

Sylvia Plath mentions the song " Big Rock Candy Mountain " in her short story "The Day Mr Prescott Died": As I helped Mama up the stone steps to the porch, I could hear a creaking and sure enough, there was Ben Prescott sitting and swinging on the porch hammock like it was any other day in the world but the one his Pop died. He just sat there, lanky and tall as life. What really surprised me was he had his favorite guitar in the hammock beside him. Like he'd just finished playing "The Big Rock Candy Mountain," or something. ( Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams , Harper Perennial Modern Classics 2008, p. 223) Plath wrote about the real life events that inspired this story in two letters to Gordon Lameyer written on 22 and 23 June 1954. Plath had recently visited Winthrop because her childhood friend Ruth Freeman's father passed away suddenly. Plath does not however, in either of the letters, make reference to the song. The original letters ar

Auction Result: Uncorrected Proof of The Bell Jar by Victoria Lucas (Sylvia Plath)

A Bonhams auction today  of Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs (Auction 20752) in Knightsbridge, London, included a rare uncorrected proof copy of The Bell Jar by Victoria Lucas (1962) in Lot number 202. The copy sold for higher than the high estimate: £5,000/€5,839/$7,810 (including buyers fees/premiums). The purchaser is now a lucky owner! Congrats!

Uncorrected Proof of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar (Victoria Lucas) to appear at Bonham's Auction

On 19 June 2013, Bonhams (Kensington, London) will auction in lot 202 a rare, uncorrected proof copy of The Bell Jar by Victoria Lucas (Sylvia Plath). Printed in 1962 in an unknown, but limited number of copies, the uncorrected proof of The Bell Jar is the pièce de résistance and also the holy grail of books for a Plath collector. For that matter, one might also want to include the uncorrected proof of The Colossus (1960), too. These books are most desirable, as in possessing more intrinsic--as well as monetary--value as they were printed during Plath's lifetime. The catalog entry for the auction reads: The Bell Jar by Victoria Lucas, UNCORRECTED PROOF COPY, publisher's wrappers, lettered "(Not for Sale) Uncorrected Proof Copy" on upper cover, light spotting, slight wear at extremities of spine, 8vo, Heinemann, 1962 Estimate: £2,000 - 4,000; €2,300 - 4,700; US$ 3,000 - 6,000 Footnotes "AND HOW ARE YOU FEELING THIS MORNING, MISS LUCAS?" Uncorr

Sylvia Plath Collections: Eric Walter White Second Accrual

McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada holds more of Eric Walter White's papers (in addition to the papers held at the University of Texas at Austin). There are four different accruals of his papers collected throughout the years. There are Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes letters in the second accrual, purchased from the bookseller Bertram Rota in 1990. The finding aid to the collection lists the Plath materials under those materials pertaining to Hughes: Hughes, Ted From:1 ALs, 2 TLs To: 3 TL(car.) 1957-1966. Sylvia Plath has added a postscript note to the ALS from Ted Hughes. Also one TL (car.) addressed to Mrs. Ted Hughes. Photocopy of a typed biographical sketch by Ted Hughes. The correspondence goes from 1957-1966. In one letter from Hughes to White, Plath has added three words in pen to the typed letter. The letter was arguably, in my opinion, typed by Plath. Additionally, Plath added a handwritten postscript to a letter that I roughly date to Monday 3 Sept

Typed Letter and Poem by Sylvia Plath Sells at Auction

On 13 February 2011, Bonhams held an auction and two Sylvia Plath items were up for sale. I wrote about it on this blog ; but in addition, the lot archives are available and here (Lot 2212) . The first lot, 2211, was a letter from Plath to a Miss Reutlinger and failed to sell. Late that year, on 22 June, Bonhams relisted the letter, drastically lowering the estimates...but it still failed to sell that day in Lot 1318 . (I wrote about it here, too, because I try to be comprehensive . One thing I love about these auctions is that they provide really good quality images online (and presumably in the printed catalog for the auction, too). Anyway, this is a follow-up post to say that the letter has finally sold... in October 2012! Better to find out later than never... RR Auction in New Hampshire successfully sold the letter for $4,915.20 . Not sure where the letter ended up (hopefully an archive), but that's a fair price for sure.

Sylvia Plath Collections: Eric Walter White papers

The University of Texas at Austin holds the Eric Walter White: An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center (Manuscript Collection MS-4489) ( PDF Version ) in their Harry Ransom Center . The papers of Eric Walter White, like those of Sylvia Plath's, are divided between archival repositories as a forthcoming post will discuss. The Plath materials can be found in several boxes and folders: "Series III. Correspondence, 1923-1985, undated (5 boxes)" has the most important material in it: three letters from Plath to White dated October 23 and October 26, 1962 and November 14, 1962. The letters are very excellent ones and in "These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past" , Gail Crowther and I discuss the letters in some detail. See pages 51-53 of that paper specifically for these letters. There are additional Plath-related materials in the White papers, and these are transcriptions and printings of some of Plath's poems: "A Birthday Presen