"Woe" is Sylvia Plath

In 2000, when The Journals of Sylvia Plath (unabridged) was published, readers got access to Plath's 1957-1959 journals, which had previously been sealed. 

In her 31 December 1958 journal entry, written in Boston at 9 Willow Street, Plath talked about a letter she wrote to Ted Hughes' parents. A letter that before The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume II was published readers could only dream about. 

She remarked in the journal entry, "Ted read my signature on the letter to his parents as 'woe' instead of love. He was right, it looked surprising: the left hand knows not what the right writes" (452).

Now that the letter---written on 30 December 1958---has been published, (and the original has been sold (Lot 33) in July 2021), we can determine for ourselves whether or not Plath's sign-off looks like "love" or like "woe".

What say you? Are you supporting Love or supporting Woe?

All links accessed 20 November 2021.


  1. It looks like love to me, but it also looks like the first two letters have more ink, as if she'd tried to correct it.

  2. Yes, I agree with Amy - it looks as though she's tried to fix it. You see a faint line at the bottom right corner of the o, which suggests to me that there's a first attempt at the word beneath.


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