PLATH (SYLVIA) Typescripts of six poems, comprising:Spring Sacrament, Eve Describes Her Birthday Party, To Ariadne (deserted by Theseus) with copy, Tulips at Dawn, Spring Again
Lot 171*
PLATH (SYLVIA)
Typescripts and carbon typescripts of six poems, comprising: Spring Sacrament, Eve Describes Her Birthday Party, To Ariadne (deserted by Theseus) with copy, Tulips at Dawn, Spring Again
Sold for £875 (US$ 1,153) inc. premium

Lot Details
PLATH (SYLVIA)
Typescripts of six poems, comprising: (i) Typescript with an autograph revision of her poem "Spring Sacrament" (later titled ʻApril Aubade'), comprising fourteen lines opening: "Worship this world of watercolor mood..." and autograph alteration of two words in line eight; name and Lawrence House, Smith College address at head; marked in pencil at top right-hand corner "7", 1 page, folio, [1954-5]

(ii) Carbon typescript with autograph revisions of her poem "Eve Describes Her Birthday Party", comprising fourteen lines opening: "The Boy-next-door, inscrutable as God..."; the fourth line heavily rewritten and the twelfth revised; name and Lawrence House, Smith College address at head; marked in pencil at top right-hand corner "26", 1 page, folio, [1954-5]

(iii) Typescript of her poem "To Ariadne (deserted by Theseus)", comprising twenty lines, beginning: "Oh, fury, equalled only by the shrieking wind –..."; name and date at head; marked in pencil at top right-hand corner "1a", 1 page, folio, 6 October 1949

(iv) Carbon of the above, marked in pencil at top right-hand corner "1", 1 page, folio, 6 October 1949

(v) Carbon typescript of her poem "Tulips at Dawn", comprising 93 lines, beginning: "Thin blue shadows spatter the lawn..."; marked in pencil at top right-hand corner "19", 2 pages, folio, [1948]

(vi) Typescript of her poem "Spring Again", comprising 44 (fragmented) lines, beginning: "Chattering children..."; "Sylvia Plath/ Age 15/ Wellesley, Mass." at head; marked in pencil at top right-hand corner "23a", 1 page, folio, [1947-8]

Footnotes

  • ʻOH, FURY, EQUALLED ONLY BY THE SHRIEKING WIND' – ʻTo Ariadne (deserted by Theseus)', present here in typescript and carbon, was later to be quoted in full by Sylvia Plath's mother Aurelia in her introduction to Letters Home: ʻAdvice and experience in regard to writing led her now into an examination and analysis of the darker recesses of self. The beginning of the appeal of the tragic muse is heard in a poem written in the spring of 1949' (p.lix). (Others have seen the poem as foreshadowing real-life desertion and creation of the Ariel poems.)

    ʻSpring Sacrament', under its later title ʻApril Aubade', is among the best-loved of her early poems. The chief difference between the two versions lies in the last couplet of the second stanza. In our typescript this reads: "while tulips mingle clear vermillion bells,/ with tinsel rosary of april rain" ("telling the" altered to "with tinsel" in her hand); in ʻApril Aubade' this had become: ʻwhile tulips bow like a college of cardinals/ before that papal paragon, the sun'. It was printed under the title ʻAubade' in Best Poems of 1955: Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards (1957, p.111), listed as winner of the third prize for undergraduate poetry. Under the title ʻApril Aubade' it is among the fifty early poems chosen by Ted Hughes for inclusion in the Collected Poems (1981).

    Typescripts or carbons of these poems are to be found among the Plath MSS at the Lilly Library; the present group deriving from her mother's estate (Sotheby's, New York, 6 April 1982).
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