HUGHES (TED) Lupercal, FIRST EDITION, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY TED HUGHES TO SYLVIA PLATH ("To Sylvia, its true mother, with all my love, Ted. February 25th 1960, 4th anniversary of St. Botolph's", on the title-page), Faber and Faber, 1960
Lot 331
HUGHES (TED)
Lupercal, FIRST EDITION, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY TED HUGHES TO SYLVIA PLATH ("To Sylvia, its true mother, with all my love, Ted. February 25th 1960, 4th anniversary of St. Botolph's", on the title-page), Faber and Faber, 1960
Sold for £ 15,625 (US$ 20,700) inc. premium

Lot Details
The Property of Frieda Hughes
HUGHES (TED)
Lupercal, FIRST EDITION, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY TED HUGHES TO SYLVIA PLATH ("To Sylvia, its true mother, with all my love, Ted. February 25th 1960, 4th anniversary of St. Botolph's", on the title-page), a photograph of an unidentified elderly man holding an enormous mug taped inside the lower cover, publisher's cloth, dust-jacket (small loss to head of spine) [Tabor/Sagar A3a.1], 8vo, Faber and Faber, 1960

Footnotes

  • "TO SYLVIA, ITS TRUE MOTHER" - THE DEDICATION COPY OF LUPERCAL, INSCRIBED ON THE FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF THEIR VERY FIRST MEETING AT CAMBRIDGE IN 1956.

    "February 25, 1960... We had a small tea while Ted ordered the list of his poems. His book, Lupercal, officially out March 18 [I wonder if the baby will coincide!], came the day before - his six copies - very conveniently. They've changed the blue of the cover to green, which put us off, and the red on the jacket and the purple on the cover are a bit of a clash to my morbidly sensitive eye, but looking at the book without the jacket, it is a handsome affair..." (Letters Home, 1990, p.368). Four years to the day earlier she had written in the afternoon to her mother that that evening she would be "going to a party celebrating the publication of a new literary review [St. Botolph's Review]...", confiding in her journal the following day "Then the worst happened, that big, dark, hunky boy, the only one there huge enough for me, who had been hunching around over women, and whose name I had asked the minute I had come into the room... it was Ted Hughes. I started yelling again about his poems..." (The Journals, 2000, p.211). Hughes's own memory of his first sighting of Plath at the party ("... And your eyes/Squeezed in your face, a crush of diamonds/Incredibly bright, bright as a crush of diamonds...") found form in his poem 'St. Botolph's', published in Birthday Letters (1998). It was, of course, a momentous moment in each of their lives, and for the future of British poetry.

    Lupercal was universally well received, the Observer poetry reviewer A. Alvarez writing that in this volume "Hughes has found his own voice, created his own artistic world and has emerged as a poet of the first importance". The first edition of 2000 copies sold out by June, and Hughes's reputation was made - for which, in his inscription to Sylvia, he acknowledges his indebtedness to her.
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