PLATH (SYLVIA) Typescript of the poem 'Totem', [1963]
Lot 365
PLATH (SYLVIA)
Typescript of the poem 'Totem', [1963]
Sold for £ 562 (US$ 754) inc. premium

Lot Details
The Property of Frieda Hughes
PLATH (SYLVIA)
Typescript of the poem 'Totem', text on recto only, headed "Sylvia Plath/Court Green/North Tawton/Devon, England" in upper right hand corner, a few small marginal at edges, folio (280 x 215mm.), [1963]

Footnotes

  • Typescript of Sylvia Plath's poem 'Totem', with variations from the preceding lots that suggest it was typed out by Ted Hughes: her address is given as Court Green, Devon, although by the time 'Totem' was written she had already moved to Fitzroy Road in London; in the preceding typescripts the county is consistently given as "Devonshire" rather than "Devon"; it appears to have been typed on a different machine, more heavily-inked, with slight offsetting from the typewriter platen; the typist has a particular manner of inserting an apostrophe, using the upper portion of the digit 8 as a caret. These typographic traits it shares with a typed draft of 'The Munich Mannequins' (earlier titled 'The Bald Madonnas') held by Smith College which they describe as "probably typed by TH for submission to New York Review of Books in late 1963/early 1964."

    More notably, there is the insertion of the word "no" in the line "There is no mercy in the glitter of cleavers"; "no" is absent in one of Plath's typescripts but makes its appearance in several publications that were using Hughes' transcriptions—including Ariel in 1965.
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